8 Ways To Know You're Ready To Date Again

by Raven Ishak

Breaking up is never easy to do. It's one of the toughest situations anyone can go through, and sadly, it happens to everyone. And figuring out how to know if you're ready to date again is even harder. But life goes on (whether it feels like it or not) and sooner or later, you start to feel the urge to pick yourself up again and get back on that dating horse.

This all depends on your current state and your past relationship. For some, it might be easier to get back in the dating scene, while for others, it might take longer than expected. The best way to date is when you are not seeking the affirmation of someone else, but feel confident and happy in your own skin, without the approval of anyone else. Let your inner confidence shine, because you are the Beyoncé of your life. No matter how confident you are, though, you and only you will know when you are ready to jump back in the giant sea of fish. And no matter how long your relationship was, it's OK that you took sometime to fall in love with the best person you know: you. After that, you might feel ready to swipe right on a few potential candidates.

But if you're still not sure you are ready to date, I can definitely help in that department. Here are eight clues if you are ready to start someone new. No matter what, dating is never a total breeze, so just hold on and enjoy the ride.

1. You Start Becoming Your Top Priority Again

This is a huge step in the right direction. You need to start feeling like you again before you can make any serious commitments with another person. There are plenty of ways to achieve this feeling, but it really comes down to allowing time to do what it does best. According to a LIVESTRONG article about how to feel confident after a break up, one of the best ways to gain this confidence back is to actually allow yourself to grieve the relationship. It's natural and it's essentially the next step for you to allow yourself to be top priority again in your life. Soon after, you will continue to focus on what personally makes you happy, and once you can start focusing on that, the confidence will start to radiate right off of you.

2. You're Willing To Be Unselfish

The one thing about relationships, that a lot of people know, is that sometimes it's a give and take situation that you are in when you fall in love with someone. “Partners understand that on different days and at different times, they each have different needs. In a particular situation, the give/take ratio could be 70/30, but over time, the average should be closer to 50/50, where each partner is feeling heard and having his or her needs met,” said Renée A. Cohen, Ph.D., a psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and Hermosa Beach, CA in a article.

If you're 100 percent not willing to compromise on anything about your (fabulous) life and independence, then more power to you. Just remember that a relationship often requires meeting someone halfway, so think twice before jumping into anything.

3. You're Not Bitter About Your Ex Anymore

It usually happens slowly, but a clear sign is if you stop checking their social media accounts. Keeping tabs on what your ex is doing is not only infringing on your recovery process, but it shows that you’re not ready to commit to someone new,” said Tracey Steinberg, a New York City-based dating expert and author of Flirt For Fun & Meet The One. Letting go of your ex is one of the toughest things you could do, but it's also the most rewarding and if you don't feel that baggage, then you now you are ready to date.

4. You Start To Feel Excited About Dating Again

You know that feeling when you're excited for the possible future of who your next kiss could be with? That's a good sign. Dating should be fun and exciting and definitely shouldn't be too stressful at any given time — yes, it has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, you should be having fun with it. According to a Life Hack article, being yourself is the best way to date stress free. It might sound silly, but when you are down, you might be trying your hardest to please that new love interest in your life. Date when you feel you are excited to date again and not for the wrong reasons of trying to fill that void.

5. You're Making Choices For The Right Reasons

After a relationship, it's hard not to feel blindsided by what you think are the right choices to make. When one is feeling down, it's easy to make bad choices simply off your emotions. According to a study in January, 2013 issue of Psychological Science by Jennifer Lerner, Ye Li, and Elke Weber, the sad condition could cost an individual and the results are quite astounding. When a person is sad, they are making decisions based on immediate rewards, not what is good for the person's future. If you feel you are still sad over your breakup, then maybe you are not ready to date because you might not be making clear decisions. But if you feel the opposite, then you will have a better stance on the choices you will be making not only for you, but your possible future relationship, too.

6. You Are More In Tune With What You Are Looking For

You are taking your last relationship as a learning experience, which is a great thing. You stop regretting the time you thought you wasted, and viewing it as a time you were grateful you got to experience. Time will only heal this mentality, but when it happens, it truly feels great. With this new way of thinking, you start to pinpoint exactly what you want out of a future lover. You learned from those past mistakes and now, you are ready to take a new relationship head on.

7. You Feel You Are Available

Just because you feel you are available to date, doesn't necessarily mean you have the time to do so. Out of the respect for yourself and the other person, it's best to date when you are not just trying to squeeze in a 30-minute speed date. While it's never a bad idea to just date for the fun of it, you want to make sure that dating isn't going to add anymore stress to your already heavy workload.

At my current state, I know that if I wasn't with my boyfriend, I would have no time for casual dating. Thankfully, my boyfriend is understanding to my current workload. If I was single, I wouldn't be able to give the time someone else might need during the beginning stages of dating. In the long run, you have to do what's best for you, and if you feel your time is to put all the love you have into your career, then do that. But if you feel you have everything else on lock, then take that plunge.

8. You Just Feel It

You just feel that you are ready to be honest and open again. You are not looking through rose-colored glasses, but instead, you are being realistic about your life and what you want. When I broke up with my ex, I knew I was ready to date again because I felt empowered about myself and once that happened, everything else just clicked. Sometimes you just can't describe the feeling you are feeling. It's best just to listen to your gut before forcing yourself into a situation you're not quite ready for.

No matter what, it's always hard to bounce back after a relationship. It's OK to feel vulnerable after your heart was broken, it takes courage and strength to get back in the dating field. But it's worth it. It might take time, but in the end, someone will be there for you when you least expect it. Keep on doing you, and when you feel the time is right, then you will know that you are ready to take that step.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

Images: Giphy (8); Pexels