How and When to Start Dating Again After a Breakup or Divorce

Finding yourself single after being in a long-term relationship may cause you to shrink back and swear off love forever. There’s nothing wrong with this type of thinking, as long as you don’t hold yourself to it. It’s normal to overreact immediately after the breakup, but give yourself permission to change your mind.

As time passes, you’re likely to meet new people, develop new interests and discover some things about yourself that you never knew before. Take advantage of the opportunity to step out into uncharted territory and experience life. If someone interesting comes along, you may want to consider getting to know him or her to see if there’s any chance of a relationship. Even if you decide not to pursue dating this person after going out a couple of times, you’ll at least have more experience and knowledge of what you do or do not want.

Immediately After the Breakup

Before you start dating again, take stock of what went wrong in the relationship. You don’t want to make the same mistakes, or you’ll wind up in the same boat in the future. Talk to two or three of your closest friends separately and ask for their observations. This may be difficult, but you want their honesty in order to prevent a replay.

After you process what your friends tell you, work on changing what you can about yourself. If you have a history of dating cheaters, jot down some similarities in these people. You may see other trends and patterns as you go. Although some of what you noticed in former partners may be common traits, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all people who do those things will cheat. Just be cautious and aware.

Get a Makeover

You don’t have to change the way you look or do a major overhaul of your core values. The key is to find something to boost your confidence and self-esteem before stepping back out there into the dating world.

Makeover suggestions:

  • Have your hair restyled and updated.
  • Purchase a few trendy pieces to add pizzazz to your wardrobe.
  • Take a class to learn something new.
  • If you feel it would help, seek therapy to discover something new about yourself.

Warnings About Memories

You may occasionally experience painful memories of your past with your former partner. This can send you into a state of mourning. Allow a small period of grief then take charge of turning the feeling into a positive experience.

Things that can cause you to grieve a broken relationship:

  • running into that person
  • seeing pictures of the person
  • hearing old songs that transport you to a happy time
  • a phone call from your ex

Evaluate your feelings when you find yourself in any of these situations. If your grief is insurmountable, you may not be ready to start dating again. Once you are able to get past the initial sadness quickly, you are starting to heal and should consider dating again.

Meeting New People

Once you start meeting new people, you may feel awkward and inept. This is normal, but after a few experiences, you’ll grow more comfortable. Over time, you’ll probably realize that you weren’t as happy as you thought you were. Enjoy being single and free from the constraints of whatever problems you had in your former relationship that wasn’t working.

Tips when dating new people:

  • Avoid falling into the rut of bashing your ex.
  • Formulate a brief explanation of why your former relationship failed then move on to a different subject.
  • Be prepared to face your ex if you live in a small community or visit old haunts.
  • Don’t compare people you meet to your ex.
  • Pay attention to body language to gauge the other person’s interest.

Immediately after a breakup or divorce, allow time to grieve. Then take some time to get a makeover and rediscover yourself. Realize that you’ll be struck with old memories, but don’t allow them to send you into a downward spiral of negativity. When you’re ready, meet new people and be open to a fresh relationship.