Are You Ready to Start Dating Again?

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Are You Ready to Start Dating Again?

People often focus on how much time has passed, when considering whether to date again after a previous relationship. Should you wait 3 months, 6 months, a year?

The more important issue is whether you have truly moved on, or are still mourning the loss of a former relationship. Where you are in the grief process is a much better predictor of whether you are ready to date again. Grieving people may distract themselves from their loss by dating, but jumping in too soon eventually ends up undermining the potential long-term success of future relationships.

Generally, after a break-up, men begin dating sooner than women. When relationships end, the person who initiated the separation, “the leaver,” usually reenters the dating world first, having already mentally and emotionally grieved and moved on. The person left behind is usually slower to date, as they may need time to work through additional issues of rejection and betrayal.

Five key signs that you are NOT ready to date:

  1. You frequently bring up your ex in conversation.
  2. You compare your ex to your new partner—and your new partner consistently comes up short.
  3. You attempt to re-create aspects of your former life and relationship with your new partner.
  4. You still feel a lot of intense negative emotions like anger, resentment, or deep hurt about your previous relationship.
  5. Your interest in dating is primarily focused on a desire to avoid being alone.

If you are experiencing any of the above issues, look inward. Give yourself the opportunity to grieve the relationship completely. Grief isn’t fun or easy. Sometimes it’s smooth, sometimes it’s rough, and sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Nevertheless, you will be better for it in the long run.

Five important ways to work through grief:

  1. Don’t fight your feelings.

Feel whatever it is you feel–good or bad. Suppression just causes more problems in the end. Talk to a trusted person. Journal. Don’t allow negative emotions to fester.

  1. Seek support from others.

People able to lean on others feel cared for, listened to, helped, and assisted. They do better and rebound stronger. When a relationship ends, you may lose friends, important relationships, and support. Try to find new support systems. One or two supporters are better than none.

  1. Set goals for yourself.

Sometimes the end of a relationship means that shared dreams must die. Mourn them, but take the opportunity to build new dreams. Go to school. Relocate or change careers. Attempt hobbies you always wanted to try. It is key to find new purpose, and feel good about life again. Don’t allow the end of your relationship to signal that you have nothing left. Old dreams are no longer viable, but new exciting things are on the horizon.

  1. Take responsibility for your part in the end of your relationship.

This can be tough to do. You want to blame the other person. Still, it’s best to recognize that relationships are a two-way street. You influenced each other. Honestly assess how you contributed to your relationship’s demise, and learn from the experience. This process takes time; just be careful not to perpetually blame your former partner, if you hope to grow personally.

  1. Seek professional help if necessary.

Sadness, or a change in your daily functioning, is normal in the short term. However, if you find that these conditions persist or worsen after a couple of months, consider whether things are out of hand. If you suspect that you are depressed, and your mood is not improving, you may need help moving on.

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