Ready to date

5 signs that you’re ready to date again

by Charly Lester - September 24, 2016

After a break-up you might be keen to start dating again as soon as possible, but how soon is too soon? Charly Lester shares the surefire signs that you’re ready to date again.

It’s the age-old question: you’ve found yourself single again and the world is telling you to get back into the dating game – but when’s the right time to start dating again?

The simplest answer is that there’s no set point. Some people end up in new relationships within days while others have to spend the same amount of time single as they spent in their last relationship to properly get over their ex.

Even so, if you have come out of a relationship recently, here are a few signs that you might be ready to start dating again:

1. You’ve stopped waking up and having to remind yourself you’re single

This may sound dramatic, but sometimes a break-up can feel like a bereavement. Someone who was really important to you has left your life completely. If you’ve been in a long-term relationship or a marriage, then it can take a long time to adjust to waking up alone again. Give yourself time to get to a point where the sign of an empty pillow on the other side of the bed doesn’t make you want to cry!

2. Songs are just songs

Our brains do funny things to us when we come out of a relationship. Suddenly everything seems to hold a memory, from the mug he chipped and the top she bought you to the song that was playing when you danced together at that wedding. It can be particularly hard to escape the memories if you’re still living in the flat or house that you shared with your partner, or if no other aspects of your life have changed recently. Let your brain process it. Ride out the memories and eventually your subconscious will stop seeking connections. Songs will become just songs again; clothes will become just clothes, and if all else fails, you can always just throw anything that’s too painful to look at in the bin!

3. You start noticing other people

If you were in a long-term relationship, chances are it’s been a long time since you looked at people of the opposite sex with real lust. Yes, we all dribble over Hollywood actors, regardless of our relationship status, but when you’re coupled up you switch off your internal search engine. It can take a while for your brain to get used to looking at people as potential partners again, but when it does, embrace it! You’re single! You can look at a complete stranger, find them attractive and not feel remotely guilty

4. You start voluntarily getting rid of stuff

When you first come out of a relationship, particularly if the decision to end things wasn’t yours, it can be tempting to hold onto things. You end up keeping phones and messages on your phone, holding onto keepsakes and presents, and preserving every email and letter. Eventually those things just hold you back but, the thing is, only you can make the decision to get rid of them. Once you get to a point where you realise you don’t want those photos on your phone or that teddy bear on your bookshelf, you’ll know you’ve moved on and you’re ready to build new memories with someone else.

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5. You actively seek out opportunities

When you come out of a relationship; your friends will often rally round and try to encourage you to get straight ‘back into the game’. And while they have the best of intentions, that’s probably the last thing you want to do! Take steps at your own pace and don’t rush into something, just because a friend is trying to encourage you. Be honest with yourself; if the idea of going for dinner with anyone who isn’t your ex makes you feel queasy, then give yourself more time. Dating is meant to be fun – it shouldn’t be a chore. And if you do rush yourself, and end up on a date where all you’re doing is mourning your ex, you’re not being fair to the person that you’re on a date with! Wait until you want to start looking again, and when you do realise you want to meet someone new, make the most of the experience and get back out there.

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