Getting over a breakup can take time, and if we rush into the dating scene or a subsequent relationship too quickly, we might be missing out on an opportunity to rediscover who we are, learn from our mistakes, and get the necessary closure to move on completely. By looking for certain signs telling us that it's time to start dating again, we can trust our intuitions, build confidence, and get back in the game.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on healing post-break up, and even helping them figure out their deepest desires and emotions that might actually spark the break up in the first place. Unhappiness in relationships can be draining on the body and mind, and it's often due to fear, of being lonely, independent and not finding someone else. However, it's important to get rid of this fear, trust yourself, and be prepared to be by yourself for a while before getting back into the dating scene. Plus, after a break up, you owe it to yourself to focus on your personal goals, needs and happiness, without needing to worry about those of others. Here are eleven ways to know that you are ready to start dating again.
1. Evaluate Your Current State Of Happiness
After you've taken some time to be by yourself and focus on your life's goals, check in with yourself and see how you are feeling. "Ask yourself if you are happy and satisfied with your life," says certified healthy lifestyle coach Liz Traines, over email correspondence with Bustle. If you are missing another person in your life and feel emotionally unfulfilled, it might be time to give dating a try again and hope to find a special someone to spend quality time with.
2. You Feel Confident About Yourself
"In order to find true love, we have to love and accept everything about ourselves first, so if you're questioning that, look inside yourself to figure out what's wrong," says Traines. Once you have come to terms with the break up and feel happier, more accepting of and confident about yourself, you'll be able to open your heart up again. "If you're feeling fabulous and know you deserve more love, and you are ready to give and love another person unconditionally, go have fun," adds Traines.
3. You Are No Longer Angry
Sometimes people rush into a new relationship or fling out of resentment or anger towards an ex, advises Traines. Yet, if the anger has dissipated, and you have achieved a sense of closure, then it's a good time to move on and see if there's another person you can connect with. If you are still hung up on your ex, then you're not ready to date someone else, and it wouldn't be fair to either you or your date at this moment in time.
4. You Feel Attracted To Others
Research shows that attraction is a big factor in relationships, and while attraction can grow stronger over time, an initial chemistry, either romantic or platonic, is required. If you notice yourself feeling attracted to potential dates, and even giddy at the idea of scheduling one, then you're probably at the place where you've dealt with the break up and are ready for something new and exciting.
5. You Look Back With Relief
While it may have seemed as though the break up was the worst scenario in the world at the time, if you can look back on it after however many weeks or months have passed and think, "I am so glad I took that step," or, "Breaking up was the right move," then that confidence in your previous decision can translate into the confidence to get back in the dating game and open up again.
6. If Seeing A Photo Of A Match Makes You Smile
If you start to feel happy and excited at the idea of going on a date, then you should go for it! "If thinking about them brings an involuntary smile to your face, or you can't stop thinking about them," says Chicago-based therapist Chelsea Hudson, LCPC, over email with Bustle, then you should make an effort to reach out, flirt or schedule a date yourself.
7. You're No Longer Checking Social Media Updates
After a breakup, we have a tendency to check our ex's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media outlets to see what he or she is up to and whether there's a new partner in the picture. Social media stalking can not only lead to unwarranted jealousy, but it can also just keep us stagnant in our obsessive thoughts. "I would not start dating again until rumination involving one's ex has substantially decreased," advises Hudson. Yet, if you are no longer thinking about your ex or frequenting their pages, it's time to feel comfortable moving on.
8. You Feel "Whole"
"It's best to enter a new relationship feeling healed and whole so that you can walk along side your partner towards your goals," says Hudson. If you feel as though you haven't conquered your goals, had time to try that new fitness class you've been wanting to book, or get into the habit of taking care of yourself and cooking more at home, then you should work on those areas first. However, if you feel in a good place and have had enough time to balance out your life's elements, then you can share your happiness with someone else.
9. You Feel Independent
Being in a committed relationship can make us dependent on each other, and this can cause us to lose sight of who we are as an individual outside the relationship. It's important to be mindful of this tendency and to make sure that you feel secure in your work, self-love and esteem, exercise and healthy habit schedule, and other, platonic and familial relationships before embarking upon a new dating journey. If you feel great on your own, then you can handle letting someone else in to stand beside you as an equal.
10. You Get Butterflies
"If you felt a 'spark' like butterflies in your stomach or if you were physically and intellectually attracted," says Hudson, then it's a sign that there's potential for a greater connection. Whether you met this person at work or out one night, saw him or her on a dating website or app, or was set up by a friend (who offered glowing reviews, as well!), a gut instinct or positive physical response could be the deciding factor.
11. You Don't Feel Guilty Moving On
If you no longer feel guilty about moving on and giving another relationship a try, then you're in a good place to open your heart to someone new. Experts share that feelings of guilt about cheating on an ex can paralyze us, and we will not be able to allow ourselves to enjoy the dating opportunities and to put in real efforts to develop new intimate connections with other people. If you don't feel bad about hitting up the dating app, then you've officially healed!
Moving on after a break up can be tough, but if we trust our intuitions and feel confident in our abilities to both be alone and to be with another person, without losing who we are as an individual, then it's a sign that we are ready to open up again and trust and love another person. Dating can be challenging, so it might not be "rushed" regardless, but as long as we focus on enjoying the process, however long it may take, we'll be in a happy and healthy relationship with ourselves.
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