How Long Should You Wait Before Dating After a Breakup - How To Win a Man's Heart

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August 18, 2014

How Long Should You Wait Before Dating After a Breakup

# 1. Know the 3 R’s of Relationship Readiness

Brynn Cicippio

Breakups are tough, regardless of how the decision was made to end the relationship. There is always some sense of loss. Afterall, you didn’t start off dating this person with the intention to break up with them, right? It also doesn’t mean that you will never date again, so there is an upside. But when is the right time to pick yourself up and get back on the dating horse? Timing will vary from person to person, so instead let’s look at some key points to remember when getting back into the scene.

1. The Representative – we all know who this is. We have met The Rep many times and we have been The Rep ourselves. The Representative is the person who shows up for the first 6-8 weeks of a new relationship. This is when we are bringing our A game, putting our best foot forward, and being the best partner possible. Keep this in mind when you meet your next potential suitor and you swear they are “THE ONE”. Everyone has flaws, everyone has skeletons in the closet, and no one is perfect. Take it slow until The Representative steps aside. Only then can you truly assess your compatibility.

2. The Rush – What is it? No, I mean, what is the rush? What is fueling your need to jump into the next relationship? Of course new relationships are fun and exciting (note: The Rep), but YOU are also fun and exciting! Take time to date yourself, travel, cross some items off your bucket list, reconnect with old friends, volunteer, visit family, etc… Many happy couples share that they met their partner when they least expected it.

3. The Roles – While you are dodging The Rep and taking time for yourself, it can also be helpful to look at past relationships and what role you and your partner took on. You may notice a pattern emerging and can use this information to seek a healthy and happy relationship. For example, do you notice that you feel you are always the responsible one in the relationship? Do you see your partners as being needy or irresponsible? You may be dating people that put you in the position of feeling needed and validated. In this scenario, it may be beneficial to date someone who you feel is independent and responsible. This could lead to equality and mutual respect, as opposed to neediness and codependency.

Relationships end because something, somewhere, is not working. Use the 3 R’s to avoid making the same mistake twice,… or three… or four times…

Brynn Cicippio, MA, LMFT –

# 2. Ask yourself how much you love yourself


As a counselor, I often have clients come to me after a breakup. There are processes we can do to help them heal the hurt and support them in getting them to hope.

A question sometimes posed after this work is: “When should I date again?” The question I ask in return is. “How much do you love yourself? On a scale from one to ten, with one being ‘not at all’ and ten being ‘completely and unconditionally.’ ” If a client responds with anything below a seven, I suggest they wait a bit; if it is eight or above I say “GO FOR IT!”

We attract people who treat us like we treat ourselves, and if someone does not like themselves very much, it will be impossible for them to be discerning. In other words, their relationship radar will be “off”. However, if someone is in a healthy, respectful and loving relationship with themselves, they will naturally make better choices. In other words, if one’s self love number is high, they are more likely going to attract and be attracted to someone healthy, positive and appropriate.

From my perspective, there is no right amount of time to take, or not take, between relationships. It is more about how we are in relationships with ourselves that should be our touchstone and indicator of “relationship readiness.”

So, how much do YOU love yourself? And what would you like to manifest next?

Dr. Tammi Baliszewski –

# 3. Do an honest self check

Allison Cohen

A break up is a roller coaster of emotions under the best of circumstances. Even when you know it was the right decision, uncomfortable feelings can arise. Whether it stems from loneliness or a general disorientation to your new single life, you can sometimes feel ready to move forward, when you are anything but.

It’s a very basic desire to have outlines, guidelines and definitive rules. With specific protocols you can prevent mistakes and regret, but sadly, life is much more complicated than a one size fits all tenet. The good news, however, is that there is one way to truly ascertain your readiness to jump back into the dating pool…

You must check in with yourself and get down to the core of it. Ask the questions, “Are you are ‘ready’ to move on and date because you have truly processed the loss (read: understand why it didn’t work and gained more information about who you are and what you need) or because sitting with those uncomfortable feelings is downright uncomfortable?” Feel that it’s the former? You are ready to move on. Get that nagging feeling that its the latter? You know it’s time to give yourself more time. Only you will be able to dictate your ‘readiness’ but through an honest evaluation you will get your answer.

Allison Cohen, M.A., MFT –

# 4. Don’t jump into any relationship until you are really ready and also aware of your motives

Amy Sherman

If you are recently single, take your time to heal first from the breakup. As with any loss, you have to go through a process of grieving, until you feel you are ready to get out and meet new people. It’s OK to feel afraid, sad, disappointed, hurt or embarrassed after a relationship gone wrong. Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to identify your feelings and learn how to heal them, you become vulnerable to a host of negative thoughts, experiences and actions (i.e. drinking/eating too much, acting out physically, etc.) which are harmful to you or anyone in your life.

In fact, it’s not fair to a new partner or to you if you are dating on the rebound, trying to relive or forget what you had before. In other words, don’t jump into anything too quickly until you are really ready and also aware of your motives.

If you date someone too soon and get hurt without having done some self-healing, odds are you’ll be at a loss as to how to effectively restore your feelings of self-worth and dignity. To protect yourself from getting into this vulnerable situation, many women assume casual dating is the answer. However, that may not necessarily be the best solution for you.

So when you are ready, question what your intentions are for dating again. Are you looking for a life-long partner, a casual companion or a quick fling? By knowing what you want, you can eliminate many men whose goals are different than yours. Plus, you will bypass a lot of the hurt, frustration and disappointment associated with dating. If you know your objective, you will make the experience easier, more successful and, of course, healthier.

All relationships should develop from a position of strength, not insecurity. Often it’s useful to seek out professional relationship counseling or coaching to guide you to greater insight or support you in better understanding your feelings so you can move forward — at the right time. The end result will be enhanced self-development, personal growth and a healthy new relationship.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC –

# 5. Follow the 4 tips below

Julie Ferman

It’s more a function of your state of mind and the healthiness of your emotional state than it is about the amount of time that’s passed since your last relationship ended. Here’s how you’ll know if you’re ready to date again after a break-up.

1. You like yourself, you enjoy your OWN company, and you’re at a place in your life where you’re hopeful and optimistic about your future.

2. You’ve come to terms with all that happened in your past relationship, you’re grateful for the lessons you’ve learned from this and all of your previous loves, and you’ve accepted responsibility for the mistakes you’ve made and for your own shortcomings (yep, we’ve all got ‘em!)

3. You know who you are (your strengths and your weaknesses) and you’re also clear about the most important characteristics and qualities that you’re seeking in your future partner. Also, from that long, long list of elements you’d ideally love to see in the perfect person, you’ve identified your Top Three Critical Criteria – helping you to sift and sort when you’re “out there” – if the person you’re considering meeting has these top three critical criteria, it’s a good idea to give that person a chance, even if item number 14 is missing…

4. You’ve got an action plan for your dating strategy. When we’re looking for a job or for the right apartment or home, we don’t just wait for the opportunities to come knocking, right? Same is true for finding a great relationship.

Julie Ferman, Matchmaker –

# 6. Whenever you date, make sure that you do it from a place of strength, self-respect and wisdom

Shelby Riley

Determining how long to wait before dating after a break up is a personal, and individual, decision. If you tend to isolate and retreat into a cave of fear after a break up, it may make sense to challenge yourself to go out with friends and accept a casual date or two fairly soon after a break up. This will allow you to try a different way of coping, and stay active and involved in a healthy social scene.

If you tend to jump from one relationship into another out of fear of being alone, it may make sense to challenge yourself to be single for a month or two. Spend time with friends, and make sure to spend some time alone. Listen to that quiet voice inside you and see what thoughts and feelings come up. Do things you enjoy, like hiking or reading or bungee jumping. Eat when and what you want to eat. Listen to your needs and reconnect with who you are so that when you date again, you have a stronger sense of self, and not just a sense of yourself in relation to someone else.

Alicia Keys shared in an interview that she named her son “Egypt” because she took a trip to Egypt alone, and it was the first time in a long time she had really paid attention to herself, and not herself in relation to everyone else around her. It was so transformative that she wanted to name her child, another truly transformative part of her life, after that special place.

When you do start dating, pay attention to pace. If you tend to hold back and stay guarded for a long time, and that gets in the way of you creating connected romances, challenge yourself to be more vulnerable in relationships, in small safe ways. If you tend to throw yourself all in, and get very hurt when you break up, challenge yourself to slow the pace, and have boundaries around your time available for dating, and limit some of the content of what you share. Save some of the more intimate, vulnerable details of who you are until later in the relationship when you’ve established trust that has been consistent for a longer period of time.

Dating can be a great way to explore your interests, your passions, and feel connected and accepted by people, something most of us crave. But it can also be a place where we lose ourselves and care more about pleasing someone else, or getting external validation. Make sure that no matter how long you wait to start dating after a break up, you do it from a place of strength, self-respect and wisdom for creating experiences in life that will help you to grow into the best version of yourself possible.

Shelby Riley, LMFT –

# 7. Take some time to ‘fall in love with yourself’ first before you look for someone else


Is there really a right or valid time frame to start dating again? Only you can answer this question. It varies for everyone as we all have a different timing and process. Taking some space though to ‘fall in love with yourself’ before you look for someone else is usually beneficial. Confidence and self-esteem is often low when the relationship you dreamt was going to last forever, ends. You may have changed over time and who you were, may be different now. Discover the ‘new you’ before jumping into the dating scene.

There are some key questions you can explore which can help you start over again. Decide when you are really ready to meet new people. It can be daunting as well as exciting. Your friends and family may encourage you to ‘get out there.’ This could help you or push you, when you are still feeling vulnerable and having to deal with possible rejection. The dating scene could have changed with online dating which, in itself can be a challenge! Discover what you really want in your life now. This may be an opportunity to find new interests or travel, study or change jobs. It gives you the freedom to follow yourself and your own process without negotiation or compromise.

Consider if you have really come to terms with the break up. Sometimes we attach ourselves quickly to someone else, because we are scared of being on our own, lonely or need support financially or with our children. We jump from one relationship into another because it distracts us from dealing with feelings of loss and it makes us feel better if someone is interested in us. If you feel hurt, betrayed and angry and find yourself talking a lot about your ex-partner to someone new or get home after a date and feel upset, it may be a sign that you haven’t let go of those feelings yet or moved on. If you do date someone, take your time to find out about the new person. If they don’t suit you, don’t feel obliged and find a kind way to let them know that you don’t want to meet them again.

Some people feel that they don’t want to hang around and be miserable or just want to move on quickly. If so, have an attitude of enjoying yourself rather than immediately wanting a long term relationship. Have a look around and see who is out there! You don’t necessarily have to commit again for a while and there is a reason why ‘rebound relationships’ don’t tend to last. It takes time to heal.

Sherry Marshall, BSc, MAA –

# 8. Realize your vulnerability and understand that you have to completely let go of the past first if you want to enjoy a loving relationship that is not emotionally distracted


Although some break ups are welcome, your relationship has ended and you hurt. But what better time to rediscover who you are while you find the courage to love again! You’re bitter, confused, and convinced that you have accepted the disappointment, resolved your toxic angry feelings, have championed the emotional transition from grief, and want to start dating. But is this the right time?

Human beings are wired to connect, and you may feel the need to fill an empty heart, but understand that if you’re not ready, the probability of problematic interactions is high. Ask yourself first if your basic human fear of being alone is misguiding your instincts. And if there’s any chance you may be relying on someone else to boost your self-esteem, commit to relying only on yourself! The most wonderful relationship you can have is the relationship with yourself. So let the journey begin.

The fragile time after a break up is time to live in the moment. Obsessing about the past, and feeling anxious about the future may motivate you to date too soon. Be honest with yourself. Why do you want to start dating? If you’re visualizing a rebound relationship to quickly ease your pain, be aware that most wounds don’t require a bandage, and certainly not until the infection has been taken care of! Realize your vulnerability and understand that you have to completely let go of the past first if you want to enjoy a loving relationship that is not emotionally distracted. It is your responsibility to embrace the journey of emotional healing and to do the required homework. If there’s a chance you haven’t moved on emotionally from the first person, you’ll find yourself emotionally involved with two people. So reassure yourself that it’s okay to hurt and it’s okay to not be in a relationship.

Being single is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the benefits of being independent. To do this, you need to understand who you are today. Begin with a plan: Change your routine. Re-establishing some control in your life will feel liberating. Schedule the time you would have spent with your mate on a yoga class, a book on meditation, your favorite physical activity, social interaction, and most importantly, some personal reflection. This is an excellent opportunity to resolve personal issues you have either ignored or have not been aware of in your past relationship.

One of the things you may regretfully understand is that in the past, your emotional, physical, and mental focus was invested into your previous partner, and your needs were sacrificed. When your relationship crashed so did your sense of self! To address this, begin by being mindful and strive to create balance in your life. By consciously observing who you are, connecting to your feelings, registering your thoughts, accepting your emotions and tuning in to your body, you will become self-aware.

Reclaiming yourself will be enlightening! Consciously observe some of your greatest personality traits. Own them and love them! Mentally address any issues which may have played a key role in the break up due to their negative impact, and commit to change. By examining how you interact in your relationships you will gain better insight, stronger intuition and a deeper sense of what your expectations and motivations are for the next relationship.

The brain adapts best to persistence, and repetition re-wires the brain to enable change. So practise being single. Create a lifestyle that reflects what is important to you. Prepare to be emotionally present in your next relationship by processing your feelings and letting go of what was. Commit to being mindful of who you are and enter a new relationship not because you need to be loved but because you have made a positive choice. You have been cut. And you have bled. In order to stop the emotional bleeding, strive to love yourself. When you can attest that you feel confident and happy, it is time to make space in your life for a respectful, caring and committed relationship. And remember, a healthier, confident you, will attract a healthier, confident mate.

Karleen Nevery, MTC, RTC, CPA –

# 9. Ask yourself the 6 questions below

Loral Lee Portenier

How soon is too soon to begin dating after the breakup of a relationship? It depends. Each person, each situation, is unique so there cannot possibly be any one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

This means that you have to go inside yourself, do some honest soul-searching, and look for the right answer each time this happens.

To help you focus your soul-searching, ask yourself these questions.

1. What does it mean to you to be in a relationship? In other words, what does it say about you, about who you are, about your value and worth as a person?

2. Conversely, what does it say about you to not be in a relationship?

3. What needs do you get met in a relationship?

When you get those answers, move on to the next set of questions.

4. What does it cost you to be in a relationship?

5. Are there better, healthier ways to get your needs met?

6. Are the beliefs you have about who you are and your innate value as a person holding you back? Making you settle, just to be in a relationship? Do they bring out the best in your or keep you living at a lower standard than you’re capable of? Is it time to discard some of those limiting beliefs and become your own highest and best self?

If you enter a relationship simply because you’re afraid of being alone, don’t feel worthy or valuable or desirable on your own, or because it hurts to be alone, then the cost of the relationship may be too high. You’re probably paying more than what you’re getting in return.

During the dark time of recovery after a breakup, try not to rush into another relationship. Instead, use the time to heal, gather your strength, and become all you can be (Bonus: you’ll attract a higher class of man next time.) And, when the going gets tough, remember the words of Barry Manilow. “I made it through the rain, and found myself respected by the others who got rained on too, and made it through.”

Dr. Loral Lee Portenier –

# 10. Don’t see dating as a process to the end game, marriage


I don’t think there is one right time frame that applies to all individuals. It is more about the individual’s emotional comfort level with the idea of dating again and interacting with someone new. Some people are too emotionally distraught with the past to be present emotionally. Where others are anxious to get out there and meet new people. It all depends on the psychological conditions that were occurring in their previous relationship, and also what were the circumstances as to how the relationship dissolved.

I think the operative word is dating. Many times an adult’s definition of dating is getting involved in a serious committed relationship. If you have been in a long term marriage you might not be ready for a serious relationship right out of the gate, but who says you can’t go to dinner and catch a movie with someone new? Too many people see dating as a process to the end game, marriage. As opposed to getting out there and meeting new people to fulfill some basic emotional needs in the short term. Not that there is anything wrong with getting married again, but that can’t be the only goal.

The attitude I hear is; “if this relationship isn’t going to end up in a marital situation then you are wasting my time. So if that’s not your goal then we are done even though we are having a good time in the moment.” This type of thinking is an all or nothing mentality which sets a person up for being alone and unfulfilled a great deal of the time. Dating from the psychological position of emotional deprivation is not a good idea because it distorts your ability to view a healthy potential mate.

I don’t see any value in forcing yourself to be alone in the world. It’s no fun and sets you for emotional deprivation which isn’t a very self-loving way to treat yourself. You want to get your “emotional needs cup” filled through a whole lot sources so you are not dependent on any one individual. Dating is one way to create an emotional support system.

It is a very powerful experience to go out with someone who smiles when they see you and are excited to be with you. This is especially true if a person is coming out of relationship that was toxic to their self-esteem. Not that you want to give someone the power to validate your self-esteem, but it’s very empowering to have someone provide some positive personal feedback when you have been starved for years of receiving any compliments.

One last thing, remember life is very short and to deprive yourself of a loving relationship leads to an empty life. Yes you can live alone and if you have to you can, but it’s a whole lot better sharing with someone who can love the real you. Take the risk, what do you have to lose, but being lonely and unfulfilled.

Daniel Beaver, MS, MFT –

# 11. It is too soon to be in a new relationship until you feel that you do not need anyone to be happy

Brooke Campbell

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ve all heard the saying that timing is everything. Timing is the difference between making the train to an important job interview compared to watching it go past us. Timing also relates to our relationships.

Consider the train as a metaphor for your relationship. You want to wait not only for the right train going to the correct destination, but you need to get on at the right time.

The Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us” also applies to our relationships. Our past and our future relationships are not as significant as what we carry internally within us.

After a relationship ends, ask yourself: “Do I feel as though I need to be with someone else to matter?” Be honest. Do you feel worthy even when you are alone?

It is too soon to be in a new relationship until you feel that you do not need anyone to be happy. If a part of you feels that a void in your life can and will be filled in your future relationship, you will be sadly disappointed.

It is not until we have fully accepted what lies within us that we can be ready for a new relationship.

Wait for your next “relationship” train when the timing is right. You will be glad you did once you arrive at your beautiful destination.

Brooke Campbell, MA, RDT-BCT, LCAT –

# 12. The only rule is to listen to what you feel and respect it

Alisa Ruby Bash

Unfortunately, there is no clear- cut rule that everyone can follow, such as wait 6 ½ weeks. Whether or not you are ready to date largely depends on how you are experiencing the end of your former relationship. Some people are devastated, and ruminate over their ex for many months. When they do start to date, they may find themselves comparing the new prospect to their old lover and only focusing on their flaws, without giving anyone new a chance. When someone is really obsessing about an ex, they will never be able to get a new relationship off the ground. It is too painful to feel so disconnected to a stranger and try to start the getting to know you process. In cases like this, it can be much healthier to focus on your own self-healing, and personal growth. Whether it takes a couple weeks, or even a year, put the time in and build up your strength and confidence so you can reemerge on the dating scene with a clear head and a clean slate. If you do not feel you are moving forward, definitely talk to a therapist.

My prescription comes without black and white rules, or judgement. If you are ready the next day after a breakup, by all means, go on a date! Some people have been suffering in sexless, loveless relationships for years. After finally getting the courage to end the relationship, they can feel completely empowered. In those cases, go ahead and see what you have been missing! The world is your oyster! The only rule is to listen to what you feel and respect it.

Alisa Ruby Bash, LMFT –

# 13. Ask yourself if you understand the developmental task that you were accomplishing with your ex


Do you think that people are done developing at ate 18? 22? What is the cutoff for continuing to grow? I ask you this because relationships have a lot to do with personal development and growth. If you think of it, your first relationship was with your parents or parental figures who raised you. This primary relationship was all about nurture, unconditional love, and to help you grow and experience your firsts – your first bicycle ride, first school club, first crush, first boyfriend/girlfriend – all this happened in the context of your family. Your first relationships helped you identify who you were as you grew up.

I propose that this interplay between self-knowledge and relationship continues in adult romantic attachments. These are also potentially close and caring holding environments in which to develop our capacities. We learn to know our own thoughts and feelings, to express them in a way that has integrity to our values, to see another person as separate and to understand that they have different feelings and thoughts. We strive to become curious about them and to create a relationship environment that invites knowing one another deeply. These are skills that we develop through practice in real relationships and carry forward with us into our next relationship if the current one ends.

With this framework in mind, one litmus test for when to start dating after a breakup is: “Do I understand the developmental task that I was accomplishing with my ex?” If we do not understand that task, most likely the next relationship will be a repeat of that task or will in some way feel like being stuck, or taking a step backward, rather than progressing.

Here are some questions that will help you identify the developmental task:

– Was I learning that I can tolerate the conflict that comes with saying what I want and need?

– Was I learning to express myself in a way that is open to hearing feedback, flexible enough to find a way that works for both of us?

– Was it about understanding my father or mother’s unavailability?

– Was it about proving something?

Emerging from the dynamic flow of the relationship after a break-up, we are left with the question: “Who am I now?” And also, “Where am I now?” Just as you might use your journal writing, vacation, or a retreat for reflection to consolidate a significant experience — a job change, relocation, a loss — the same is warranted at the end of a chapter in your path to finding a life partner. Make sure that you know where you came from and where you are now, as well as where you want to get to next and what will help you reach your aim, before diving back into the currents and eddies of dating.

For support with self-reflection on relationships, I recommend the following reading:

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find — and Keep — Love (2010). Amir Levine & Rachel Heller. New York NY: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Coming Apart: Why Relationships End and How to Live Through the Ending of Yours (2000). Daphne Rose Kingma. San Francisco, CA: Conari Press.

The Ten Conversations You Must Have Before Getting Married (2007). Guy Grenier. Toronto, CN: Key Porter Books.

Dr. Melinda Douglass –

# 14. Ask yourself the 4 questions below


To wait, not to wait, or how long should you wait after a relationship has ended? The following questions and anecdotes will help you determine if it’s too soon or if you’re ready to go on that dinner date.

1. Are you really “over” your partner or are you considering dating again as more of a distraction and avoidance?

It’s important to become clear about your motives, so that you can be honest with yourself and another person. The more honest you are with yourself the less likely you will be to disappoint yourself, disappoint or hurt another person, or feel regretful later if it doesn’t work out.

2. Have you taken any time to reflect or decompress from you last relationship?

Being “alone” doesn’t magically bring wisdom and strength, but it can provide the opportunity for deeper introspection, processing of feelings, and clarity to what you really want out of life and out of a relationship. Also, the experience of being “alone” and witnessing yourself survive it without becoming completely miserable can provide a sense of confidence and empowerment that no one else can give you.

3. Are you feeling ready, willing, and available to be a part of someone else’s life?

Part of this question also includes: Are you ready to be completely honest about where you’re at, so the other person can make a fully informed conscious decision about engaging with you? Remember dating and a relationship is a two-way street, so consider if you really feel like you have the time, energy, and attention to give to someone else and their life. They deserve to be treated just as well as you do.

4. Other ways to cope with heartache.

Consider other esteem building activities and supports to access instead of looking to a new beau for validation or reassurance. I invite you to go to friends or the other activities in your life that you were doing without or before your partner. Will it feel the same or provide the same instantaneous gratification? No. However, it will provide more long-term relief and help you feel more emotionally healthy for your next relationship. You will have a better chance of going into your next relationship not feeling overly reliant on them to make you feel okay about yourself and your life.

Laura Rinset, MS, LMFT –

# 15. Begin a new relationship when you are completely done with the last

Cynthia Pickett

This is a tricky issue! Not because the truth is not clear but because it will be hard for most people to live it. However, if you take the time to do the necessary work, your next relationship will not be more of the same but will instead be immensely better.

How do you know when to begin dating after a breakup? When you are completely done with the last! Completely done does not mean still being married “but it has been over for a long time.” It means divorced, or broken up, and all of the personal belongings exchanged, and whenever you think about, see, or communicate with your former partner, there is no emotional response within. I can already feel the gasping some may have at reading this! This tells us how far off the truth we are as a society. It is never a good idea to get over the last by finding a new one!

The reasoning is simple and the necessity is clear. Even if a person is married and “it’s been over for a long time”, there is still an energetic contract in place. A marriage license is not just a piece of paper. In order to be free to date the energetic contract must be voided which is divorce. Next, even though there is no love lost between the two of you when you think about your ex and feel anger, hurt, sadness, frustration, annoyance, disgust, etc.… you are not ready to date. These emotions indicate clear emotional ties to your past person which underneath is probably love. Anger, hurt, frustration, and annoyance are kissing cousins to love; opposite sides to the same coin. The true opposite of love is apathy or being neutral. There should be no emotional response at all when you routinely think of your ex. When we get into new relationships and emotion is still present from the past you are bringing the old partner into the new. Also, because you have not resolved the old, the new will be more of the same no matter how they seem at first.

The only way to have different patterns in our relationships is to clear the past. Clear mean “I can think of you and all the stuff you did and still be happy and free.” How long does this take? It depends on how quickly the person works and the depth of the relationship. It can take years! When I say that to people they reply, I am not waiting that long” to which I respond “why not?” If there is a burning desire to find a new person that is a clear indication of needy co-dependence at work.

Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC –

# 16. You are ready for a new relationship when you are not looking to replace your “ex”


Breaking up can be the most gut wrenching, mind blowing experience that a woman can experience. She often finds herself feeling undesirable and unworthy of love & companionship. Often many women are left with unanswered questions and will have to accept that they may never get the answers they so desperately seek. So when the opportunity to love again or engage in a deep, intimate friendship comes along their fears of being left with a broken heart, being let down or experiencing great disappointment; cause them to pause.

So the question remains

a. When is it okay to explore the possibilities and entertain the idea of a new relationship?

b. When is it okay to allow yourself the chance to love again?

c. When is it okay to allow yourself to act on your attraction to someone you find desirable?

d. And when do you allow yourself the opportunity to involve your heart with the heart of another?

The answers to these questions are simple, yet very complex.

You will know that you are ready to entertain the idea of a new relationship, love again, act on your attraction to another, or involve your heart with the heart of another if one or all three of the following occur:

1. When you think of your ex and no ill feelings arise

2. When you no longer have the urge to cry over the loss of the relationship and

3. When you no longer linger on the bad times and can remember the good times with fondness and laugh.

There is no real time limit or an “aha” moment. When the opportunity to love again or engage in a deep, intimate friendship arises and the “new person” is not being pursued (or allowing yourself to be pursued) to replace the “ex”, then and only then will you know that you are ready.

Wendy Whitmore, MS, LMFT –

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