So, you’ve broken up for some time and are wondering how long should you wait to date after a breakup.
SPOILERS: There’s no set time for it! Everyone’s different and copes in distinct ways.
However, there are a few criteria and indicators to reach a conclusion. And you can judge whether you’re ready for it only after you tick all of those boxes.
If you’re eager to start dating again, c’mon, let’s find the answers here…
How long should you wait to date after a breakup?
After breaking up, most people rush to start dating – to make their exes jealous. However, that’s just unfair for yourself and the next person you’d date. You might also scar yourself and them in irreparable ways.
So, before diving into a new romantic bond, consider these criteria to know your heart…
1. The average waiting time is 3 months
Of course, everyone heals at their own pace, so there’s no specific timespan to wait until you date again. Some may heal in half a year, while others may take years.
However, if you want to know the minimum time to start dating all over and you hardly have enough feelings involved, three months is ideal.
In case it was a long-term and serious relationship of over a year, a good one year is a healthy wait. Of course, you can take much more time if you need to. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for your individual needs.
Just make sure you don’t take less time than mentioned here. Otherwise, you’ll not be able to completely start afresh.
2. The timespan will increase if serious feelings and dreams are involved
If you were so serious about your partner that you even dreamed of getting married, building a home, or having kids together, you were deeply involved.
If this is your case, you need much longer. A general time limit isn’t enough to heal yourself. During that time, assess how much you’re hurting. It’ll also take longer to heal if you have already started living together.
On the other hand, if it was a long-distance relationship or the relationship was rocky for quite a while, you won’t need much time.
3. Don’t date unless you complete the grieving process
You should also wait until you have completely grieved for your feelings for the lost relationship and hopes. Otherwise, you won’t be able to sustain a new relationship either.
Everyone has different ways to grieve, but you must follow some basic steps like:
- Let all sorts of emotions out, whether rage, confusion, frustration, guilt, sorrow, or even numbness. Since grief is not a linear process, you may feel this all over. So, don’t hurry.
- Follow a self-care routine, eat well, work out, and take time for your hobbies. Have a self-love routine to support yourself.
- Spend time with loved ones and seek their support. Make sure you or anyone else doesn’t invalidate your feelings of hurt. You can also seek a therapist.
4. Wait until you reflect on things and learn
Whether it was a long-term relationship or not, nobody should date again until they’ve learned from their experience. Otherwise, the old mistakes will repeat in the new relationship, and it’ll fall apart all over.
Especially if you believe that the previous relationship didn’t work out solely for your ex, then you need a lot more time. Unless it was an abusive one, both partners are responsible to some extent in every breakup.
So figure out the following answers before you date all over:
- “What lessons did I learn from the breakup?”
- “How should I improve myself so it doesn’t happen in future relationships?”
- If your ex was the actual reason behind the breakup, “What are the red flags and deal breakers that led to the split?” “Which traits should I be careful of when seeking new partners?”
Once these answers are crystal clear, you’re ready to date again!
5. Take time until you learn to be yourself
During a relationship, everyone loses their individual identities. It happens because people are so busy seeking common interests that they feel those are the only things they enjoy in life.
Before you start dating again, ensure you find your true self and individual interests. For instance, watch TV shows you actually like – not the ones you did as a couple. Buy or make food you prefer without caring about your ex’s tastes.
Build back the good habits that you sacrificed for the relationship. Be “YOU” and not the previous person’s ex before you meet someone new.
6. Only once you have clear expectations from a new person
Don’t date unless you have clear expectations from a brand-new partner. Your previous relationship showed you a few non-negotiable about yourself. So, have a clear idea about your boundaries.
Some possible things are as follows:
- How much time do you need from your partner?
- How much space do you need?
- Do you want to date exclusively?
7. Until your children have also grieved
If you also had kids from your previous relationship/marriage, consider their perspective as well. Make sure you date only when they accept that their parents are no longer together.
Of course, your children may not accept you dating others ever. But if they’re old enough, you should at least be clear whether you guys have any plans of reconciling. Let them know that the other person will always be their parent, but you will have separate lives.
Start dating only when your kids come to terms with these. Otherwise, it’d be a big blow to them.
8. Until you’re excited about dating again
If you’re not excited about dating all over, something is not right. If the idea of dating again stresses you or brings you flashbacks of the tough times, that also shows you need more time to start dating.
Imagine yourself being with another person. If your mind and body feel uncomfortable, you got your answer!
9. Once you check in and have no lingering feelings
If you feel you’ve moved on, check in with yourself. What kinds of feelings do the thoughts of your ex evoke in you?
You need to wait longer if you get sad, hurt, or angry. Start dating only once you can stay calm while thinking of them and can accept the past.
10. When you have clear reasons for dating
Your sole reason to date again should be because you like the other person or want to meet new people.
Wait a bit longer if your reasons are like
- “I want to make my ex jealous.”
- “I want to feel desirable.”
- “I feel lonely and want to fill the void.”
Now, if you’ve ticked all of these boxes, it’s time to know whether you’ve not just waited enough but are ready to date again!
Signs on when you should date after a breakup
When it comes to relationships, it’s always better to be 100% sure of your decisions. While the above section helped you understand whether you’ve waited enough, here you’ll know the signs of whether you’re truly ready to date again! So, let’s get started.
1. You can sleep without thinking about the past
You’re ready to date again if you can sleep at night without tossing and turning. It shows that the past doesn’t haunt you, and you’re fine moving forward. Moreover, good sleep also makes you look and feel good, making you a great catch in the dating world!
2. You don’t mind if you see your ex with someone else
This is a great sign you’re ready to date. If you don’t feel hurt or betrayed when you notice your partner happily in love with someone else, it shows you’ve moved on for good. You don’t have any lingering feelings for them.
It doesn’t matter what your ex does in their life, and you’ve detached yourself from them for good.
3. You don’t mentally compare prospective dates with the ex
If you’re still hungover on your ex and need time to heal, you’ll seek them in every new prospective date. Deep inside, you’d like to continue the previous relationship with someone new.
Alternatively, you may judge prospective dates because they like the same brand of tie or makeup as your ex.
If you don’t compare new dates in any of these ways, you’re ready to date!
4. You can truly laugh with others
If you’re still stuck in your past, you won’t be able to enjoy any moment at all. You’d be thinking about your ex or how you’d be spending time with your ex right at that moment if you were together. You’d zone out.
But if you can actually enjoy the moment without thinking of them, that’s another promising sign!
5. You don’t feel enticed to gossip about your ex
Did you break up solely because your ex was a douc#3b@g? Perhaps they cheated or led you on?
If it’s too early to date, you might love to gossip about them with your friends. You’d enjoy speaking ill of them.
So, a sign that you’ve moved on and are ready to start fresh is that you don’t feel interested in such gossip. You know that the person wasn’t worth your time. But you feel you were foolish to turn a blind eye to the red flags.
Rather, you feel embarrassed about your own naivety when you people gossip about your ex.
6. You don’t even think, “I want to reconcile with them”
If your ex was a nice catch and treated you well, it’s normal to want to reconcile with them. As long as you feel this way, you’re not ready to date.
However, if you used to feel this way but not anymore, you’ve moved on for good. You can definitely start dating now!
7. You can enjoy the common things without thinking of them
Every relationship has some go-to activities that they do together and only with each other. It might be playing a two-player game, cooking, watching a trending romcom show, and so on.
If it’s too soon after the breakup, you’ll melt down every time you do those things.
However, it’s a sign you’re ready to step in the dating world if you can do those without thinking of your ex!
8. You actually enjoy singlehood
This one is valid if it was a long-term relationship where you did almost everything together. If you need more time to heal, you’d hate being single.
You’d miss how your girl cooked you your comfort food or how your man fixed your car. Everything would suck, and you’d feel lonely.
But if you feel self-sufficient, don’t mind fending for yourself, and love being by yourself, that’s a major green signal!
9. Nobody is pressuring you into it
Every person who’s been through a bad breakup gets the: “It’s been a while. You should try falling in love again.”
If this is the sole reason you’re considering dating, that’s a hard pass. You need time!
But has nobody coerced you into dating? And even if they did, you didn’t really care about that.
In these cases, YOU want to try dating for yourself. You’re totally ready for it!
10. You feel confident about dating
After a breakup, it’s normal to lose self-esteem and question your self-worth. You might think no guy/girl would ever want you again.
But if you’ve moved on from that phase and feel secure in your own skin, no shit Sherlock, you’re ready to start dating!
A word from ThePleasantRelationship
If you’ve agreed with all the criteria and signs mentioned above, you’re ready to date. However, if your heart contradicts even one of those, it’s still too early.
Wait until you completely heal and move on. Only then can you begin your life on a fresh page!
Surabhi wakes up every day with a drive to craft words that can create a soulful impact. Creatively adventurous, she is always seeking to learn new skills and acquire new experiences. With a hidden soft corner for languages (especially Urdu), she writes poetry occasionally, binges on romantic shows, and LOVES to talk. A hustler, admirer, chaser, Surabhi is just another-someone who refused to give up on her dreams. She says, she is just somebody who’s trying to make herself a writer and for now, she’s just writing...