It’s Saturday night and the sun’s been down for hours. You are contemplating dating after a breakup, but the problem is that you are lacking motivation to do anything. The desire to go out, mingle, and be social just isn’t there.
So you do what 40% of single people do in 2018 — download a couple dating apps. You pour yourself a nice tower sized glass of crisp Pinot noir, slip in your ocean-blue cotton pj’s, and figure this might be a good way to get distracted.
Five minutes goes by and you start swiping with your thumb. You slowly begin to feel better. A few good looking people and a few messages later you start justifying, “Maybe I’ll meet someone that can distract me from my ex.”
Dating after a breakup
“What the heck, one date won’t hurt. Everyone starts dating after a breakup.” you tell yourself.
Fast forward to the date and you start to notice a particular pattern right away. You begin to see every flaw this other person has, that your ex didn’t. Everything you loved about your ex is now heightened and now your ex has become even stronger in your mind than ever before.
You have just taken 3 steps backward.
Look, it’s tempting to begin dating after a breakup. It’s incredibly easy to get distracted, but what you don’t know is that the momentary good feels you get is short lived and in the long run you will make it harder to move on.
Transfer of power
See, when you start to date right away, as soon as something goes unplanned or the person you are dating does or says something unattractive, you just gave power to your ex.
You will begin to think if you will ever meet someone like them again. You start to wonder if they are the only one for you because they were just your type.
“Should I text them? Were they right all along? Shit.”
You see how dating too soon starts a domino effect of inaccurate thinking? This isn’t good for yourself, your mental health, and your ability to start a new chapter in your life. In this fragile state, it just makes your ex seem more valuable than they really are.
It’s like Instagram. When’s the last time your friend posted a sad picture of themselves? (Hint: that’s a trick question) All you see are the FANTASTIC snippets of people’s lives which doesn’t tell the story. It’s not reality. This is a serious issue and an acronym known as FOMO is based on this fantasy.
And after a “meh” date, your perceptions of your ex will not be reality either, but you won’t be able to spot the difference.
Emotions are stronger than you think
This is because your emotions outweigh your logic.
Think of it like gambling. Sure you may win in the short term, but in the long term you will likely lose. Except you aren’t gambling with your money. No no. You are gambling with something much more precious.
And how you feel correlates to your overall happiness.
My suggestion would be to make sure you pass up on all dates. If you want your ex back that’s cool, I can show you how to do that, but wait it out and let time do it’s part. This may take weeks or months, that’s ok. You have one body and one mind for the rest of your life. You don’t get another one. Let it all renew.
For now, focus on making yourself happy, give yourself time to heal, and do your best not to think about your ex.
So how do you know when you should start dating after a breakup? I’m glad you asked.
There are two ballpark indications:
- When you are 80% happy on your own. This is intangible and only you will know that. If you feel like your confidence isn’t dependent on anyone else that’s a good signal that the healing is going as expected.
- When you stop hoping for your ex to text you. If you wake up, roll over to reach your phone, and the first thought isn’t, “Did they text me?” that’s a good sign.
Follow those two guidelines, take care of your health, and remember that today is the oldest you will ever be and the youngest you have ever been.
Have you had a similar experience? Share your perspective below and I’ll chime in.