How to Start Dating After A Breakup

Romantic couple eating pizza and drinking beer in a pub

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If you've experienced a breakup, but have given yourself time to heal, you may feel ready to trust someone with your heart again. So, you’re looking for a romantic partner, but aren’t sure how to date again. How do you get back to navigating the dating world while protecting your mental and emotional health?

This article will explore the sorts of feelings you’ll likely have after a breakup, what to do before you start dating again, obstacles you might face in dating, how to begin meeting romantic prospects again, and what not to do on dates.

Common Feelings After a Breakup

In the aftermath of a breakup, you might be tempted to date for validation. Usually, that’s not a good idea. Find that point of acceptance and closure before it makes sense to seek out another romantic partner.

We’ve all been through painful breakups at one time or another. People commonly suffer from the following feelings and emotions when a relationship ends, especially if the split between a couple was contentious. These negative emotional states can impact your mental health:

It’s normal to feel these emotions at first. But it’s important to come to grips with the breakup and understand why it happened before you put yourself out there again.

In one study, scientists assessed the key aspects of romantic relationship breakups in emerging adults as predictors of future mental health and relationship functioning. Scientists enrolled young adults aged 20-25 in the study, with a breakup assessed at age 22. Short-term relationships are the norm during this period of young adulthood, but scientists wanted to determine the potential for growth following these early dissolutions.

Those participants who had a better understanding of the reasons behind the breakup had lower symptoms of anxiety and depression, decreased rates of romantic-based conflicts as reported by their future partners and increased satisfaction about their future relationships. They also had increased competence about intimate relationship at ages 23-25 according to their peers.

What to Do Before You Date Again

Rather than jump headfirst into a new relationship, it helps to learn the lessons and patterns of your past relationship.

So, slow down and check to see if you’re truly ready. If you’re seeking a mature relationship filled with love and intimacy, take steps to ensure you’re on the path to healing after a breakup:

  • Grieve the loss.
  • Don’t rush the journey.
  • Let go of your pain
  • Spend time reflecting
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Be accountable for your role in the dissolution
  • Read self-help books, speak to family and friends or consult a psychologist

By taking these steps, you’re more likely to make meaning out of your pain. You’ll also learn more about how you might’ve contributed to the end of the relationship. Taking responsibility for your part in contributing to the split while treating yourself kindly will enhance your future relationships.

According to a comprehensive research project (that included three studies), self-compassion promoted a more positive adjustment for people who owned their part in a romantic breakup.

People who had self-compassion and realized how their role in the relationship’s demise had a better romantic outlook, more motivation for self-improvement and greater future partner appreciation The positive adjustment occurred even while controlling for variables that commonly affect romantic breakup adjustments like self-esteem levels and attachment styles.

Obstacles to Dating Again

Our path to healing can be impeded by obstacles. Sometimes we’re not even aware that we have hindered our own progress. Here are situations to be aware of:

  • It’s obviously going to be difficult to date again if you’re feeling hopeless. Try arguing a different point of view.
  • Negative self-talk can also be destructive so change that inner dialogue to a neutral or realistic one. Or maybe even an optimistic dialogue.
  • Dating again may not be easy if you have jitters and dating anxiety. Practice self-love and relaxation techniques to mitigate your anxiety.
  • If you’re dating again after a divorce, you’ll need to consider if all matters have been settled, if the divorce was recently issued, whether you’re still hoping to reconcile with your ex-husband and the impact your dating might have on your children.

How to Meet Romantic Prospects

So, you’re ready to put yourself out there? Congratulations! Here are methods that will assist you in meeting new prospects.

Get the Basics Down

Follow these important initial steps to getting back into the dating pool:

Employ Mindfulness

When you stop multi-tasking and are living in the moment, you’re living mindfully. Look in someone’s eyes when they speak—this is an example of being mindful. Here are some other benefits:

Be Genuine

Rather than be who you think the other person wants, don’t hide your quirks. Be who you really are and you’re more likely to find the right person for a relationship.

What Not to Do on Dates

You already have the guidelines on what will work, now for the things to avoid when you jump back into the dating pool. Though you might swear you’ve met the one, it’s better to give it time.

  • Don’t discuss your ex or the breakup. No need to reveal too much too soon.
  • Don’t compare the new prospect with your former partner
  • Don’t rush the relationship building
  • Don’t settle for rebound relationships

It’s normal for humans to bond with others. For emotional wellness, wait until you’re ready for a strong emotional connection with a future partner. Choose wisely and you’re on your way to a new, healthy relationship.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kansky J, Allen JP. Making Sense and Moving On: The Potential for Individual and Interpersonal Growth Following Emerging Adult BreakupsEmerg Adulthood. 2018;6(3):172-190. doi:10.1177/2167696817711766

  2. Zhang JW, Chen S. Self-compassion promotes positive adjustment for people who attribute responsibility of a romantic breakup to themselves. Self and Identity. 2017;16(6):732-759.

By Barbara Field
Barbara is a writer and speaker who is passionate about mental health, overall wellness, and women's issues.