How To Start Dating After a Breakup

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Been single a while? Starting to think about dating after a breakup? But wondering how long you should wait ? Whether you’re ready? And if it’s normal to feel so damn scared of dating after a breakup? Well my friends, fear not. Because in this post – we’ll share everything you need to know about dating after a breakup, so that you feel well-and-truly prepared.

Why It’s Hard To Think About Dating After a Breakup

When a relationship ends, you usually do one of two things:

  1. Feel like dating is the LAST thing you want to have to do again… Ever.
  2. Want to jump STRAIGHT back into dating again, as you think it will be your escape to the pain. You think finding someone else, is the answer… And you don’t want to have to wait!

Now let’s be honest – neither of these outlooks are helpful. But, they’re completely common (and therefore understandable) for a reason.

See, breakups can be emotionally traumatic. You’ve gone through a major life change – losing a person who played such a significant part in your life.

What’s more, breakups often end off a bad note. I mean, 58% of Americans consider their breakups to be “dramatic/messy.” They can’t even reach the point of being civil!

Negative experiences ranging from betrayal to cheating to surviving toxicity and abuse, make the prospect of starting over unappealing. I mean, “how do you know this won’t happen again?”

And when you then start considering the benefits of being single, you might be tempted to stay single.

But – whilst single life certainly can be great, and dating can be scary – you definitely don’t want to miss out on everything you can (and will!) get from being in a strong, loving, long-lasting relationship with the right person…

Which is when and why you may start to consider dating after a breakup again.

am I ready to date again?

Why Dating After a Breakup Can Actually Be Brilliant!

See, when you go into it with the right outlook, at the right time – dating after a breakup can actually be brilliant.

It can be fun and exciting. It can grow your confidence back again. You’ll also start to grow as a person as dating after a breakup offers a huge opportunity for personal growth.

And, as you start to meet and connect with genuinely good people again – it can restore your faith.

You’ll start to see why the breakup was actually a blessing, and understand that this is going to lead you to someone you’re far more compatible with!

Now, we’re not saying that you won’t ever be rejected with dating; or have negative experiences with people messing you around, not knowing what they want, or treating you badly (at times.)

But if you can build your emotional resilience, set your standards for what you want, need and will not tolerate; learn to not take anything personally and simply enjoy the experiences & opportunities that come your way…

Then you will learn to absolutely LOVE dating after a breakup!

In fact, dating after a breakup vs. dating after being “single and searching” for a longer period of the time, is actually the best… It’s something you want to fully make the most of, not dread!

So, here’s some of the most common questions when it comes to dating after a breakup, before we leave you with our top tips to confidently navigate the dating scene again…

meeting new men after a breakup

How Long Should You Wait to Start Dating After a Breakup?

One of the most common questions about dating after a breakup, is “how long should you wait to date after a breakup?” Well, the truth is, there’s not a “one size fits all” answer for this one.

There is no cut-out time to wait before dating again. Nor is there necessarily a set period of time that you have to wait before you date.

Each individual circumstance is different, and therefore everyone will be working on a slightly different timeline.

I mean, a person who had already fallen out of love, whilst they were in the relationship, and had mentally come to terms with the fact that the two of them would have to break up…

… Is in a completely different place than someone who got blindsided and broken up with (after a betrayal for example.)

And so, consequently – how long each of these people should wait to date after a breakup, is going to be very different.

am I ready to start dating after a breakup

In fact, the way a person responds is dependent on certain factors like:

  • The duration of the relationship. 
  • The severity of the cause of the breakup.
  • Of course there will also be a natural, emotional consequence as a result of the breakup.
  • Then comes in – your emotional strength and willingness to deal with it all in the right way.

The Key For When To Date After a Breakup…

The key to how long you should wait to date after a breakup, is to know when you’re ready. But this is easier said than done, right?

You need to know when YOU are ready, not when others think you should date, or when you feel like you SHOULD date. And you definitely don’t start dating for the wrong reasons (like to try to make your ex jealous, or escape the “pain”.)

Dating immediately after a breakup sets you up for co-dependency because you are looking for someone to fill the space of the person you just lost. 

As expected, dating for the wrong reason means you will also end up choosing and dating the wrong people which only results in more heartache.

how soon is too soon to date after a breakup

So before you start dating again:

  1. Grieve your Loss – Permit yourself to grief, it is the beginning of the healing process. Healing involves acknowledging the hurt. It is okay to cry, binge watch tv and feel like doing nothing. 
  2. Forgive – You can’t move on without forgiving your ex and most importantly forgiving yourself for the mistakes you made in your last relationship. Even if you are the “victim”, you must have contributed to the breakup somehow, even in some small way. For instance – it could be you ignored the red flags when you still had your head in the clouds. But without this forgiveness, it can make you bitter or start self-sabotaging potential relationships.
  3. Identify the Lesson – If you have become clear-headed enough to identify the learning points (and made a plan for how to work on them), you’re also well on your way to being ready to start dating again. Outlook and headspace is key, you see.
  4. Self Love – Within it all, self love is also, of course, essential. You have come to build your self worth, become kind to yourself, and fall in love with you all over again. As that is what will truly allow you to attract the right person who will love you in the way that you deserve too. Here, try this 30 Day Self Love Challenge to get you started.

The amount of time it takes you to achieve these; is how long you need to wait before you start dating again, so you can start to use this as a guideline.

Just be mindful that you have to get the balance right. If you let fear take over, you’ll also then end up convincing yourself that you’re not ready – when you could be, and you’re simply prolonging your pain.

So if you’re feeling unsure about whether you’re holding yourself back, or what work you do need to do to get ready to date again, consider seeking professional breakup coaching support.

Dating After a Breakup

Signs You Are Ready to Start Dating After A Breakup

So what are the signs you’re ready to start dating after a breakup? How else can you tell that now could be a good time to date again? Well, you’ll start to see that…

1) You are no longer bitter from the experience.

There’s not any intense, uncontrollable emotions anymore. Memories of your ex do not make you sad anymore.

You don’t have to necessarily “look back and smile” at this stage, but thinking about your ex, or the time you spent together doesn’t have to stir up so much emotional pain anymore.

You’re at the point where “it is what it is.” Similarly…

2) You’re not fixating on your ex anymore.

You’ve done things to reduce the amount of time your ex is able to come into your mind.

For instance, maybe you’ve blocked him, or refuse to respond to his occasional messages if you recognise the signs your ex is testing you and playing games.

The focus is no longer on your ex – but yourself.

3) You’re starting to feel like you again.

You’re genuinely starting to feel better after the breakup. You’re doing the right things (even if it’s hard!) and you’ve developed healthy coping habits.

You’ve learned how to manage your feelings when you are sad or angry. And just – as a whole – feel far more level-headed and in control.

how soon is too soon to start dating after a breakup

4) You’re focusing on moving forward.

Every day may still feel like a bit of a battle at times, but you keep pushing through.

You’ve been able to identify the actions you need to take and are not only trying to “survive” from this, but you’re also beginning to look at how you can improve yourself after a breakup to even start to “thrive.”

(Turning this negative experience into a positive! This is something that I massively vouch for!)

5) You WANT but don’t NEED to date.

One of the biggest signs you’re ready to start dating after a breakup, is if you want to do it, rather than feel like you need to do it.

You’re not looking for an escape, you’re not looking for anyone else to validate you and you’re not doing this for the distraction from your pain.

You’re in a healthy place, with a healthy outlook to dating.

6) You’re clear on what you want, need and are ready for.

You’re not going into this blind. Yes, you may not have all the answers straight away (that’s natural and normal!)

But you’ve asked yourself the key questions before dating and have gained clarity over the most important details.

You don’t have unrealistic expectations, but you have outlined your standards. (Which in turn, will help to protect you in this new dating world!)

first date after a breakup

7) You’re positive and open minded!

You’re not putting too much pressure on anything at this stage. It’s still early days. Instead, you’re going into dating again with a positive mindset… and a bit of excitement!

You’re still learning to love yourself, maybe you’ve even started doing some fun solo dates on your own too.

So now it’s just about opening your heart a little again, enjoying everything and anything that comes your way, and seeing where things take you!

PLEASE NOTE: You don’t have to be in the “perfect” position again, in order to be able to start dating after a breakup. Remember that. Not everything has to be 100% in order, feeling 100% the way you want to feel after a breakup. These are just some of the signs you’re on the right track and making enough process to start to date again!

Is It Normal To Be Scared Of Dating After a Breakup?

Yes! Absolutely! It is perfectly normal to feel scared to start dating after a breakup. Dating anxiety is common. Especially if you’ve not long come out of a long-term relationship.

Your ex was all you knew for a long time, and even just thinking about now navigating the dating world, can feel daunting.

You may also feel guilty about moving on, particularly if you know that your ex is miserable and didn’t want this breakup to happen. Or if you think you should have done more to prevent it.

But you have to move on. Even if you’re still in love with your ex – you have to accept your relationship is over (and know that it’s for the best) so that you can open your heart and mind back up to new things and new people.

Don’t let the fear of dating after a breakup, and starting over again, lead you back to your ex for the wrong reasons.

Know that you ARE in control of how you feel, how you approach dating and – even – what the ultimate outcome from dating will be.

You can, and will, get everything you want and deserve… But the first step is to make that first brave step to date again after the breakup. Okay?

Dating After a Breakup

What If I DON’T Want To Date?

Now it’s worth mentioning here, that if you decide you don’t want to date after a breakup, at all; you want to focus on yourself, and fully embrace single life for a little while – that is absolutely fine too… So long as you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Staying single and being single by choice is growing more and more popular.

But you should only do this if you want this and value this and know why you’re doing it… Rather than wanting to stay single because you’re fed up, having very negative beliefs about love and don’t want to be hurt anymore. You see the difference?

I mean having a stage in your life when you’re just single, enjoying being single, going all out with a master singles bucket list, and having the best time – is awesome.

And you can do this whilst being completely single, or dating on the side, it’s up to you!

Top Tips To ENJOY Dating After a Breakup

If you are single and ready to mingle again however, here’s some of our final top tips to fully embrace and enjoy getting back into dating again.

So, before you start dating after a breakup:

1) Associate positive things to dating again!

Write a list of all the reasons why dating after a breakup is, and will be, a good thing. Then keep adding to it, revisiting it, reading it, and reminding yourself of it. On the flip side…

signs you're ready to start dating again

2) Associate as many negative things to allowing this fear to hold you back.

Write a list of all the things it is costing you (not necessarily in money, but in terms of time or happiness or love) by allowing things to get in the way of wanting – and enjoying – dating again.

3) Sustain a positive mindset going into this.

Read these empowering dating affirmations, daily, to keep embedding the right messages in your mind. This will, in turn, help you to become more resilient as you date and create better outcomes.

4) Be honest and open from the start.

You shouldn’t go into dates and drone on about your ex or your recent heartbreak. Keep the past in the past.

But it is important to be open about where you’re at and what you’re looking for, so that you don’t mess anyone around.

Do you want something light and casual? Or are you only dating intentionally now, aiming to find the right person this time, but looking to take it slow?

This leads me onto my next point…

5) Take it slow.

No matter what you’re looking for (or if you don’t even know just yet), be sure to take it slow when dating after a breakup.

Things may still be a little raw right now, so taking it slow when dating protects both you and the person you’re dating…

Whilst giving it the best chance of being able to flourish into something truly meaningful.

When should you date again after a breakup

6) Keep it exciting!

Mix up the dates you have, so that they don’t become “samey!”, be open minded to meeting different people, and in different ways (e.g. at a party, at an event, or on a dating app, of course!)

See dating apps can get a bad stigma – but they really are a great way to connect you with a pool of singles, so simply use these dating app tips to get the most out of them.

Then, as you start to speak to more people, and meet more people – ask different questions when dating, to make it more interesting and allow genuine connections to form.

Go into every date with the attitude of… “If I have a good time, it’s a success!”

7) Still have other things going on in your life.

The best way to ease into dating after a breakup, is to not go ALL OUT and too excessive with it, as it then runs the risk of becoming too much, too soon.

Instead, date little and often to begin with; alongside building yourself up in the other areas of your life, so that you get the balance right.

Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs and boundaries if others are coming on a little too strong; and don’t fall into the habit of getting “carried away” yourself.

Just keep that healthy balance, and you’ll then be able to fully learn, grow and enjoy everything that dating offers you, whilst still remaining happily single, in the process.

That’s All For This One

So there we have it – the key things you need to know when it comes to getting back into dating after a breakup. I hope this has helped.

Got any extra questions? Then please don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments box below.

Remember – you’re not alone in any of this. We’ve got you. And you’ve got this.

Take care!


Dating After a Breakup
Photo of author
Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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