How to Tell when You're Ready to Date Again

Gena Kaufman, Glamour magazine

Once you've hashed it out with your main relationship lifeline, cried sufficiently, and spent some time holed up licking your emotional wounds after ending a relationship, it's time to move on. But do you ever really feel ready?

After my last break up, I wanted nothing to do with dating. I had a few flings here and there, but the idea of actually meeting people and trying to develop a relationship basically made me want to crawl in a hole and hibernate for winter. Which is pretty much what I did. But even about a month ago when I finally started going on real dates, I felt unsure of whether I was ready. And by "unsure of whether I was ready" I mean "like I wanted to throw up a little before every date." But really, the timing was right.

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Nerves and hesitation are to be expected, so you might always have to talk yourself into getting back in the dating world at least a little bit. But, here are a few things that might indicate you really are ready.

You want to do it for you, NOT so that your ex will be jealous.
I mean, look, when I tell my dating stories all over the internet, do I still kind of hope my ex gets jealous when he reads them? I sure do. I'm only human ladies. BUT, it's not my primary motivation. I've made a lot of changes in my life, and I'm ready to move forward on the personal front too. If you're only hoping your ex will find out through the grapevine, you're doing it for the wrong reasons (not to mention being kind of unfair to the guys you're dating).

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You aren't doing it just for a confidence boost.
After a break up, it can be tempting to want to go out, look hot, and have guys fawn over you to get you feeling good again. Totally fine. But if you're just looking for a confidence boost, you're not ready to start really dating again. Because actual dating can be pretty hard on the ego, and you may not be ready to withstand the blows of it just yet. Stick to letting the occasional hottie buy you a drink at the bar until you're really feeling back to your usual confident self.

You want to, but you don't need to.
If you feel like you must put yourself back out there immediately because you are just wasting time every day, you are suffering from what I might call Breakup Desperation. I felt that way after ending a long relationship: like I'd wasted so much time and needed to start moving on immediately (but couldn't due to all the embarrassing crying). You don't want to try to make connections with people in that state of mind. You should feel like falling in love would add something pleasant to your already happy life, but not like you will smash your head against a wall if this new relationship doesn't work out.

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Are you feeling those three things? Go forth and date, my friends.

How did you know when you were ready to move on after your last break up? Have you ever pushed yourself to start dating again too quickly?

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