We’ve all suffered the feeling of loss and misdirection that follows a breakup; it is the pitfall in trusting your heart to another person. And so, “moving on” and “getting back out there” rank as scary and intimidating processes. Your heart has barely healed, and now—to continue in the journey to find someone—you’re expected to be vulnerable and open yourself to the unknown.
How do you know if the time is right? We all have different ways of coping with a break-up as well as different timelines for healing. Though the process should not be rushed, there are a few tangible ways you can check in with yourself.
4 Signs of Dating Readiness
Have you taken time for you? Often when we’re in relationships, we put so much of our energy into the other person and into the relationship itself, that we forget about taking care of ourselves. A break-up, while an emotionally difficult time, can function as the perfect time to reconnect with yourself, your goals, your passions, and your needs.
- What were you lacking in your last relationship?
- Did you lose yourself?
- What can you do to make sure the next relationship is different?
- Have you carved out time for yourself again?
These are important questions to spend time on before venturing out into the dating world.
Has the emotional roller coaster slowed? Break-ups come with a slew of emotions. You may have been angry, devastated, depressed, relieved, or felt a number of other (entirely valid) emotions. One sure sign you’re ready to date again is that the roller coaster of emotions has slowed down. That’s not to say that you don’t still feel something for your ex or that you aren’t suffering in some way, but that your emotions have started to balance again and that the pain from the break-up is no longer taking center stage.
Are you happy on your own? One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is to be happy alone—without a partner. This does not mean you have sworn off relationships, but that you are happy and satisfied with your life as it is. If you can share that with another person, wonderful. But if you aren’t sharing your life with a romantic partner right now, that’s okay too.
Are you taking things slow? A universal timeline for the healing process does not exist—only you know when you’ll be ready to date again. Take things slowly. Dip your toe into the dating pool; if that feels okay, keep going. If at any point you feel overwhelmed and unhappy, give yourself permission to take a break from again. Well-meaning friends and family might put pressure on you to get back out there, but only you have the authority to decide that the time is right.
Many stay out of the dating world too long, afraid of feeling the pain they experienced in their last relationship. Others jump into another relationship too soon, attempting to fill the void that the last relationship left. Take care of yourself and assess whether or not you feel healthy and happy enough to date again on your terms.
[photo: via EladeManu on flickr]