After ending a relationship, especially a long-term one, it’s so important to take time to heal and reconnect with yourself again before venturing back out there.
You don’t want to do it too soon, but you also don’t want to wait forever and miss out on some valuable possible connections.
It begs the question: how long should you wait after a break up before you start to date again?
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When is it okay to date again after breaking up with someone?
1. A couple of months usually does the trick
While deciding on when to date again after breaking up with someone depends on your particular relationship, experts generally feel like a couple of months does the trick. “Most people need a month or two to process the breakup, to mourn, and to integrate lessons before jumping back in if they were in a fairly serious relationship,” says author of Dating from the Inside Out and psychologist Paulette Kouffman Sherman, Psy.D.
2. However, it could take considerably longer or shorter
Say, for instance, you were in a relationship with someone for five or even 10 years. After breaking up with them, you may not be ready to date again for five or six months or potentially longer. On the other hand, if you were only together for a couple of months, you may find it easier to move on much more quickly, after a few weeks or so.
How you know you’re ready to start dating again
4. You’re completely over your ex
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You don’t find your fingers hovering over the send button after penning an “I miss you message” to your former partner, nor do you fantasize about what it would be like if you’d never split up. You know ending your relationship was the right decision and you’ve moved on entirely. Breaking up sucked at the time, but you’re ready to date someone new now.
5. You’ve learned the necessary lessons from your last relationship
Every relationship, no matter how disastrously it ended, has something (or multiple things) to teach us. After breaking up with someone and before you think about starting to date again, it’s important to do some self-assessment and reflection to determine what you learned from that relationship. What did you do well? What could you do differently/better next time? What did you learn about yourself? Once you’ve really done some soul-searching, you’ll be much better equipped in your next relationship.
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6. You’re comfortable with your own company
It’s normal to feel a bit weird being on your own again after a split. However, after taking time to regroup and recollect, you should feel at home in yourself pretty quickly — especially if you made a concerted effort while in your relationship to maintain your individuality. That being said, it’s absolutely vital that you spend time after breaking up getting comfortable again in your own company before you even think about starting to date.
7. You know exactly what you want from a partner or relationship
There’s no sense looking for love when you don’t know exactly what it is you’re looking for. Not only will you probably not find anything worthwhile, but you may not find anything at all. Instead of wasting your time and energy meandering through the dating world, take time to develop a pretty solid picture of what you’re after before going on the hunt for it.
8. You have a full life that a relationship would add to rather than complete
This is vital. After breaking up with someone, your life is completely your own again. If it isn’t full already, fill it with things that make you feel alive and give your days meaning. Get to a place where dating and love would be a bonus rather than a requirement to feel okay. If you’re there already, congrats — you’re ready to date again.