You're trying to do everything right this time. You're processing your breakup feels. You're not rushing into a rebound relationship. You're taking the time to work on your own stuff. So how do you know when to start dating again? Well, there's no exact formula or measurement that can tell when the time is right, but there are a few signs you might be out of love purgatory.
There's nothing worse than rushing into something before you're ready, especially if your last partnership ended badly or involved unhealthy behaviors and abuse. As a former Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, I saw a lot of people leave one relationship and jump right on to another for a multitude of reasons (financial, housing, fear of being alone) only to realize later that it was the biggest mistake of their lives.
In a perfect world, you should only enter into a relationship with another person when you have a healthy relationship with yourself. This means something different for everyone, but at it's core is the universal truth that relationships are two whole people enhancing each other's lives, not two halves that complete each other. Here are some signs that you're strong and ready to let someone enhance your life while you enhance theirs, in a healthy and loving way.
1. You Don't Feel The Need To Text Your Ex At 3 a.m.
You have to be over your ex before you get into a new relationship. I mean all the way over your ex. Don't mistake the anger phase of a breakup as you being over your ex, because being angry (even feeling hateful) and being over it are two wildly separate things. One good test that you're truly over it is to ask yourself when the last time you got the urge to text them in the middle of the night was. If it was last week, odds are you still have some stuff to work out.
2. You're On Your Feet
One and one equals two. There's not one person out there who is meant to complete you. Before you can work on a "we" you have to know what "I" is all about. You have to know you can stand on your own two feet. You have to be the best version of yourself. You have to have balance and happiness without a relationship. If you want to start dating because you think it will fill a void or bring you happiness, you'll be in for a struggle later on.
3. You Know Your Goals And Priorities
If you're all goals, all the time (because you're a boss), and you don't have time for a relationship, that's totally fine! Timing matters, and your goals and priorities are yours to determine. If you're ready, and you feel like you have the space in your life for a relationship, go for it. If you're juggling work school, family, and other commitments, and feel like you barely have time to take a real shower and eat something that didn't come in a microwavable box, now might not be the best time.
4. You Like Yourself
RuPaul is famous for saying "If you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?" and it's so true. Poor self-esteem, or even just being in a place in your life where you really want to make changes for the better, will make a relationship tricky territory to navigate. You'll know you're ready to date — when you feel like you're stable and happy enough to be able to bring good stuff to your relationship. While a relationship can be good for your self-esteem, it can't be the source of it.
5. You Know What You Want
The universe has unfunny jokes, in that as soon as you think you know what you want, you'll meet someone who wants the complete opposite. And you'll fall deeply in love. Still, knowing what you want is essential because it helps you filter out what you don't want and what you won't accept. And while it's totally OK to change your mind and your plans in life, you need to know what those plans are first. And you need to know what's truly important to you, so you can let your partner know there are things you are not in a position to compromise on.
6. You've Learned From Your Mistakes
If you were part of the problem in your last relationship, or if you had trust issues, communication problems, a temper, or other factors that lead to the demise of your love, you can't really expect things to go better with a new love until you get a handle on those issues. That doesn't mean you have to be a flawless human being. It just means you have to be aware and working on solutions in a meaningful way. Otherwise you're just asking for a repeat of your last bad relationship.
7. You're Emotionally Available
If you're still emotionally scarred from your last breakup, you might find that you're not emotionally available for dating. When you think of the work it takes to get to know someone, to accept their flaws, to start slow, to get over that first fight, and to live unselfishly n a world of compromise, you'll either think "I'm ready" or "that sounds exhausting." If you feel the later, you might not have the emotional energy yet to get back into the dating game.
If you can pass this checklist with resounding shouts of "yass queen" then you know you're ready to open the floodgates that lead to the world of dating.