Are You Ready to Date Again?: 6 Ways to Find Out
by Lindsay Kriger
After a break up, it can be extremely tempting to start dating right away. Sunday nights seem excruciatingly silent, loneliness starts to creep in, and there are only so many episodes of The Carrie Diaries that you can watch without wanting to cry of boredom. Plus, you have the pressure from friends and family—aka your mother. She has this great guy for you. You would be an idiot not to go on a date with him. Of course you can’t remember the last time you felt like an idiot not doing something your mother told you to do, but hey- you are in vulnerable state right now.
While your mother might feel like the problem at the moment—the real problem is your vulnerable state.
After a break up we humans are rarely in our best emotional condition. Whether we are the dumpee or the dumper, break ups leave a huge void to be filled, disappointments to be dealt with and a heart that needs time to heal.
When we’re not our best selves, we don’t attract our best potential partners. Even if we are lucky enough to meet someone fabulous, we will have trouble keeping them because we aren’t truly ready to be with them.
In order to avoid beating yourself up for dating and relationship mishaps – take the time to figure out if you’re really ready to be dating. Here’s a list to help answer the question: How do I know if you’re dating too soon?
1. Your living space is a mess
You can tell a lot about yourself by the state of your living space. Our inner order (or disorder) seeks to be mirrored by our outer world. Meaning, if you are feeling angry, overwhelmed or confused you will likely find that things are out of place or your apartment is a big ‘ol mess. Take some time to clean up and get reorganized in both your physical and mental space.
2. Your needy not want-y
When you’re confident in what you have to offer others and you’re feeling emotionally nourished, you’re not needy, you’re want-y. You want someone who’s right for you but you don’t need someone to feel right about yourself. This is the most attractive place to date from. After a break up it’s natural to crave the intimacy and security that you lost. Instead of looking for that security in someone else, take the time to nurture yourself.
3. You can’t reciprocate someone’s kindness
Of course you want to be the same kind, loving, generous person that you were with your boyfriend— but you just might not be ready to be.
I’ve had personal experience with this. I dated a guy what felt like minutes after a break up and surprise surprise he later told me that I was mean to him. At first I blamed it all on him. It took me some time and a conversation with a wise friend of mine to own up to my part. While it’s hard to admit, I wasn’t so nice– I rejected multiple offers to see him; instead of being endearing I was snarky; I tested him about anything and everything; and I was bratty. The truth: I was in no place to be dating.
The long story short: It’s best to wait until you can show up as your kind, generous, grounded self before you re-enter the dating world. It’s not a rush to couple back up. The right person will still be there when you’re ready.
4. You’re schedule is too busy to fit in a date
We make time for the things that are important to us. If you find that you’re always too busy to meet up for a drink or dinner— you are probably not ready to make room in your life for someone new. This is not a bad thing. Simply let dating prospects know that you’re not ready to date just yet.
5. You’re still talking to your ex
When you’re still talking to an ex regularly you aren’t leaving open space for someone new to come into your life. Even though it’s difficult and scary we really must close one door before we can walk through another. Elizabeth Lesser said it well when she said, “In order to let something new live, we have to let something old die.”
6. You are still telling your love gone wrong story
When you repeat your story you keep it alive. Plus, by retelling your story over and over (and over) again you keep yourself stuck, staring at the flickering flame of the past- rather than looking forward to the radiant, nutrient laden light of growth. Meaning, by not stopping the re-telling of your relationship woes – you are stopping yourself from forming a new, far more exciting identity- as the evolved woman you became without your ex in your life.
Clinging on to an old relationship is like carrying a bag that is too heavy to walk with.
Fact: If you want to move forward into something new, you absolutely must get rid of your heavy, outdated bag that is weighing you down.
It’s like this: Imagine yourself walking down the street and carrying a giant bag. In it you have your computer, your wallet, your checkbook, your hair brush, your sneakers, a change of clothes, your ipod, a textbook for each class. In fact, you even have textbooks from all of your classes from the year before. I ask you: Would you even be able to walk more than a block? Doubtful. Now imagine you are done with school. You graduated. It’s summertime. And you are still walking around with this bag. By now you are exhausted. You have back problems. But you will not let go of that bag.
Are you starting to see how carrying your heavy, outdated bag won’t serve you?
If any of the things on my list sounds like you- take the time to go through your bag. Although it might be painful to go through your heavy bag and see what’s in it, it’s worth it. You must empty out your bag to make room for the new to come in. Or to improve upon my metaphor… After you go through your bag and make sure you no longer need anything inside it, you should just dump it and get a whole new bag! ! In fact, when you’re ready, you’ll be super glad when you do swap it in for something new.
Lindsay Kriger is a relationship & self-love expert, coach, author and blogger. She helps women get in to good relationships by getting into good relationships with themselves first.