Needless to say that dating after a separation/divorce is a subject hot on many people’s lips and the most recurring question being: When is it a good time for me to date again.
My answer is straight forward. There isn’t.
What is a good time for though, is to first heal some of your most raw emotions and to figure out who you truly are. I like to remind people that a relationship breakup is first and foremost an emotional process. If emotions are neglected, they will not go away, they will just act out in unexpected ways and possibly very inappropriately too. I also like to bring to the attention of people coming out of a painful relationship breakup, that most of the time, people have lost themselves in their relationship, especially the toxic ones, Reclaiming yourself is of utmost importance to move on constructively in your life. If you do not take the time to heal and put in the effort to define who you truly are, you will keep stumbling into other toxic relationships or make decisions based on poor knowledge of what your needs are and what you want for yourself and your life.
So to go back to the question: When is it a good time for me to date again, here are a few helpful pointers:
– There is no right or wrong time, only the time that is right for you.
There is no right time but when the time is right. Yeah, one of those comment! 😉 But really. Let’s be realistic. If you enjoy being in a relationship, for whatever reason, you can’t order it as a take away menu. You either meet someone or you don’t. It’s like asking when is a good time for me to make new friends. These things happen, either organically through the friends you already have or because you are taking up a new activity which will widen your social circle. It’ll happen naturally or you’ll make it happen. But it is here that you need to take responsibility for the reasons you want to date again and if those reasons are based on a strong emotional foundation or emotions which need healing.
– Do you even know why you are asking this question?
Seriously, you are an adult. You don’t need anyone’s permission. Seeking outside approval is only an indication that you are unsure of yourself, so instead, do some introspection first. Get to know you. Learn to enjoy your own company then come back to the question. Do you still need to ask it?
– Understand your needs.
As a fan of Choice Theory, I like to connect people with understanding their Needs. According to William Glasser we have 5 basic needs:
Exploring your needs behind you wish to start dating may clarify what you need to address first. Is it because you need to have fun? Then no need to date. Go out with some friends. Do you need to feel safe because being single scares you? Then you need to address first why being single scares instead of looking for someone to update your relationship status. Explore what you really need then go back to the question.
– Understand what is it that you really want?
A need is something that is essential and very important to live a healthy and satisfied life. A want is something you might like to have rather than a requirement for healthy living. Understanding what you Want can only be properly achieved once you have established what it is that you Need.
– Listen to your gut feeling.
This boils back down to trusting yourself. If you don’t trust yourself, this is when you will be most likely to ask someone else to provide an answer to your question, but if you don’t trust yourself, how do you know you can trust someone else?
~ Nadia Thonnard