A bad breakup or a nasty divorce can have serious consequences on your mental and emotional health.
I’m not only talking about the pain you feel in the post-breakup period, I’m also referring to the way this experience damages your future relationships.
At first, you are convinced that you’ll never find happiness again.
Not a single person will be good enough to fill the void your ex left, and you’ll remain forever alone.
However, after a while, you realize that one day, you’ll have to go back to the dating scene.
Not only that, you want to find love again, but you simply don’t know how. You feel lost, and don’t know how to get back in the game.
Well, that’s why we’re here: to give you a step-by-step guide which will help you pass your past traumas and start dating again. Just sit back and follow our lead.
1. Cut ties with the past…
You can’t expect to move on with your life as long as you have some unresolved issues from the past.
It would be completely pointless for you to put yourself in the dating pool if you keep on carrying loads of emotional baggage weighing you down.
That is why you have to cut all ties with the past before you even try dating again if you want to be completely fair towards yourself and all of your potential partners.
However, when I tell you this, I’m not only advising you to end all possible contact with your ex because that won’t be enough.
Yes, of course, you should lose touch with this person, especially if you still have feelings for them, but there are other things which are included in breaking bonds with your past.
First and foremost, you have to accept that your past relationship has come to its end and that your ex isn’t coming back.
You have to lose all hope of your reconciliation, and stop waiting for them to knock on your door and come crawling back.
If closure is something you need to move on and if it is possible to get it, go ahead and seek it.
However, if the other person doesn’t want to give you the answers you need, find a way to move on without closure.
Do whatever you need to do to heal in the healthiest possible way.
Make sure you’re fully recovered from your past if you really want to turn a new page and take a leap into your future.
Otherwise, everything you’ll do will be completely pointless.
2. …but learn from it
Just because you should leave your romantic past in the past where it belongs doesn’t mean you have to pretend that your previous relationship was not a part of your life.
Instead, perceive it as a valuable experience which shaped you into becoming the person you are today, and use the opportunity to learn from it.
What has your ex and your failed relationship taught you?
Has this experience helped you figure out what you want and what you don’t want?
Looking at things from today’s point of view, do you have the ability to identify your mistakes?
Can you promise that you won’t do them again?
What is the type of romantic partner you obviously don’t function well with? What kind of a boyfriend or girlfriend should you be looking for?
What are the things you tolerated in your previous relationship, even though you knew you shouldn’t?
Is there something you should change about your behavior towards your partners?
What are the things you should never again settle for? How did your previous relationship level up your dating game?
Can your bad choice from the past help you choose better this time?
Answer each one of these questions before putting yourself back in the game.
Don’t let everything you went through with your ex be in vain, and use your negative experience to your own advantage.
3. Avoid rebound relationships
A lot of people make a similar mistake when their relationship ends: they catch the first person who crosses their path, trying to move on exactly where they left off with their ex.
Well, let me tell you that things don’t work like that in real life.
A new person won’t magically erase someone from your heart and mind, so it is better not to even get yourself involved in rebound relationships.
Besides making your own life more complicated, you’ll also hurt someone who has nothing to do with your pain.
If you want to learn to date again, you should do it for your sake and in order to help yourself keep going—not to make your ex jealous.
The biggest mistake you can make is to jump into a new relationship too soon.
Don’t think of finding a partner just because your ex is already seeing someone new or because you’re afraid of ending up alone.
A rebound relationship will only deepen your wounds and break your heart even more. And that is the last thing you need at this point.
4. Dating detox
Therefore, instead of chasing a potentially good partner and a healthy relationship right away, the next step is to go through a dating detox.
It means spending a certain amount of time without potential relationships, online dating, flirting, dating apps, blind dates, and without romantic love in general. You’ve been through a bad breakup, and this phase will help you reset your mind and heart.
It will help you get ready for new victories.
I know that shutting your brain off is impossible, but please, do your best not to think about your love life either.
Focus on different things, and don’t obsess about what has been and what might happen.
Relationship experts advise you to set a date until which you’re not allowed to overthink, analyze or talk to your friends about your romantic past, present or future.
Take a break and don’t crack your brains open, even if it’s just for a while.
Instead, focus on everything that makes you happy, and enjoy your life the way it is.
Realize that you don’t need anyone to complete you, fall back in love with yourself, and understand that it won’t be the end of the world even if you remain single.
5. Reevaluate your dating patterns
Whether you want to admit it or not, you, as well as every other person, have formed some dating habits throughout the years.
Well, this is the step in which you need to identify them and figure out which of your relationship habits are unhealthy and need changing.
If you want to make a difference in your love life, you simply have to break your old dating patterns and adapt some new and better ones because these obviously didn’t bring the desired result.
Based on your previous experience, something is off, and now is the time to figure out exactly what.
Therefore, after you’re done with the period of dating detox, it is time to reevaluate some of your past choices.
The important thing here is not to beat yourself up about something you can’t change.
However, what you can do is find what all of your relationships and each one of your exes have in common.
Why do your relationships end? Do you have a certain type?
If the answer is yes, this is clearly the type you should stay away from, despite the attraction you might feel for someone looking or behaving similar to your exes.
After all, it didn’t work with anyone from your past, so how can you expect things to be different this time if you keep on following the same pattern?
The other thing you should consider is your behavior in your past relationships so far.
Don’t be overly self-critical, but at the same time, try being as honest as possible.
Is there something you do to chase your partners away?
Are there some things you would like to change about yourself when it comes to relationships?
6. Regain faith in love
When you go through a bad breakup, your heart isn’t the only thing that breaks.
What is even worse is that you lose your trust in people, start thinking that you’re not meant to be loved, convince yourself that you’ll die alone because you lost the only chance of happiness, and most importantly, you stop believing in love.
After all, if this person who promised you the world hurt you this badly, what better can you expect from anyone else?
If the person you thought you knew to the core surprised you with their actions, what can you expect from someone new?
When you’re experiencing a heartache, you get the idea that the only way to keep yourself from more misery is to lock your emotions forever; to build high walls around yourself and not to let anyone in ever again.
Well, let me tell you that this approach will get you nowhere.
All of us would like to find a way to protect ourselves from everyone who doesn’t actually deserve us, but the truth is that you can never be too careful when it comes to these things.
So, please, believe me when I tell you that not everyone is like your ex. Just because one person hurt you, it is definitely not a sign that love isn’t real.
True love does exist, and it will appear in your life, as well, if you just choose to give it a chance.
Please, have faith, and open your doors when it comes knocking.
7. Have a positive mindset
According to dating experts, another important thing in learning how to date again is adopting a positive mindset.
Forget about negativity, be as optimistic as possible, and have faith in the best possible outcome.
Besides it being attractive to the opposite sex, a positive mind set will also help you preserve your mental and emotional health.
Don’t forget that in most cases, there is no point in having dark thoughts and obsessing over everything that might go wrong: things will happen the way they’re meant to happen, and losing your nerves over them in advance is completely foolish.
After all, remember that you attract what you think, so if you keep thinking about worst possible case scenarios, that is exactly what you’ll get.
You get what you believe, so if you really manage to persuade yourself that you’ll never find the one and that you won’t be able to deal with the harsh dating world, that is what will happen.
Therefore, put an effort into believing that everything will go just right.
If necessary, repeat this as a mantra: I will find the man/woman of my life, and my heart will never be broken again.
8. Improve your confidence
The next step is to work on different aspects of your personality, with the strongest accent on your self-esteem.
You see, the dating game is harsh, and there is a lot more competition that you might think.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not advising you to fight other girls in order to get to the man you like.
I’m just asking you to be aware that there are tons of girls who basically offer similar things as you do.
Nevertheless, you’ll simply have to find a way to stand out of the crowd and to make yourself visible.
I bet this sounds impossible to everyone with low self-esteem.
This is why you have to work on your confidence before going back into the dating pool.
You have to find yourself attractive, intelligent, and desirable before you can persuade other people to think that about you.
If you have trouble talking to the opposite sex, give online dating a shot.
This way, you can get some exercise before making any moves in person.
I’m sure you have a lot to offer, but if your insecurities mask your qualities, you’ll have less chance to be successful in these dating games.
Remember: you’re more than good enough, and there is no reason to doubt your self-worth.
9. Wait until you’re ready
How long should I wait to start dating again? How soon is too soon to start dating again?
Well, there are no right or wrong answers here because it all depends on multiple factors.
Whenever you end a long-term relationship, a lot of people around you appear with their advice on how you should behave from now on and what the acceptable deadline is in which you ought to get over your ex and move on, as if nothing has happened.
Well, even though I’m sure that all of them mean you well, the fact is that different people recover at different paces.
Besides, this is rarely a linear process. Instead, it usually happens with numerous ups and downs, and sometimes, you even catch yourself healing and hurting at the same time.
This is why it is crucial not to rush yourself into doing something you don’t feel fully ready for and not to allow others to brainwash you and judge you for taking too long to move from the dead spot.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should spend the rest of your life mourning your past relationship, but don’t push yourself too hard either.
Instead, be patient, and give yourself all the time you need if you want to enter a new relationship fully recovered.
10. Figure out what you want
After you’ve done all the necessary preparation to enter a new, healthy relationship, the next step in the process of figuring out how to start dating again after a breakup or how to start dating again after divorce is realizing what you want.
Let’s get one thing sorted out though: you’ll never find an ideal partner, so please, have realistic expectations.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should lower your standards and be with the first person that comes along. Remember that it is always better to remain single than to settle for less than you deserve.
What qualities and personal traits should the love of your life have? What exactly are you looking for?
Are you on a search for butterflies and a wild romance which will knock you off your feet?
Or would you rather be with someone compatible with whom you can start a family?
What are your biggest deal breakers and things you wouldn’t tolerate in a million years?
If necessary, make a list of your answers.
This way, you’ll have something to guide you through your journey, to help you choose between your potential partners, and to help you find the one who suits you the best.
I know that putting things this way, finding the love of your life sounds more like a search for a business partner. Even though you should listen to the desires of your heart as well, your mind has to be included in the process if you want to avoid making a mistake.
11. Don’t compare
When you meet someone new and put all of their traits on a scale, forget about comparing them to your ex because they’re not relevant now.
Don’t look for someone similar to them but also don’t choose your new partner just because they’re completely different from someone who caused your heartbreak.
Another important thing is not to mention your ex too much when you go out on a first date with this new person.
A second date can be an opportunity for you to mention that you’ve just gotten out of a long term relationship or that you’ve just started dating again after divorce, but that is more than enough.
Don’t make your new partner feel intimidated by someone from your past from the very start, and don’t leave the impression like you still have some unresolved issues that might impact your new relationship because that will only chase everyone from you.
Respect this new person as an individual, and understand they have nothing to do with the one who did you harm.
Give them a chance to show you what they have to offer, without your past traumas affecting your decision.
12. Don’t obsess about the future…
According to relationship experts, the number one post-breakup mistake most people who go back into the dating world make is that they take things too seriously right from the start.
When you are recovering after divorce or a long term relationship, you’re usually too tired to go through the entire process of getting to know someone new all over again.
Therefore, the moment you start going out with someone you’ve just met, you rush things.
You have a hard time accepting that you’re a single person now because you’re used to being a part of a couple, so you expect this new person to take the place of your ex just like that.
You start imagining what will happen one day between the two of you and make a big deal about everything right from the first date.
You think about how your life together would look and whether you will get along in some important matters.
Even though thinking ahead is very mature of you, please don’t get all your hopes up in someone you’ve just met because that makes your potential disappointment much bigger.
Let time do its magic and show you if this person is really cut out for you or not.
Enjoy every day and every date, and don’t stress out over the future that much.
Also, don’t make a big deal about every little thing you don’t like about this person and don’t kick them out of your life at the first strike.
13. …but don’t let anyone waste your time
However, this relaxed behavior is not in any way a green light for immature commitment-phobes who don’t know what they want.
Just because you have relaxed your pressure, it doesn’t mean that you should waste time on someone you have no future with (unless you are only looking for something casual).
If you see that your relationship is doomed to fail, end it in time before you fall in love and experience another heartbreak.
There is no need to give a chance to someone who doesn’t match your standards or to be with someone you don’t see yourself next to.
14. Put yourself out there
Finally, put yourself out there. If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and don’t have a chance of meeting new people, change your daily routine: go out more, meet new friends, get a hobby, hit the gym, start volunteering… whatever suits you the best.
Nevertheless, if none of these work, you can try Tinder or other dating sites.
Don’t worry—you’re not desperate for trying to look for your potential partner through dating apps.
It is the 21st Century and according to dating experts, this has become the number one way people look for their soulmate.
15. Practice makes perfection
Remember that you can’t become a professional overnight. It is unlikely to meet ‘the one’ right away, but that doesn’t mean that you should give up on people after the first or a second date.
For starters, flirt with that barista you find cute, initiate contact with the people on social media and dating sites, ask your new friends to set you up on a few blind dates…
None of this will help you find a good partner or a perfect match, but it will definitely get you ready for them.
After all, you’ve spent a lot of time in your last relationship, so it is perfectly natural that you’ve become a little bit rusty and that you’ve forgotten how things work in the dating pool.
So, look at this as a way to step up your dating game!