Breaking up is hard to do, even if you know it’s the right thing to do. After a breakup, it can be hard to discern when to start dating again. What does ready look and feel like? Despite popular belief, there are no hard-and-fast rules about when you should start dating again after a breakup.
If you’re trying to figure out when to start dating after a breakup, here are five questions to ask yourself.
1. Are you in love with love?
If you like the idea of being in a relationship or don’t like being alone, give yourself some more time before jumping back into the dating pool. We all love feeling loved and wanted and cherished. We were made for these things! But if you’re craving that feeling so badly that you’ll put yourself in jeopardy (getting into a bad relationship, overlooking red flags, absolutely cannot function on your own) you might be in love with the feeling and not love.
Remember, God is the source and summit and perfection of all these things. If you find yourself craving this intimacy with someone so badly that you don’t care who you get it from, find love and intimacy with God first.
2. What kind of healing do you need?
If your breakup was fairly amicable and didn’t leave wounds, chances are you’re emotionally healthy enough to start dating again. However, if you were in a long-term relationship and were left at the altar, you probably need a lot of time to heal. If your partner was psychologically abusive, you need time to heal.
It’s okay to give yourself time to heal. Surround yourself with the support and resources for this season of healing. We don’t have to be perfect to be in relationships, but we should be healthy.
3. Why did your last relationship end?
If your relationship ended because of an addiction you’re battling, or because of issues with compulsive flirting or cheating, it’s good to take a break. Take time to sort yourself, your priorities, and your morals out. If it was because your partner did any of these things, you should still take some time to heal from those wounds. Use this break to learn how to spot red flags
before getting into a relationship.
Maybe you broke up because you and your ex had differing desires for life plans. If you broke up so that you could both move on, you’re probably good to go into dating again.
4. Would a new relationship mask old wounds?
Meeting a new person could challenge you to overcome selfishness and become a better person. Sometimes having that external motivator is what we need. A new relationship could include getting to know someone who challenges you to grow. If you meet someone who encourages you to become a better, holier person, that’s a great relationship to discern. Remember, there are no hard and fast rules about when you should date again after a breakup. Don’t let timing stand in your way.
However, sometimes being in a relationship allows us to hide from our hurts and pains instead of helping them resolve. If this new relationship is encouraging you to fall back into old patterns of behavior or confront internal issues, now is not a good time to date someone. If you’re searching for a “high” from dating someone new, that’s a good indicator that a break is a step in a healthy direction.
A breakup can leave you feeling vulnerable, alone, and isolated. If those feelings are symptoms of an underlying issue, you should take time to heal from those wounds.
5. Are you looking for a specific person or any person?
If you’re clear with the kind of relationship you’re looking for (while leaving room for God to surprise you!) getting into dating again is probably the right move. But if you’re just “shopping around” and have no idea what you’re looking for in a relationship, take some time to discern these things about yourself before getting back into dating.
People are not commodities and we shouldn’t treat each other as such. That person behind the screen is just as worthy and deserving of love and respect as you are. Don’t take advantage of others just to fill a void in your life.
Sometimes relationships come to an end, but those breakups (as hard as they are!) can be a chance for growth. In fact, a breakup is sometimes necessary. Saying “no” to a relationship that wasn’t working frees you to say “yes” to the relationship that will work. But before you say “yes” to the next relationship, make sure getting back into the dating pool is the right move before you do it. Making sure your intentions and deliberations are solid will ensure you swim instead of sink. Taking the above questions into consideration will help you move forward in a good and healthy way.
Are you ready to find your next relationship through Catholic Singles? We’re helping single Catholics connect through their shared interests and passions. We want to help you stop shopping and start discerning. Download our app today!