When to Start Dating After a Breakup

If your relationship lasts through April Fools Day, you may be in the clear. Studies have shown that “uncuffing season,” or break-up season, happens between December and March, with peaks two weeks before Christmas and right after Valentine’s Day near spring break.

If you’re like me, you recently got dumped and are now in Phase 2 of my four defined phases of dating. Phases defined below:

  1. Phase 1: Not dating. Still cry over ex sometimes. Happy, single & free. Casual Bumble swiping. Almost dating.
  2. Phase 2: Go on first date. Actively pursue leads (flirty text messages, interactions, etc.). Make plans with people on dating apps.
  3. Phase 3: Go on multiple dates with same person or multiple people. Start to catch the feels.
  4. Phase 4: In there like swimwear. Phase out from the dating phases and into the relationship phases.

People are very opinionated about the appropriate time between a breakup and dating and how quickly you move through the phases. There’s this undefined balance between taking enough time to heal but not too long to appear devastated from the breakup. Regardless of what people think (and how social media ‘rules’ play in), you should take the pace that’s most comfortable for you and works best with your situation.

Post-breakup healing largely depends on a few factors: how long the relationship was, how intense the relationship was, and whether or not the breakup was your decision. I, like many millennials, threw myself into work after my December breakup. Even though dating work has been less emotionally taxing than dating long distance, I’ve found ways to get myself back on my feet in the treacherous dating world. Here’s several ways to explore the dating scene without nose-diving into a first date:

  • Dating Apps: Whether it’s Hinge, Bumble, or the League, these apps provide a good opportunity to scope out the options without committing to in-person meetups. About a month after my most recent breakup, I started swiping and chatting on Hinge, but I literally threw the phone when a guy actually asked me on a date. Take away? I wasn’t ready to date yet.
  • Join a social sports team: This has multiple positive outcomes–new friends, fun fitness, some healthy competition, and a great opportunity to casually interact with other single (and non-single) people. When signing up for a team, remember that the less physical the sport is, the more time to socialize.
  • Hit the club…or the bar: Many people, a.k.a all my friends, agree that a drink definitely takes the edge off of meeting new people, but alcohol shouldn’t have to be involved in dating. Whether you order a drink or not, going to bars with friends and interacting with other groups around you can be a segway into dates. Best move? Invite the cute single to mingle with you on the new sports team you just signed up for.
  • Facebook events: Scrolling Facebook events near you is a great way to find interesting opportunities and Challenge yourself to actually attend a few events a month and talk to new people. Whether it’s a charity event or a food truck festival, you’ll at least have mutual interests to talk about.

Bottom line is that you know yourself best, and you are entitled to your feelings. If you find yourself struggling more than you’d like with the breakup and moving on, there are professionals to help you with the process who have an outside, educated perspective of your transition.

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