Knowing when we’re ready to date again can be tricky. We have all privately groaned at the sight of dear friends jumping into new relationships too soon—oh no, the wrong guy! He’s exactly like her ex. He’s the exact opposite of her ex. Etcetera.
So how do you know when you’re truly ready to start dating again?
First of all, remember that you’re just dating—we’re not talking about lifelong commitment here. On the other hand, you never know when you’ll meet the right man, and you want to be open and ready should he come along.
So here are three questions to ask when deciding whether you’re ready to date.
Question #1: Have You Truly Cut Ties?
Relationships rarely end neatly—there are hurt feelings, resentments, and lingering bonds that can keep you tied to your ex.
So, check in with yourself. Ask yourself if you still have emotional ties to your ex—for example, you might still have feelings for him or secretly hope that you’ll get back together. You might still think about him every day: “Oh, I’ve got to tell him about this!” Or perhaps you still have a tinge (or a hot burn) of resentment, or self-blame, about some aspect of your relationship.
You might even be holding on to that sweater that he didn’t pack or stalking him on social media, wondering if he’s getting over the breakup better than you are, or (gasp) dating again.
All of this is completely normal after a relationship. But if you are still feeling some emotional ties, just remember that they can get in the way of seeing a new relationship clearly—meaning you might not be ready to start dating quite yet.
Question #2: Have You Grieved?
Grieving means that the stings of a relationship have faded and you’ve processed the breakup emotionally. Why is it important to have taken the time to grieve? Because people who haven’t grieved often find themselves in their next relationship for the “wrong” reasons: they might hook up with someone to get back at their ex, or they just might want validation that they are attractive (which is fine—it’s just not the best basis for a new relationship).
Unmet grief means that you won’t be able to clearly assess the people you’re meeting. You might fixate on the characteristics of a new guy simply because he’s the polar opposite of your ex. If you’ve been hurt by someone who betrayed you, you might be extra vigilant for signs of the same in your new guy. No, you don’t want to get into a similar situation; but you also don’t want to be so hurt and jaded that you miss out on how truly great he is.
Question #3: What Attitudes Are You Bringing to the Table?
In other words, what frame of mind are you in? Are you still gun-shy or suspicious? Or are you genuinely excited about meeting new people and experiencing new adventures?
Needless to say, openness—to new experiences and different kinds of people—is key to successfully dating after a breakup. Sometimes a gem will come in unexpected packaging, and you want to be receptive to that. You want to be flexible enough to adapt to new things without losing yourself—to find balance in a real, loving partnership.
We all wonder when we are ready to date; and most of us aren’t sure until we try it. But there are ways to see which way the wind is blowing, and asking these three questions is a great start. If you feel like you’re ready, go for it. If you still need time, absolutely take care of yourself and just trust that the weather will change. At some point, it’ll be sunny and you’ll know it’s time.
If you are ready to meet some great guys, apply to my Signature Find Real Love After 40 – 90 Day Program and I’ll teach you how to let go of past hurts, regain your self-confidence and start attracting high quality men!