Whether you’ve been single for a year or a collection of days, dating again after a major breakup carries a unique set of challenges. Grief, loneliness, wounded confidence, anxiety, even fear…these feelings affect those who covet their lost love, but also those who don’t—because the loss of significant relationships in our lives is traumatizing, no matter what.
You need support and you need a plan.
Because frantically downloading an app to arrange a bunch of stranger dates isn’t a good plan.
Healthful dating post breakup requires courage, self-reflection and hard work; it’s achieved in all kinds of different ways—per each individual set of relationship/breakup circumstances. These tips are merely a suggestion; we hope you’ll carry forward only those best suited for you.
1. Ship-out and Shape-up!
Breakups provide the perfect opportunity to reconnect with oneself. Take a few days off, plan a road-trip, jet away for a quick trip somewhere special.
Visit that friend you haven't seen in years. Go somewhere you’ve never been before, but always hoped you would. That spa weekend is a phone call away…
Traveling solo provides the perfect environment to recapture feelings of confidence and excitement.
How so? Distance from routine creates space—the space you desperately need to forgive your ex, forgive yourself and evolve rather than regress. Sometimes we can’t get enough air to accomplish this at home, in the same spaces occupied by a past relationship. Give yourself the gift of a break.
2. Moving-On Sale: Objects hold memories
He loved that arm chair.
That was her favorite pillow.
I wonder if he’ll miss being here.
I loved how silly he looked in that apron.
You’re back from the solo trip…you look around and realize your ex is everywhere. You’ve had this dining room table for as long as you’ve been together. That rug was a purchase made together on a weekend trip antiquing. The whole place is overrun!
However inconvenient, objects remind us of people, memories and feelings.
Furniture, clothing, other household items, gifts…whatever items don’t support a healthful future, should become a part of your past.
And what better way than to sell it all and start fresh? Utilize your smart phone’s stellar camera to take nice photos of the exodus items. Organize the sale in an open, large room you can easily monitor and host a group within (like your living room). Label bigger items with prices; you can negotiate on the rest. Invite neighbors and friends, post the sale on apps like OfferUp and on sites like Craigslist. Title It: Moving-On Sale, It All Must Go!
Simple, fun, and the best part? You’ll have a handful of cash to redecorate with. For a nice touch, and because no one can deny the power of hospitality, advertise something a little extra, like rosé for shoppers. Donate whatever remains.
3. Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
No matter where you are in the process of moving-on, pushing yourself too far in an effort to feel better is not a sage solution. Think through why you’re feeling the way you feel, instead of hiding from pain points.
There’s no fast-track to ‘being ready’ for love-after-love. You likely need time to process, to grieve…or maybe you feel great most days, but could be kinder to yourself on bad days.
Doing small things like starting a dating profile, or low-key flirting with someone you find attractive are little ways to slowly dip your feet back into the dating pool. If someone asks you out on a date and you don’t feel fully ready, politely decline.
Conversely, if you do feel ready, schedule the date a few days in-advance, giving yourself enough time and space to prepare, reflect and work through first date jitters.
Because no matter what, going at your own pace is the only right way to proceed.
4. Makeover, anyone?
However cliché, I think we can all agree a little sprucing does wonders for mojo. A little self-care never hurt anyone, quite the opposite really.
Invest in a few outfits that fit well. Why not stop-in at a nail salon (guys, pedicures are hawt!). Go for that cut you’ve been wanting to try. Custom hair color systems like this are another fun way to switch up your look. Skin care is basic self-care! Consider a new skin-care or morning routine that improves overall quality of life.
Also, consider the fact that you have more free time now…that’s more time to invest in yourself. Why not make a few more visits to the local gym, hiking trail, or to whatever sports club or venue best promotes self-care for you? Which leads us to…
5. Sign me up!
Break-ups are almost always awful, but they also provide opportunity. Now is the perfect time to expand your social circle and try new avenues of life. Sign up for that class you thought you never had time for. Go to happy hour with colleagues for once, start volunteering for a cause that moves you.
Bring more in.
Because dating success begins with confidence, and confidence is built by socialization, a healthy body and mind, and often, community. Staying within the exact same social sphere and doing the exact same activities you shared with an ex, without making any changes, makes zero sense. Jumpstart healing by bringing new people and activities into your daily life. After all, there’s no telling where they could lead you next.
6. Keep on the Sunny Side (and when you can’t, don’t panic)
OK, you’ve been dating again.
You’ve found that some dates go really well and others not so well, that’s okay. Dating is a process, you are on a journey that you can’t entirely control, not even close—because sometimes the dating journey leads to great happiness and excitement, and other times it leads to feelings of hurt and frustration.
When you’re experiencing the latter, get to a safe, comfortable place and grant yourself the gift of a little TLC. Turn on your favorite movie, album or podcast. Play your favorite game, read a good book, take a bubble bath. For some, positive mantras help…In short, don’t make any hard or fast decisions.
Wait-it-out when you feel like freaking out.
This breakup hurt. You could be reeling, but it’s not impossible to reel-it-in. Start with #1,
Valerie Ackler, Heartalytics Editor