It is really tough to have to deal with all the aftermath following a bitter separation or breakup with a husband or wife (boyfriend or girlfriend).
As things unfold and the marriage unravels, it can be equally challenging to recover from the rough and tumble actions that occurred during the divorce process with your ex husband or ex-wife.
And when it is finally all over (or so you think) these painful memories have a way of sticking around, mixing in with the good recollections and coloring your perspective of what is was like with your husband or wife.
This can create a state of listlessness, depression, and uncertainty as to how to move forward in your life.
But you know in your heart you want your life to go forward. So this raises the practical question of when you should start dating again after you have broken up with your ex.
Should your start dating again after the separation?
Should you wait until the divorce is final?
That is what Bessie wanted to know when she asked me, “Chris, we are officially separated and I think I want to date again, should I?
It seems such an innocent question.
Certainly the answer should be clear and straightforward.
But this whole matter of how to proceed with resuming your life and what that really means regarding your dating habits is vastly more complicated than most people realize.
Dating During the After Breakup (or Separation) Period
It helps to have perspective.
In the midst of these internal deliberations about dating, you are still likely facing other post breakup or post divorce challenges. It’s difficult to manage all of your complex emotions and the unique pressures when love has gone south and you and your ex are split apart.
Being coupled with another human being makes most of us feel whole. Take that away and it will feel like something is now missing in your life.
How do you become whole again after a part of your heart and soul has been ripped away.
For sake of sparing all of the extra personal pronouns, let’s assume we are talking about a women’s journey after her breakup with a husband or boyfriend.
Don’t be surprised if you feel lost or if your mind becomes trapped in uncertainty.
Don’t be surprised if you feel yourself wandering back (in your mind) to the old relationship, running through all the things that happened.
There will likely be many things you will try to grapple with. Part of the reason for this kind of thinking is that what you went through was traumatic.
To a large extent, recalling your struggles with your ex husband can be difficult to avoid. You might also struggle with who you really are and what you should do with yourself.
So it is never easy to leave behind the pain of a failed marriage or relationship. With things ending on sour note, as is the case for most, there comes all kinds of challenges as you try to cope with unpredictable moods and expectations of the future.
So something has to change if you find yourself immersed in all of these kinds of negative thoughts. To be made whole again, something needs to change with the way you view yourself and the world around you.
It wouldn’t be surprising if you have a healthy dose of distrust for men in general, particularly if you have gone through a very difficult separation or breakup.
So what kind of change are we talking about?
Part of that change can revolve around when you will allow another man back in your life.
Like most women and men, you are probably wondering when you will be ready to date again.
You may be thinking if you will ever be ready to trust again. The hardships you have suffered with your husband might still echo in your every memory.
A lot of women have asked me about this dilemma as to when to entertain another relationship.
They want to know more about how and when should they actively pursue a dating strategy.
So this post will be tailored to the ladies as I have already mentioned.
But don’t forget guys, if you are trying to bounce back after a breakup or divorce and are trying to figure out your next moves, you will find plenty of advice here for you too.
Turning The Corner on Love
The feelings you are probably still massaging about future love and overcoming past difficulties are no doubt complex.
Knowing when it is time to get back in the game….to put yourself out there realizing there will be risk…is an important consideration. And the answer is not the same for all.
I am not going to beat around the bush. If you have gone through an agonizingly difficult separation with your ex husband or ex boyfriend, the very thought of dating a man will likely be far from your present thoughts.
The reason is obvious. You have come through a traumatic breakup and in your mind or perhaps lying inside your subconscious, men may very well represent the enemy.
It does sound awful because it is awful what you have gone through. Splitting up with your husband or boyfriend of years is painful and tests you in so many ways.
Nevertheless, it is important not to let one man who hurt you and failed you, making you feel miserable.
Don’t become a victim of constant negative thoughts. Your emotional mind, which has in part been injured from the breakup, will try to drag you through a period you just as soon as would like to forget.
Part of that is the chemicals speaking. But part of it is under your control.
So it is best not to let your ex husband or boyfriend poison your view of all men.
There comes a time when you need to turn the corner and get back out there.
And that is the question, isn’t it?
When and how should you start dating again after a long relationship. Because after all, you probably wouldn’t be trying to get answers about this topic unless you had been involved in a long term relationship that went wrong.
Dating A Man Again Can Be Scary
It can be frightening when all that we know in terms of dating is long in the past.
Giving another man a key to our heart can be scarey.
The very thought of how one should proceed can create anxiousness and uncertainty.
Should one go slow after a breakup?
After all, you have been through the ringer in dealing with all kinds of crap, right? One part of you is thinking it would be folly to rush right back out there in any kind of serious way.
You sure don’t want to make the same mistakes you did before in not finding a guy who is more compatible with your needs, desires, and values.
But somewhere in the back of our mind there might exist this little persistent thought that you will be alone the rest of your life.
It might start picking at you in such ways that part of you begins to believe it could come true. You don’t want to face the rest of your life all by yourself, you say to yourself.
So what do some women do when facing such thoughts?
You pump yourself up.
You tell yourself that your ex husband was just a bad egg and certainly you can do better.
You look around and see all of the ways you can now connect with men. Social media has made it much more possible for men and women to meet and get to know each other.
Sure, you say to yourself, there are some bad guys out there. Some predators that are just looking for sex. But you know in your heart that there must be some good men out there looking for the right woman for themselves.
And you wouldn’t be wrong if you thought that way. Because just as there are some undesirable or poorly suited men out there chasing after a temporary catch; there are men who have the right goods to be a good match for what you need.
So should one get back on the saddle as quickly as possible and start dating immediately after a breakup?
Just how soon is too soon to start dating after you and your husband break it off?
Let’s hear from a few women that weighed in on this topic. They too had similar questions. As you will see, how they should proceed largely depends on their particular experience and needs.
Hey Chris! Do have a guide-book on something like dating rules after a breakup. You know, something that covers things like how long should you be single after a breakup. I just ended a bad relationship with a messed up guy. We talked about getting married and got close. But he was too controlling and unreliable and that led to a lot of fights. Its been about three weeks since we broke up. I think I want to test the waters. How long after a long-term relationship should you wait to date?
Is there a rule of thumb about how long to wait after a breakup to start getting to know some other men? By the way, I really don’t know what the rules are for dating after going through a bad relationship. Should I even think of how to date after divorce at 30. One of my girlfriends told me dating after divorce at 40 is the sweet spot, but I am not really sure I can wait that long.
Hey, I just need a little dating advice after my divorce. What you need to do Chris is write an article on dating rules after divorce for today’s woman. So much has changed about how one can meet up with a man. The last thing I want to do is start dating too soon after the divorce. I am afraid I would blow up the whole thing because I am not sure I am ready for the whole dating scene. I go back and forth on what I think I want.
As you can see, a lot of women are plagued with doubt on how to proceed. Depending on their situation, they may have been burned badly by their husband or boyfriend and they don’t want that feeling again.
So if you are a woman who is trying to bounce back from a failed marriage or are coming off a really bad breakup with your boyfriend and are seeking some advice on how you should proceed, let’s start first with how long you should wait before you put yourself out there again.
How Soon is too Soon To Start Dating After You Breakup With Your Husband
Some people think the sooner you start dating again, the better.
They argue that it’s like getting back on the horse that bucked you off. If you hesitate or delay, they explain, it will only lead to avoidance and that leaves you lonely.
People who argue this point believe that women need to be with a man to be complete and they reason that the sooner you start dating other men, the faster you will realize realize that the guy you were married to was not the right man for you.
So with this kind of thinking, you would be encouraged to set up dates rather quickly after your breakup. The more the better would be their preference because after all, how will you really get to know yourself and what the field of men are like out there. This is how some people see it.
I don’t belive that. In fact, I think that is terrible advice for most people. I take the opposite view.
Now, I am not arguing that you should go to the nearest convent and sign up. I just think it is practical for most women who have suffered through a difficult relationship not to move too fast.
So if what I say is true, then how can you tell when you are moving too fast to get back into the dating game?
The Top 5 Signs You Are Dating To Soon
- It’s only been three weeks since you separated with your husband and one of your girlfriends keeps egging you on to go out with her on a double date. She says it will be great for you. But you can help but think you are rolling the dice. Thoughts of being with a man makes you anxious.
- You hear that your husband, who you are separated from, is going out with one of your girlfriends. You are furious. To show him two can play at this game, you contact a mutual male friend to set up a date. Now you are going to get even, you think. But when all the game playing is done, you just feel more empty.
- You and your husband’s divorce finally came through. You are feeling vulnerable and sad about it all. You figure, the best way to change your mood is go out and have a few drinks with a male friend. One thing leads to another and now you are in bed having sex with a guy you really don’t want to be with.
- All you can think about is teaching your ex a lesson. You are filled with desire to set up a lot of dates and make sure he hears about every one of them. Your revenge plan is to post a lot of suggestive things on Facebook, hoping your ex notices and regrets he ever let you go. (Big mistake)
- You have no clue how to meet up with a man. So you buy a book on how to pick up men. It tells you one tactic is to put on some sexy clothes and visit a nearby bar and show some skin and shake you booty. Later you go home, empty handed, drunk, and feeling miserable. (Consider yourself lucky you didn’t pick up anyone.)
Go Slow With Dating After a Breakup or Divorce
So let’s talk about how you should start dating again after a long relationship such as you may have had with you ex husband or a long-term boyfriend.
There are many pitfalls in moving too fast. Emotionally, you may not even be close to dealing with the whole dating scene.
So how long should you wait before you dip your toe into the waters? A few weeks….a month…..a year?
The truth is that there is not a prescribed set amount of time that is right for everyone. It will vary on many factors including how long your previous relationship lasted, the factors leading up to the breakup, your interpersonal style, and your specific personal needs.
You can’t imagine how often women will ask me when they should start-up dating again. They will press me for a more specific timeline as if I have the ultimate answer. There is really no such thing as the ultimate answer. I tell them that, but women and men usually want some guidance.
So here is my guidance.
At a minimum, waiting at least a few weeks is what I would characterize as an inoculation period.
It allows you some time to get in touch with your feelings. But there may be cases in which a woman who is coming off a bitter breakup, separation or divorce is still struggling with the whole ordeal.
Maybe she is still dealing with emotional damage inflicted upon her. Perhaps she has not healed enough to really be ready to trust again.
She may be struggling with whether she will find love again. Or perhaps the previous relationship was lengthy and there still remains emotional ties that has not yet been full resolved.
So it would not be out of the question for such an individual to need 3-6 months to get her life back in order.
A lot can go wrong if you rush right back into serious dating. I suppose there are occassions in which you may want to casually date someone, such as going out with a mutual friend just for his company and to enjoy something together. There is nothing wrong with that.
The kind of dating I am talking about is where you are exploring if there might exist a real connection. In other words, you are seeking a romantic attachment.
OK, so I guess I have opened up a can of worms.
So let’s make sure we are talking about the same thing.
When I say “dating”, I am not referring to going out with a group of men and women and you happen to chat it up with a guy.
Dating can mean a lot of things to people, but at its core it involves a clear desire to meet up with a guy with the purpose of exploring whether you and he may be compatible, longterm partners.
This can be a one on one type of experience or it could start off in a small group such as a double date. But there is a clear intent by both parties to explore each other….to see if there is a potential fit to warrant further exploration.
A serious dater is one who is emotionally prepared to form a new attachment.
But once again, don’t be in a real hury until you feel you are ready. If it’s just a casual get together, that is fine, so long as both you and the guy are on the same wavelength.
On this point, remember this….
If you are getting over a very longterm relationship, you will go through a sort of mourning stage. So it’s OK not to pursue the dating scene. Get connected to your feelings and listen to them.
Rushing right out to meet some new guy is something you likely will have little desire for.
So if others around you are encouraging or pressuring you to go out and meet some new men, it would be best to ignore their pleas and make sure you have taken sufficient time to heal.
Learn How To Date Yourself
One way to take things slowly with regard to dating is to first learn to date yourself.
Find the light that is shining in your soul.
As I have mentioned, everyone who has gone through some kind of breakup has experienced undeniable pain. So allowing yourself time to heal and do the things to regain your self-esteem, confidence, or whatever it is that you may be struggling with is important.
A while back, I interviewed a very special lady who was an expert in the recovery stage following a breakup. One of the things she said which can help speed along the recovery process is to learn first to date yourself.
She believed that sometimes we need to learn to not just forgive ourselves for whatever role we may had played in a failed marriage, but we need to go further and lift ourselves up.
Her believe is what better way of accomplishing that than doing things for yourself. Taking yourself out on dates and becoming one with yourself.
That was the great lesson in her wise advice. Seek to heal and complete yourself first. Find those things in yourself you like and honor them. Be your own best friend. And treat yourself to the special things you would want a man to do for you.
It is like a self fulfilling prophecy.
And through it all, you end up drawing closer to the best version of yourself. As you become more attractive to yourself, others will be more drawn to you.
In effect, you become like a magnet because you are happy and comfortable with who you are and all of that shines through. It’s like having a love affair with yourself, without all of the selfishness or narcissism.
What often happens is you will meet a guy you become interested in when you are not even looking to date. You can go look for the latest article such as, 10 Steps to Get Back Into Dating After a Breakup or Divorce, and I am sure you will pick up a few ideas.
Certainly, there are things you can do to increase you chances of meeting and interacting with men.
But it is uncanny how you often end up coming across a man who is well suited for your needs and preferences when you are not even actively pursuing.