So your last relationship ended (however long ago that was) and you are thinking about getting back out into the dating world, but you are still hesitant to get your feet wet. Well...this is a normal reaction. Some people take longer to enter into the dating world after a relationship, and that's ok. And that is not to say that you have to go back to dating at all. You can enjoy being single as long as you please. Get to know yourself better, have fun, and really take the time for you. Ensuring that you got all of the emotional, physical and mental baggage out of your system, post-break up, will allow you to see things clearer as you enter back into the dating world. But how can you tell if you have accomplished all these things? Well...honestly trust your gut. Your intuition is your best tool to knowing where you are emotionally, and how ready you are when it comes to relationships. Now that isn't to say that your gut is right 100% of the time, but if we averaged it out it would still be making honor roll 🤓. If you need a little bit more than your gut feeling to sway you back into dating again, there are a few hints to look out for that will tell you that you are ready to move on.
1. You don't think about your ex (as much): Now I put that qualifier in there, because I am being realistic. There will come moments when your ex will come into mind, you may even compare a potential suitor to your past. These things are normal, but remember these are two different people. Your ex is your ex for a reason and if your new guy/gal has some of the same qualities as your ex, that doesn't mean that they are identical twins 👭. Hey even twins are different! On the same token, don't knock others because they aren't like your ex. Maybe dating outside of your "norm" may lead to something great. Have fun and see how things go. 2. You have gained your identity back and now realize what you want out of a relationship: Let's keep it real, we all have a "relationship mode" when we are committed. We may not see it, but something changes. It could be a small change or it could be something bigger. Whatever the case may be, you can either accept that change as your new identity or you can let it go and qualify that as "relationship" you. Regardless you have taken the time to really get in tune to who you are as an individual and accept who that person may be. Now that you have found your inner calling, you have gained a new found perspective in what you want in a relationship. Maybe something was lacking in your previous courtship, or maybe there was something profound that you want to find again with someone new. Whatever the case may be, knowing what it is, can be the best for you as your find someone or something to make your feel complete. 3. You have let go emotionally of your past relationship: Not all relationships end great. It is reality. When these types of breakups occur, we can feel angry. So give yourself time to be present with that emotion but also know when is the proper time to move on. Now this is easier said then done, I get it. That is not to say that you won't run up on your ex five years from now and that emotion won't sneak up on you. That can happen. But if you can honestly hear your ex-partner's name without wanting to scream then that is a good sign. I would give you a gold star 🏅 in break-ups 101.
4. You had your "single life fun" moment: Some people can go back to dating soon after a break-up and that's great. Some people need time, which is perfectly fine as well. If you are that type that needs to take your time to get back into dating, I urge you to have some "single life fun." Whatever that type of fun is to you, then do it. That can be taking a long vacation to find your inner peace or just hanging out with your friends. Whatever it is, allow yourself to just have fun and let go. Once you have given yourself a bit of room to breathe and you had your fun, your gut may begin to tell you something. Which is, that you have moved on and may want to start finding that special someone to have "couple life fun" with.
So there you have it, a few GREAT indicators that you are ready to enter back into the dating world. Hopefully you will forgo all those horrible dating stories and go straight toward the one that makes you happy.
Written by: Jessica Jefferson, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and Owner of Cloud Nine Therapeutic Services. My passion is working with couples who need assistance in navigating life's transitions such as: newly engaged couples, divorcing couples, and couples becoming new parents. I help them utilize strengths within themselves and their relationship to overcome challenges and find peace.