Dating Again After A Breakup: How Long Should You Wait?

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Going through a breakup is pretty rubbish, even if it was you who decided to end things.

It’s important to give yourself some time after a relationship ends, but how long is the right amount of time to wait before you date again?

You won’t be surprised to hear that there isn’t a specific amount of time to wait before dating again, but there are a few things to consider before jumping back into the dating scene…

1. Get closure.

Whether you ended things or not, getting some closure on why things ended is really healthy.

You don’t need to hunt down your ex to get an answer, either. You can process on your own and come to a resolution about why things ended. It might take some time, but you’ll get there.

It’s important to understand why a relationship ended before you throw yourself into a new one. It’s also a sign of respect to both yourself and the first person you date after your breakup.

Getting closure will help you make healthier choices going forwards, rather than projecting your feelings for your ex onto someone new, or accidentally using someone because you’re desperate for affection. 

2. Give yourself time to heal.

It takes time to get over someone, even if it was a short-term relationship.

When we go through a breakup, we not only lose the person, we lose the future and the hopes we associated with them. The holidays we’d planned in our heads, the life we fantasized about, and the hopes of things being long-term.

It’s normal to experience a form of grief when you go through a breakup, which is why it’s important to give yourself some time to process and recover.

You might feel physically unwell, have a hard time with your mental health, or have a confidence crisis.

Whatever you’re feeling after a breakup, take some time out before you go on dates again. You’ll know when it feels right and you shouldn’t try to rush it or force it before you feel ready. 

3. Get over your ex.

This might seem impossible, but it is something you can do – or at least work toward, for now.

This is an important step to at least embark on before you start dating again, even if you aren’t completely over them at first.

If not, you’ll potentially date someone to make your ex jealous (either consciously or subconsciously), which isn’t fair on anyone.

Try to get to a healthy place with regards to your ex before you hit the dating scene, and you’ll make much better, healthier choices. 

4. Check in with yourself.

When we’re wading through the grief (and snotty tissues) of a breakup, we can often feel lost.

We indulge these feelings and let ourselves wallow like all the heartbroken actors we see in movies.

Time keeps on going by, but we don’t really seem to go anywhere. Months can pass before you realize that your actual feelings have changed, your actions just haven’t caught up with them yet and you’re still binging on Netflix and Ben & Jerry’s.

We’re not talking about ‘deadlines,’ but make a note of a time in a few months to stop and assess how you’re actually feeling. 

5. Talk to family and friends.

Surround yourself with your loved ones and don’t be scared to ask them for help – or even just for company.

When you’re in a relationship, you’re used to being with someone, and it can be really scary and sad to suddenly be alone.

Invite friends to stay at your house if you’re newly living alone, find someone to keep you entertained on the Wednesday evenings you’d normally spend doing a weekly pottery class with your ex.

Having your loved ones around you will help you get through the major adjustment of a breakup. They’ll also offer support, affection, and validation, which are some of the things many people miss most about their exes.

By having trusted loved ones provide these things, we can properly determine how we feel and when we’re ready to date again. 

6. Remember, it’s not a competition.

You might have seen something on Instagram about your ex, or heard from friends that they’re dating again. Remind yourself that that is their decision and none of your business.

You have no idea if they’re actually ready to date, or if they’re still madly in love with you and trying desperately to get over you. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter either way.

Everyone moves on in their own way, at their own pace. You don’t need to date to prove a point, and there should never be an unhealthy ‘race’ to get over each other the fastest. 

7. Focus on yourself – no, really!

It might sound weird that you need to get used to being alone before you are truly ready to be with someone else, but trust us, it’s important.

You want to make sure that, when you start dating again, you’re doing it to add something to your life, not to fill a void.

So many of us jump into ‘filler’ relationships too soon, needing to fill the gap that our ex has left because we’re scared to be alone.

A breakup can be brutal, but it gives you the perfect opportunity to get used to being alone, and to get comfortable with who you are.

The more you enjoy alone time, the more you value it – which is something you’ll hold onto in your next relationship, and is a very healthy place to be.

Equally, the more you fill your life with things you enjoy, and things for yourself, the less dependent on someone else you’ll be and the better your chances are of forming a genuine connection with the next person you date. 

8. Address your behaviors and learn from them.

Maybe the relationship ended because you kept sabotaging it, or because you could never fully trust them, even though they never did anything disloyal.

It’s important, and healthy, to address any unwelcome behaviors that you may carry into your next relationship – before you end up in it.

You might realize that you had huge trust issues in your past relationship. This is unlikely to be down to your ex alone, especially if they never actually gave you cause for concern.

Instead, it’s something that is coming from you, for whatever reason (childhood, rejection, past cheaters, etc.) and is something you need to work on so that it doesn’t affect your future relationships.

Once you’ve taken some time to work on yourself (not that you were the ‘problem’ in your past relationship), you can start to think about moving on and going on dates. 

9. Test the waters.

So, you’re getting over your heartbreak. We’re not suggesting you launch into a full-on relationship, but there are a few things you can do to see how you feel about dating again.

Download a dating app. That alone might make you feel horrifically guilty and sad, which is a sign that you’re not ready. However, it might feel scary in an exciting way!

Try to set your preferences so that they don’t include your ex (e.g. set you age limits to 31 as a minimum if your ex is 30, as that will prevent them from popping up if they’re also on a dating app!).

See how it feels to match with people, chat to people, and have a little flirt. If it feels too weird, leave it for now. You can come back to it when you’re ready. Or, if you feel like it could be fun, go on a date or two.

10. Don’t leave it too long.

While there’s no set amount of time suggested for mourning your old relationship, try not to leave it too long.

If your only reference point for a partner is a year or so ago, you run the risk of romanticizing them and convincing yourself you still love them. You probably don’t, you just haven’t dated anyone else for a long time!

You might also find it really daunting to date again – this is fine, but maybe not that healthy. Sometimes, no matter how much you think you want to date, your fear grows over time and you feel too nervous or anxious to do it.

Don’t rush it, of course, but don’t let yourself wallow in your heartbreak and prevent yourself from moving on.

So, as you can tell – there isn’t a scientific calculation that can figure out when it’s time to start dating again after a breakup.

Instead, you have to listen to yourself and what feels right for you – whether that’s getting back on Tinder, or getting back in bed for a cry. All in good time…

Still not sure whether you are ready to date someone again? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.