The ending of a relationship is usually painful. At first, you may feel the need for some personal time to process what has happened. Eventually, though, it’s time to start thinking about dating again. But how do you know if you’re ready?
Below are some signs it’s time to get back out there to search for a new partner:
You can be alone, though you may choose not to. If you feel compelled to date because you don’t like being alone, you put yourself at risk for entering a bad relationship. When you get involved with someone solely out of a need for companionship, you can easily end up with the wrong person – and that creates its own kind of discomfort and pain. Even if you end up with someone who is a good match, your neediness might prompt you to cling so much to that person that it undermines your relationship.
You have felt sad, and you’ve let go. It’s important that you go through a period of mourning, or at least re-grounding yourself as a single person. The longer you are with someone and the more entwined your lives are, the more of a loss you will experience when that relationship ends– even when you are the one who ends it. If you still hold the hope of a reunion – or are still keeping the relationship alive in your mind — then you are not ready to truly commit yourself to someone else.
You are no longer consumed with anger. Sometimes people are so filled with anger about their previous relationship that it interferes with opening their hearts to a new love. For this reason, it’s important that you work on resolving your anger until it is gone, or at least less intense. While it may be tempting to try to ignore your anger, this can backfire. It often results in it undermining future relationships, possibly outside of your awareness.
You are able to trust. If your previous relationship left you feeling mistrustful of others, put in the time and effort to work through this issue. You will be happy in future relationships only by learning to once again trust others – though it’s important that those people show themselves worthy of your trust.
You can reflect on your relationship with perspective. When you are able to honestly reflect on your partner’s positive and problematic traits, along with happy and painful memories, you are likely ready to move on.
You are engaged in life. When you enjoy the company of others and are actively engaged in life, you are also likely to be open to finding and nurturing a new relationship.
Keep in mind that your readiness to date isn’t based only on how well you’ve healed – you also need to consider how much you truly desire to share your life with a partner. By looking at both of these areas, you’ll know in your heart whether you’re ready to date again.
Entries for the Relationships blog are for general educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation; and they should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.