Five tips for getting back into dating after a rough breakup
Your heart is crushed and your hope is in tatters, but deep down, you know you want to get back out there.
Dating after a bad breakup isn’t easy. It takes guts – and the strength to get up off the sofa and make an effort when all you want to do is wallow.
Once you’ve made the call to get back on the horse… what next?
It’s important to go slow, make sure you’re truly ready, and look after yourself on an emotional level.
Relationship expert James Thomas shares his five tips for returning to the world of dating post-breakup without ending up right back on that sofa, wishing you’d never re-downloaded Tinder.
Don’t start dating immediately
You know that saying: ‘the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else’?
It makes sense in theory, but if you force yourself to dive right back into dating without taking a moment to heal, this is a doomed mission.
Check in with yourself and ask that key question: am I really ready to get into talking stages and first dates again? Or am I rushing myself?
‘It’s crucial to check if you are willing and your heart has been truly healed to handle the pitfalls of dating,’ says James. ‘If you still think to text your ex or reach for old memories when you are intoxicated, you might not be ready.
‘Being single is a great opportunity to do things for yourself. Dating will always feel scary, but you’ll know in yourself when you are genuinely ready to step back into it.‘
Don’t make it all about your ex
Some things to avoid:
- Searching for a carbon copy of the person who broke your heart
- Looking for the antithesis of the person who broke your heart, even though that’s not your type at all
- Dating for the sole purpose of ‘showing’ your ex you’re over them and moving on
- Texting your ex for comfort after a rubbish date
- Texting your ex to gloat after a great date
‘Dating again is its own event, no matter how attached to the past you might be,’ says James. ‘This is the same for comparison, it has no value and will end up causing pain to the other people involved. Relating it back to your ex won’t give you the satisfaction you think it would and will hold you back from officially moving on.‘
Get to know what you want
Remember how we said to take a moment to heal and reflect before you go straight back to seeing other people? That really is key.
Use that time to work out what you want – and definitely don’t want – from romance.
James recommends being honest about your intentions, too.
‘Think about what you want from the date, without any judgement on yourself,’ he notes.
‘Sometimes you just might want to have sex, as your ex was the last. Or maybe you need a confidence boost and want to practice your flirt game. There is no right or wrong answer here but being honest with yourself will make it easier.
‘Approaching the date knowing what your intentions are is also respectful to the other person. Being honest from the start about where you are emotionally will remove any miscommunication about the relationship’s future.‘
Have realistic expectations
We’re sorry to say that you probably won’t meet your perfect match the first time you get swiping.
You’re going to go on some not-so-perfect dates. You’re going to meet people who just aren’t right.
Rather than pinning all your hopes on everything going brilliantly, it’s worth viewing dating as a fun adventure.
James says: ‘While it’s important to have a positive mindset, it’s not good to have unrealistic expectations.
‘Expecting to find the one right away can prevent you from living in the moment.
‘Even though you want to avoid ever dealing with another breakup, finding the right partner takes time and patience.
‘Take the time to go on a few dates, find out new things about yourself and enjoy being single.‘
Take your time
Notice a theme? Don’t rush.
‘If you tend to go from one relationship to another, it’s important to take things slow after a breakup,’ says James. ‘Don’t feel pressured to set up dates or take a relationship too far if you are not 100%.
‘Take your own time, you don’t owe anything to anyone new you meet if you are honest and communicative.‘
James Thomas is a dating and relationship expert at Condoms.uk.
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