How do you know when it’s time to start dating again, after you’ve come out of marriage or a relationship? Have you started dating on the rebound just to not feel lonely?
It’s hard to say when the right time to start dating again is, because that’s different from person to person. A lot of frustrated daters – driven to not feel the pains of loneliness or rejection – start dating again for all the wrong reasons, and end up in worse shape than when they got out there in the first place.
There are plenty of reasons to date, and plenty of reasons not to date. It all depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re dating to meet people, have fun, hookup, or the like, it’s important to consider if you’re avoiding or denying residual pain or grief from a previous relationship breakup.
Sometimes daters (especially men) have a habit of denying or avoiding their feelings, and think another new person will fill that void. Those people certainly may temporarily, but ultimately the pain will still be there to come back to.
If you endlessly ruminate about the partner that you just ended a long-term relationship or marriage with, chances are that you’re not done letting go of them or the relationship. If you find you’re comparing dates to your former beloved, it’s probable that you haven’t moved on yet.
Give it time: create time and space in which to work through the emotions that come up for you. There’s no rush.
Contrary to that part of your mind that says “you’re not getting any younger,” there is time, and there are plenty of fish in the sea out there for you. If you think abundance, there will be abundance, and there will be many potential partners waiting for you when you return.
Besides, potential dates know instinctively when you’re “emotionally preoccupied.” They can sense it, especially women. And when you’re preoccupied with not letting go of your former flame, you’re not fully present and available to anyone else. Those potential partners aren’t getting the best of you, and wouldn’t you want them to have the bets of you?
Items to consider when dating again:
- Are you not over your ex yet? Can you allow yourself “x” weeks or months for the process of healing before you get back onto the dating circuit?
- Do you find yourself obsessing or ruminating about your previous relationship partner? If so, you may not be ready to date again.
- Identify what you want out of dating: to meet new people, to find a relationship, to get laid; understand what’s motivating you to get back out there in the first place.
- If you identify that you’re motivated by negative reasons (e.g. to not feel lonely, out of fear of being alone, scared you’re getting too old to find love), consider getting some help in working through those issues first, or while you’re just getting back out there
- Consider the kids: if you have children, what implications are there on them when you get back out to date? How will you field their questions and concerns? What about overnight stays – how will you handle those?
- Do you have an idea of what kind of partner you want? Do you have some sense of the “ideal date” you’re looking for, as to spare you added frustration when you don’t find that special person?
- Do you know how to practice good self-care, e.g. not exhausting yourself in the dating process, not overly worrying about how dates are going as they’re happening, worrying about the future with people, practicing stress management, not drinking too much on dates, etc.
- Are you so unconsciously dating that you might be attracting the same kind of partner that you just ended the last relationship with? Plenty of uninformed daters do. Don’t fall into this trap. We unconsciously recreate the same kinds of relationship patterns, so before you get out there, consider if you’re doing this. Seek out some professional counseling to help you stop recreating these patterns.