5 Signs You're Not Ready to Start Dating Again After a Divorce or Breakup

You just got rid of Mr. Wrong and you've put out the Bat Signal calling Mr. Right. Sexy Instagram thirst trap set, Tinder profile perfected, and ... WAIT! Before you hit "send" or start flirting, let's think this through one last time. Are you missing any major signs that you're not actually ready to start dating again?

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1. You're still stewing over your past relationship. Do you bring up your ex every time you get together with friends? Are you still stuck at feeling betrayed? How many times a day do you catch yourself thinking about him, or your breakup?

"That stuff needs to get worked out before you put the welcome mat out in front of your heart again," says couples therapist Dr. Ramani Durvasula. Otherwise you're setting yourself up for a string of unresolved, failed relationships -- the kind that could turn you off of love eventually.

2. Your heart still hurts. Or maybe you're still getting those white-hot flashes of fury, or you're still waking up depressed. Whatever it is, if you're still feeling strong emotions about your ex, you haven't healed enough to move on yet.

"Your priority at this time needs to be you," Dr. Durvasula says. She recommends "therapy, exercise, self-care, time with friends and loved ones," before dating again.

More from The Stir: 10 Things Every Divorced Woman Should Do Before Starting to Date Again

3. Your ex has someone new so ... So what? Dating out of revenge or to keep up with your ex is going to bite you in the you-know-what. Maybe he moved on too quickly. Maybe he's ready. That has nothing to do with you, even if it hurts.

"Dating to 'show him' -- it never works," Dr. Durvasula says. "It feels inauthentic and often results in regret and disappointment." Ignore your ex's love life and you do you.

4. You know a few rebound hookups would feel so good. Dr. Durvasula admits that sometimes a rebound date can distract you from your heartache. "However, rebounds are often not our A games and can sometimes feel distracted and unsatisfying."

She recommends waiting at least four to six weeks after a major breakup (longer after a divorce) to truly grieve and process. Then you'll be in better shape to give your next relationship your best self.

5. Your kids are still reeling from your divorce. If your children are having a hard time, that's a clear sign that you may need to slow down. "It may not mean that you can't date," Dr. Durvasula says, "but you sure as heck do not want to engage them in this."

At the least, don't tell them that you're dating. But maybe this also means they need more of your time and attention before you start directing that energy outside your home. 

A few other super-wrong reasons to get out there again:

  • You're bored.
  • Everyone else you know is in a relationship.
  • Friends or family are pressuring you.

Stay strong! And remember, the "good ones" are not going out of stock. Dating is not a clearance sale. You need to be your best self to recognize who will make a good partner and to then give that relationship all you have. That is definitely worth the wait.

 ready to date again

Image via antoniodiaz/shutterstock

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