How Soon Is Too Soon to Start Dating After a Breakup?
If you’ve been through a breakup recently, you may be wondering when you should start dating again.
First things first, if you’re recovering from a breakup, know that I’m praying for you. Even when you’ve made what you believe was the right decision for you and the other person in the relationship, no one ever wants to feel like they weren’t chosen. But I promise, reader, that the Lord still has big things in store for your life.
A breakup, regardless of the length of relationship, can be a devastating blow to our confidence, both in ourselves and sometimes in God’s plan. Even a relationship expert can’t give you a direct answer about when it’s time to get back out there and start dating after a breakup. As I’d love to tell you that there’s a magical number of weeks, months, or years that you should wait before getting into the dating scene after a breakup, that’s simply not the case.
Each situation requires intentional discernment and time spent in prayer. To help you out, here are a few reflection questions to guide you to an answer.
Take these five questions to prayer, and pay attention to how your heart responds. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
How do I feel today?
At the most basic level, take your own emotional temperature. As a culture, we’re really good at pretending we’re okay when friends and family ask us how we’re doing after a breakup. This is especially true in situations when mourning come into play.
After a sad event, the people around us who initially gathered in support may begin to go back to their daily routines. That can leave us feeling alone. So we try to pretend like we’re back in our routines, too, and push the hurt away.
A breakup is a lot to sort through emotionally. If you’re transitioning back to being single after a long-term relationship, that’s even more true. It’s okay to still feel hurt, and it’s okay to admit that you’re still experiencing emotional pain. You don’t need to let sadness call the shots in your life. But don’t feel like you need to say you’re alright if you’re not.
Am I doing this for me?
Don’t start dating because someone has suggested that you need to go on a few dates in order to get over someone.
Friends and family can mean well, but that’s just bad advice.
People aren’t pawns. We can’t use the affections of someone else in any capacity to try to mend the brokenness in our hearts. Only the Lord can do that. Invite him into the broken places and spend time with him before anyone else.
A new partner isn’t going to heal the hurt you’re experiencing. Only the Lord can heal those wounds.
Am I truly open?
Take some time to evaluate how you feel about meeting someone new. Can you picture a future apart of your past relationship?
If the prospect of going out on a date or talking with someone new fills you with dread or sadness—or if you can’t see a future outside the one you’d planned, then wait a little while.
But if the idea of sitting across from someone new and hearing new stories seems thrilling and joyful, it’s a great time to jump in!
What story would I share on a date?
I know this seems like a weird question, but hear me out. If you’re coming out of a relationship, the person most on your mind will be your ex. So if you go on a date, is the first thought you’ll want to share be about him or her? If so, you’re probably not quite ready to hit the dating scene.
When the first thing that pops into your head is the funny thing from work the other day, or your best vacation with your family, then you may be on the right track.
A desire to share all the details about your former partner and past relationship on a first date isn’t healthy. Instead, try these conversation starters.
Am I happy alone?
While it might seem counter-intuitive to use your happiness as a single person as an indicator that you’re ready to date, it may actually be the most powerful one.
First, when you’re happy to be on your own, and you feel fulfilled by yourself, then what you’re looking for on a date will be something real and stable—not just a stand in for the empty space you now have at your side.
And secondly, the more confident you are alone, and the better you know yourself, the more success you’ll have in a relationship and in dating overall. The better you know who you are, the better you know what you want.
Realizing you’re not ready?
Each person processes through breakups differently. If you read through these questions and realized you’re definitely not ready to start dating again, that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to take time to heal.
Continue to take your pain to the Lord in prayer. A great prayer to pray during this time of emotional pain is from Saint Dwynwen. This saint is credited as the patroness of broken hearts, and this novena is a beautiful nine day prayer where you can seek comfort and clarity after a breakup.
Dwynwen isn’t a well-known saint, and she was canonized pre-congregation. There is some mystery about her, we’ve found some other reputable Catholic resources who reverence Dwynwen and call on her intercession.
Ready to start dating after a breakup?
If you read through these questions and discerned that you’re ready to give dating a try again, we’re here to help. Catholic Singles is a relationship expert when it comes to online dating. After all, we’ve been at this since 1997.
Online dating can help you expand your dating pool, and creating an online dating profile could be the first step towards a new long-term relationship. If you’re ready to start dating, we can help you create a dating profile today!
Erin is a Catholic writer living on the windy plains of Kansas. She loves reading, dark chocolate, sunflowers, and learning to cook.