I got this question the other day:
“What’s your advice on getting back into the dating pool after a breakup? Is there a certain amount of time one should wait? Or, is it a case of getting back on the horse right after falling off? My heart was broken recently… and my friends are telling me to get back out there and date. My walls have been built back up again and I don’t know if I can date anyone right now. What would you recommend?”
I feel this question. I know this simple statement doesn’t do it justice, but breakups are hard. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the one who initiated it or you’re the recipient of the bad news—it’s never easy. Here’s what I said in response to the question:
“You know yourself best. If the thought of getting back out there makes your stomach churn, then take a break. It’s important to mourn relationships and not use other people as a Band-Aid to help you get there. Getting over someone can, and will, take time. But I would not rush back out there because other people tell you that’s what you should do. Listen to your body.”
In the end, there is no formula for this. I believe that after every relationship ends, there are two components in order to help get past it: time, and eventually someone else. But that ratio differs for everybody. Sometimes it feels like you should be ready before you are. And sometimes the shorter relationships take longer to get past than the longer ones. It’s not always rational, but that’s okay.
Instead of focusing on a specific timeline, pay attention to your own emotional readiness. Take the time to assess if you’ve truly moved on from your previous relationship, if you feel comfortable being alone, and if you’re ready to invest in a new partnership. Trust your instincts. It’s important to ensure that you’re entering a new relationship from a place of emotional stability and clarity, not loneliness or as a way to fill a void.
In my experience with clients—and myself—I would also encourage you to cut off contact, at least for the near future, with your ex. It’s easy to fall back into old patterns or gain false hope of a reconciliation if the lines of communication are still open. As hard as it feels in the moment, using the “block” button on social media or deleting a contact can really help the process along.
And then, when you start to feel curious about other people again, that’s when it’s time to get out there. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are taking “too long” to get over someone. There is no right or wrong amount of time. Unfortunately, sometimes that advice comes from friends feeling uncomfortable seeing you sad. A relationship is a big part of your life, and you should mourn it as you choose.
While you’re in the healing process, go back to things that make you happy as a person. Day by day, you’ll start to feel more like yourself. After any relationship of mine ended, I made a point to find a new “thing”—after one breakup, I got into storytelling on stage. After another, it opened me up to moving to a new city I always wanted to try. And one left me with impeccable taste in balsamic vinegar! It’s okay to take the best from each relationship and then build new parts of yourself around it. We are always growing and evolving, even in the sadness.
Lastly, remember that it’s not only okay but it’s encouraged to focus on your own growth, enjoy your own company, and when the time is right, embrace the opportunity to create a new and fulfilling romantic chapter in your life.