How do I know I’m ready to date again?

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One of the most important questions to ask yourself when getting back into the dating game is ‘am I ready to date?’ I see so many clients that are tying themselves up in knots about why they are not successfully dating when the answer is clear – it’s because they are not ready.

There are a number of signs that show whether you’re ready to date or not:

  • You compare everyone you meet to your last partner- nothing says ‘I’m not over my ex’ more than sizing up every potential match against them
  • You talk about your ex on dates- this has to be one of the most unattractive traps people can fall into- and it’s easy, believe me, I’ve done it!  You get chatting, you feel comfortable and before you know it you’re spilling out all the gory details of your past- let’s face it when you go on a date you want the other person to show you they’re ready for a relationship and talking about how awful your ex was shows that you’ve probably not moved on
  • You desperately want to be in a relationship, more than anything- being single makes you feel uncomfortable and you think being in a relationship would solve everything.  This is really common- when we leave a relationship we often look to replace it as quickly as possible so we don’t have to pick ourselves up again.  The danger is if you move from relationship to relationship you don’t ever give yourself time to work out what went wrong and build yourself up again.
  • You feel elated when dating is going your way but devastated if it doesn’t e.g. he doesn’t call you after a date you thought went well- these extremes of emotion are probably one of the most important signs.  We often think in order to date we just need to be single but it’s more than that- you have to be strong enough to take the highs and the lows in your stride without it damaging your self esteem

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So how do you get to the point where you’re ready to date again?

Most people think it’s just about waiting a certain amount of time-I’ve read some experts who advise ‘one month for every year you were together’.  I don’t think you can put a time limit on it as each relationship is different; it’s about dealing with any issues from your previous relationship and preparing yourself for dating.

Dealing with issues from your past relationships is crucial – I’m not talking about in depth psychoanalysis for each of your relationships, but you should have an understanding of why your relationship didn’t work and have come to terms that the relationship has ended.

The biggest and most important part of being ready to date is making sure you are personally resilient.   You may well be over your ex, but if you’re not strong enough to deal with the ups and downs of the dating world, the smallest things are going to set you back. If you jump back into dating and you’re not feeling resilient enough, you could end up doing more harm than good as you’ll knock your confidence or date people that aren’t good for you.

Being resilient is about being ok with yourself, knowing that if a date doesn’t work out it could be for a number of reasons and not always about you, keeping your feet on the ground in the exciting early days of a relationship – it’s about knowing that whatever happens you’ll be able to bounce back.  The best way to develop your resilience is to spend some time on your own as a single person and develop your network of friends and family.  Spending time on your own outside of a relationship gives you time to get comfortable with being you and understanding who you are – and if you’re comfortable with you, you’re less likely to get into a relationship that isn’t right.   If you have a network of friends and family to spend time with, that will help you keep your search for love into perspective.

Remember, you WON’T be single forever, so don’t rush to find a new partner until you’re truly ready.

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