Breakups are never easy. What makes things even harder is getting the timeline right for moving on and eventually starting to date someone new. Everyone around you will give you some kind of idea on a timeline — from days and weeks, to months and even years — but the fact is that it does differ from person to person.
In today’s blog, we’re going to try and explain, using different scenarios and examples, what is a good amount of time after a breakup to wait before restarting your dating life. We hope that if you’re struggling to deal with a difficult split, this will prove an invaluable guide for getting yourself back on track dating-wise.
How Long Between a Breakup and Dating Again – A Rule of Thumb
Let’s kick off with a good general rule that works in a wide range of situations and for a lot of different people. And here it is — 3 months. It might sound a little arbitrary to some, but in fact it’s a good amount of time and a solid rule. Let us explain why.
Three months is a good rule of thumb first of all because the vast majority of breakups that happen are relationships that haven’t been going for the long term, perhaps anywhere from 6 month to 3 years at the most. Don’t misunderstand, we aren’t trivializing or minimizing such relationships, but they do nonetheless make up the majority of breakups.
In those 3 months, one can first take time to process the raw feelings that are typically left over from a rough breakup. There’s invariably feelings of resentment, anger, guilt, regret and worse. These aren’t emotions that can be dealt with after a single night’s sleep. After dealing with the worst of the emotion, you will likely still have time to reflect on everything that has happened, and think more carefully about how you want to approach getting back into dating.
Breaking Up After a Long-Term Relationship – At Least 6 Months
Now let’s turn to those people who are breaking up after being with their special someone for a much longer period, say more than 3 years. It stands to reason that the end of a longer relationship requires a longer period of time to get over. We think that an absolute minimum for this kind of situation is 6 months, and quite possibly a bit longer, even a year or more.
When you’ve been with someone for more than 3 years, it isn’t just time (and probably money) you have invested into that relationship. You have also invested a considerable amount of emotion, opening yourself up to that other person, putting your trust in them, exposing your own vulnerabilities and more. To end all of that and then get over it is no simple task. The time required just to process the excess raw emotions alone could easily consume that many months.
To start dating too early after a very long relationship means running the risk of exposing your future dates to those difficult emotional states, and it can be a real recipe for disaster. After 6 months, there’s a chance that the worst of those feelings have passed, and you can start to think about moving forward, but you should always be prepared for it to go on for longer.
Short-Term Relationship – Give Yourself A Month
Finally, let’s think about those shorter-term relationships that may have started off so well, but then took a negative turn somewhere between your first date and the six-month mark. Going out with someone for just a few months might sound like a little, but even these connections have deep meaning to many people, especially younger people who might be entering a serious relationship for the first time.
It’s important not to underestimate how much even a short-term relationship can impact you emotionally and physically. Therefore, we recommend giving yourself at least a month after such a split before you start dating again. Those 4 weeks can be a perfect window for you to launch yourself back into work, take some time for yourself to chill at home on the weekends, and just reflect on how you’re feeling, what you still have, and what you might do in the future.
Everyone is Different – Take All the Time You Need
To save yourself from any kind of worst-case scenario, it’s critical that you give yourself all the time you require to get over a previous relationship. If 3, 6, or even 12 months is not enough, then give yourself more time, and don’t allow others to dictate your timetable. Only you know for sure when you are ready.
Even if it takes longer, it’s not a problem. In the longer term, if you want to successfully get back into the world of dating again, then you have to be truly ready. The biggest danger of not giving yourself enough time is that you end up hurting either yourself or potential dates, and setting yourself up for a long and painful journey back to square one.
When you’re ready to get back out there and start dating, we suggest you have a look at our list of the best dating sites.