Relationships are like full-time jobs; they take up a large part of your focus, attention, energy and, to some extent, a lot of your money too. So, investing in one is always something to be nervous about. But like every other risky thing in this world, people do it for the eggs, as Woody Allen would say.
Things get sour when relationships are broken up because, hey, people put up with a lot in those things; it is like watching a good stock option go down the drain taking all your money with it, only this time it is so much more than money. So, people obviously become more and more nervous about commitments after a previous breakup and tried to find out how long they needed to heal.
Then there is this other breed of people who actually thrive when they are in a relationship. If you are one of them, then as soon as you are done with one relationship, you dive into another one, without getting requisite signals to know whether you are ready to move on. The time period you should wait before doing that should be enough for you to completely heal. And there is no clear-cut number when it comes to this because each person heals in their own sweet time and this cannot be rushed.
There are at least three things that you need to do before getting into another relationship, as Elle Huerta says:
TRY TO REEVALUATE AND REDEFINE YOUR SENSE OF SELF
Right after a long-term commitment is broken up, it is only natural to feel unsafe and unsure about your own sense of self. This is because over the course of a relationship, you tend to redefine yourself in terms of the other, thereby making self-evaluation a kind of a moot point there.
You might be very pumped up about the new person who has tickled your tummy with butterflies, but it does not guarantee a better relationship unless you are actually confident that you’re ready to start dating again. And the first step in order to do that is to define yourself on your own terms. Take things in your control, make sure to listen to your own gut. As Trina Leckie says, you should allow some time to pass before being ready again.
Do things that make you feel at home and put in more than usual effort. That ought to give you moments when you feel proud of yourself. Those moments will help you in the quest
LEARN FROM THE PATTERNS OF THE PAST AND MAKE BETTER DECISIONS
Over the course of long-term relationships, people tend to fall into patterns that, as they practice living according to those patterns, make them totally different people, different from the person they were before the relationship.
After the relationship is broken up, it is of utmost importance to break free of those pre-set patterns. They may be anything, from a change in preferences to the way you pick up some of the idiosyncrasies of their speech.
These patterns make it essentially more difficult than usual to move on from the relationship; and hear us out on this, moving on is more important that you think. This is because, if you don’t, and this is especially true when it comes to toxic relationships, you never get to the part we discussed in the previous part, i.e.redefining yourself, on your own terms. Without that, things never get better, there is no sugar-coating that. That’s why love coach and relationship expert, Susan Winter, says that it’s about how you react emotionally and not the physical time that has passed after the break-up. According to her, if you feel weak and needy, then you are not ready to start dating again .
REEVALUATING YOUR READINESS TO BE IN LOVE AGAIN
Once you start redefining yourself on your own terms, you take up more and more agency in your own stead. And then, and only then, can you think with absolute clarity. It is normal to still think about your ex as you move on.
But that, of course, doesn’t mean that you’re not ready to move on. Then reevaluate the final part of your test: knowing if you are ready for something as major as a relationship at that point in your life. The time you spend alone, in solitude, gives you a lot of other things to live for; it might be family, it might be a pet, it might be your child, it might be your own self or even a hobby that formed a large part of you at one point in your life, something you left behind when you had gotten into this relationship.
If things seem ripe and the new person does not fit the patterns of failure that your last partner showed, well, carpe diem!
Go for it. If not, wait. Heal totally first and then think about it.