How To Tell If You’re Rushing Into A Relationship Too Soon After A Breakup
Many people need time to grieve after a relationship, but it can be really difficult to tell when that grieving period is over and when the next stage begins. No two people's timelines are the same, and meeting someone new can happen any time. Unfortunately, this means finding out how to tell if you're rebounding can feel next-to-impossible. Luckily, checking in with yourself about your healing process isn't as hard as it may seem.
"It’s always best to take some time after a breakup to process what happened," Amy McManus, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "This can take vastly different lengths of time for different people, so don’t be too quick to judge a friend who bounces back from a breakup much quicker than you expected." Reminder: being ready to date again doesn't occur on a schedule.
Still, breakups are hard. Finding someone new can feel like a quick-fix for feelings of loneliness or inadequacy.
You just need to keep tabs on your feelings, and how you're relating to other people. "In order to position yourself toward the healthy 'starting anew' path versus the 'rebounding' path, wait until you're feeling strong and grounded in yourself before jumping into anything," Eileen Purdy, master of social work and anxiety therapist, tells Bustle. "If it's taking awhile to feel this way, look into some help in this arena. Consider talking to a good friend, family member or counselor." If you're not ready, a new relationship can do more harm than good.
Here are seven ways to tell if you're rushing into a relationship too soon after a breakup, according to experts.
1. You Could Be Going Through These Motions With Anyone
If you're dating just to date, and not for the person themselves, that's generally not a good sign for the future of your relationship. "I always ask people, do you want this person or do you just want a relationship," Lori Salkin, SawYouAtSinai.com senior matchmaker and dating coach, tells Bustle. "If they can’t immediately answer about the virtues of the person they are dating, the answer often is they just want a relationship and it’s not about the person they are dating."
That means it might be a red flag that your first post-breakup date has turned into a thing pretty quickly. "[It's not a good sign if] you are dating the first attractive person who showed interest in you," David Bennet, counselor and relationship expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "If you want to get into a quality relationship, you have to accurately evaluate the person’s personality and values ... If you find yourself pretty much dating the first person who showed interest after your breakup, I would almost guarantee you are rushing." If the universe brought you someone special that quickly after a breakup, no judgement. But if you feel like you could switch them out for another person as easily as shuffling a deck of cards, you might need to reassess things.
2. You Can’t Remember The Last Time You Were With Your Best Friends
Trying to find an easy answer about whether this relationship is right for you? Ask your friends (kind of).
"One of the most common signs that your relationship is moving too fast is often loss of friends," Naphtali Roberts, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "This loss of your good friends can come from the fact that you are spending all your time with your new relationship, or because your friends have expressed concerns about the speed of the relationship and you’ve cut them out. Either way if you are losing friendships that previously were precious it is a sign that you may be moving too fast." One of the good things about the time right after a breakup is the new opportunities to spend more time with your friends. If you've missed those opportunities completely, it's probably time to check in with yourself.
3. You're Still Keeping An Eye Out For Your Ex
Dating someone new will not bring your ex back. It doesn't matter how attractive you find them or how you think they might make your ex react — this is not a healthy path to go down.
"[Be careful if] you are stilling hoping your ex will notice you or change their mind," Roberts says. "If part of the intention in this new relationship has anything to do with your ex you are rushing into a new relationship." You deserve a relationship that's about you, and the bond you share with someone, not a ghost from your past. Give yourself some time to grieve for your breakup, and you'll be ready to date again, for the right reasons, soon.
4. You're Looking For Someone To Help You Rediscover Yourself
In the wake of a breakup, you have an amazing opportunity to redefine yourself. Pro tip: go through that journey yourself, not at the whim of someone else. "[Be careful if] you are looking for someone to define you," Roberts says. "Before you get into a relationship you need to know you." And this new you might look totally different than the "you" who was dating your ex.
"You must recover your sense of self," Roberts says. "Often individuals leaving a long-term relationship find that they no longer know themselves apart from their identity outside of their relationships. An individual should spend the amount of time they need to learn who they are outside of their last relationship, so they can be clear on who they are before they enter a new relationship." Make some friends, try new hobbies, and get mindful. Then you'll be a bit more prepared for whatever life (and love) throws at you.
5. You Cannot Stand Being Single
It can be scary, but learning to be single again after a breakup can also be liberating. If you aren't giving yourself any time to experience this, you might need to check in with yourself about why you're moving on so fast.
"If you absolutely hate the idea of being single, and have a history of avoiding being single even if it means pairing up with people who aren’t good for you, I would suggest many of your relationships might be rushed, including the one you’re thinking about getting into," Bennett says. If you feel like this applies to you, remember that there's nothing wrong with being single.
"I recommend to my clients to be purposely single (in other words, you’re single by choice, not because nobody wants to date you) for at least 30 days after a relationship," Bennett says. "This gives you time to get your head straight and focus on self improvement and development that will make the next relationship better." And in those 30 days, or however long it takes, you might actually learn how fun it can be to be on your own.
6. You Don't Feel Like You're In Control Of The Relationship
This may sound weird — but it makes sense if you think about it. You can tell if your relationship is right for you is if you feel in control of the whole situation, including it's ability to end.
"[One guideline] in knowing when the right time for you to get into a serious relationship ... is your confidence in your ability to end a relationship," Purdy says. "Not to be a pessimist, but in the event this ... relationship is not the end-all be-all, it is critical that you trust yourself deep down to be able to end it and move on." If you find yourself struggling with the idea of this, it might be a sign you're clinging onto the idea of being in a relationship. It's important to know that if this new relationship doesn't work out, you'll be more than fine on your own.
7. You Know, Deep Down, That You're Not Ready
It's possible that you've thought about all of this before. Whether you call yourself a "serial monogamist," make jokes about how quickly you moved on, or just think about it sometimes when you're with your new partner — your innermost feelings are likely already peeking out. "I also often find that people know when they’re ready to be in a serious relationship," Salkin says. And on the flip side, you probably know if you aren't ready.
It can be hard to be alone, and even harder if you've gotten used to having someone in your life. But going through some time being single after a breakup is an important part of the healing process, where you can learn just how strong you are on your own.