All of us, at one point or another, have experienced what I like to call a breakup hangover. They can last a few moments up to a few years, all depending on how invested we were in the relationship, but just like any pesky hangover, take some nursing to get us back on our feet. From the initial denial and wave of emotions to the “I’m never dating again” dramatic outcry that comes free of charge with a breakup, I’m confident in saying that there is nothing quite like the agony and annoyance that is a breakup. But trust me when I say there will always be a turning point when you realize you’re ready to start dating after a breakup.
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As mentioned earlier, it could take seconds before you’re back out on the town or it could take years, and either is OK. There is no timeline. There are only telltale signs that you are, in fact, ready to start dating after a breakup, and we are covering those signs here.
1. You have fully accepted your breakup
There are many stages of a breakup, but arguably the most important one is acceptance. At this stage, you’re no longer wallowing in the past, upset with your ex or yourself for what could have gone differently, and you’re accepting of the reality that your relationship is over. With this mindset, you can look to the future. If you’re not accepting of your breakup yet, you might still resent your ex or want them back, and you can’t start a new relationship with those emotions still creeping into your life.
2. You don’t think about your ex so often anymore
In the trenches of a breakup, every little thing can remind you of your ex: songs, restaurants, movies, smells, foods, and more, making it hard to escape the memory of your relationship (both the good and bad parts of it). But with time, that all fades. This is a good sign that you’re no longer preoccupied with the thought of them, and you’re making room for new things (people, experiences, memories, etc.) to come.
3. You are confident in your ability to be independent
Adjusting to life as a party of one after you’ve been a party of two for a while is very unnatural at first—especially if you were together for a long time and/or you lived together—but once you start to lean into your independence and enjoy your alone time, everything changes. You stop wishing someone was still by your side all the time, you start embracing all of the things you can do sans a sig-o, and you no longer feel the need to be in a relationship. Once you release the need to have someone by your side, you are in a much better place to start a new relationship.
4. The idea of your ex dating other people doesn’t bother you
When a breakup is fresh, the last thing anyone wants to do is picture (or God forbid, see) their ex with someone else. It’s heartbreaking, uncomfortable, and just straight-up awkward as hell, no matter if your relationship together was short-lived or long-term. There does come a point though that it wouldn’t be such a big deal to hear about your ex with someone new. You might not necessarily want to see them out and about, but if you did, you’d be OK with it and even happy for them.
5. You feel excited about dating again
If you are still in the “this is so terrible, I’m never doing this again” post-breakup fog, you’re not ready to start dating again. But fear not, sooner or later, the idea of meeting someone new and dating is actually… exciting?! Dating can be really fun and the possibilities of a new fling and relationship will start to inhibit a feeling of giddy anticipation instead of the heebie-jeebies. This is one of the easiest ways to tell that you’re ready to start dating after a breakup because your body will respond for you. Think: more excitement, less cringe.
6. You know what you want out of your next relationship
It’s common to miss the happy parts of your relationship post-breakup, but it’s equally as important to remember what you didn’t love so much because these two things together teach you what you want and what you definitely don’t want out of your next relationship. These realizations are crucial for laying the foundation for who you date moving forward and your next relationship as a whole, so make sure you know what you want first before you start dating again post-breakup.