Signs You're Ready To Start Dating Again And How To Get Back Out There

How can you determine if you're ready to start dating again after a long-term relationship? If you're hesitant to jump back into the dating scene, consider these tips for identifying when you're ready and for getting back out there.

How To Tell You're Ready To Start Dating Again

1. You've waved goodbye to the bitter train

When reflecting on past relationships, particularly those that ended with a broken heart, can you move past the drama and forgive and forget? If you are no longer viewing your exes as evidence that all men are bad, then it may be a sign that you are ready for another relationship.

2. You're comfortable being by yourself

Choosing to take a break from relationships can be empowering after a series of negative experiences. It allows you to prove to yourself that you don't need anyone else to be happy. If you view dating as a way to meet new people and have fun rather than to fill a void in your life, then it may be time to start dating again.

3. You've refined your expectations about dating and guys

Instead of having a long list of ideal qualities for a partner, focus on a realistic checklist of what is important for a partner who is right for you. This is not about lowering your standards, it's about refining them.

4. You're ready to date guys who fall outside your "type"

Expanding your dating preferences can also be an indication that you are ready to start dating again. If you are open to considering potential partners who are different from your usual type, it suggests that you have grown and understand that a wider dating pool increases the likelihood of finding a genuine connection.

5. You still believe in love

After experiencing heartbreak, it can be easy to lose faith in dating. However, if you still have hope that there are many good potential partners out there waiting to be met, then it's time to start dating again and don't forget to enjoy the process.

6. You're completely over your ex

"A person cannot successfully start dating again until they have fully healed from their previous heartbreak," according to clinical psychologist Randi Gunther. If you are no longer checking your ex's Instagram or feeling longing while watching romantic comedies, it may be a sign that you have moved on. Knowing you have fully moved on from your ex is the first step in figuring out how to start dating again.

More Signs You're Ready To Get Back Out There

1. You've learned and grown from your past relationships

A sign of personal growth after a relationship is the ability to take responsibility for one's role in the relationship's failure instead of solely placing blame on the ex-partner. Recognizing that past experiences can be used as a learning opportunity to improve future relationships is an important step in being ready to start dating again.

2. You're confident in who you are (most of the time)

Feeling confident in oneself is important when dating. It can make the process more smooth and less dramatic. Confidence allows one to recognize toxic individuals and avoid them. It is not necessary to be as confident as Beyonce, but being comfortable in one's own skin and having a sense of self can make dating a better experience.

3. You've taken down your walls

When you are ready to start dating again, you view potential partners as individuals with unique qualities, rather than making generalized assumptions about an entire group of people. If you are excited about the possibility of making a connection with someone, rather than feeling apprehensive, it is a good sign that you are ready. Being open to vulnerability is necessary for building a genuine relationship.

4. You have grown-up relationship goals

When you are ready to start dating again, you understand that romance is not just about grand gestures such as flowers and expensive dinners. You desire a partner who is willing to navigate the everyday challenges of life with you and who knows how to show their love in small, meaningful ways, such as bringing home a Snickers bar after a long day to bring a smile to your face.

5. You're ready and willing to compromise

Before starting to date again, make sure you are in a place where you are willing to give as much as you receive in a relationship. A healthy relationship should be a balance of give and take, where each partner's needs are met. According to psychologist Renée A. Cohen, Ph.D. "The balance may shift but over time, it should average out to 50/50." Ensure you are in a good place emotionally before starting to date again.

6. You're actually excited to get back out there and meet someone

If you find yourself wondering how to start dating again, it's a positive sign that you are ready to do so. The fact that you are excited about the possibility of meeting someone new, after a period of not feeling this way, is a good indication that you are ready to start dating again.

How To Start Dating Again When You're Ready

1. Look for someone to complement you, not complete you

It's important to recognize that no one else can fulfill all of your needs. A healthy mindset for love is being content as an individual before seeking a relationship. According to Victoria Goldenberg, therapist and member of the media advisory group at Hope for Depression Research Foundation, "One should not enter a relationship to find happiness, but rather, to enhance the happiness they have already cultivated within themselves." Prioritize personal growth and self-awareness before starting to date again.

2. Start slow

When seeking love, it's important to take things slow to avoid burnout. Keep initial dates casual and low-pressure, such as a drink or coffee for no more than an hour or two. Relationship therapist Charisse Cooke suggests outdoor activities like picnics or bike rides as a fun way to gauge chemistry.

3. Be clear about what you want

When starting to date again, approach it with a fresh perspective and take the opportunity to redefine your relationship expectations and boundaries. Distinguish between your wants and needs and establish your deal-breakers. If someone fails to meet your standards or crosses your boundaries, don't ignore red flags, end the relationship. Knowing how to end a relationship when it's not right will set you up for long-term success in dating.

4. Be open to meeting people in a variety of ways

Dating apps are not the only option for finding love, broaden your horizons when figuring out how to start dating again. Love can be found in unexpected places such as book clubs, gyms, or grocery stores. Don't limit yourself to actively seeking out potential partners, but remain open to the possibility of meeting someone special in various places.

5. Enjoy the ride

When it comes to dating, don't overthink it and make it a stress-inducing experience. Instead, approach it as an enjoyable activity. Remember that even if a date doesn't work out romantically, it doesn't mean the meeting was a failure. Relationship expert Tammy Shaklee suggests that it could lead to a new friendship.