Breakups are painful and scary, and dating can feel that way too. The good news is that there are ways to start easing into dating again that can make it less stressful. Exploring your emotions, setting expectations about your next relationships, and understanding your own levels of readiness can make the whole process easier, and maybe even fun.
Here are some general tips for people in Chicago who are looking to start dating again.
Let Yourself Feel Your Feelings
It’s normal to be emotional about breaking up; you don’t need to pretend you're ok when you're really not. Remember there’s no right or wrong way to grieve, and it’s okay to be vulnerable and sad for a while. If you don’t let yourself experience this part of a breakup, it’s going to come back for you later. Pushing your feelings down isn’t a permanent solution.
You can feel devastated, furious, depressed, or confused. Even if you want support from people like friends or a therapist, you can still experience all these emotions. They are a natural part of the process, and they will eventually get easier to deal with. You will get through it, but it’s important to let the grieving process take its course.
Try Dating As Exploration
Lots of people say that you should completely heal yourself before you get back on the dating scene. But that’s not always the best way. Grief isn’t a one-way train; it goes in cycles. It may be a long time before you’re completely okay. But Dating can be an important part of moving on.
And while you shouldn’t throw yourself head-first into dating after a breakup, if you want to get out there again there are ways to date that will help you move forward. Keep listening and checking in with yourself to see how you’re feeling. If dating feels bad, you probably need more time. But if it gives you hope or lets you think about the future, it may help. So go ahead and try dating again, but do it with intentionality and purpose to help you focus on yourself and what you want in a relationship. And don't get discouraged if your first few dates don't work out. This, too, is a process.
Notice And Understand The Signs That You’re ready To Start Dating Again
If you’re not ready, don’t push it. There’s no rush. But if you think you may be, assess how you know. Because while you don’t need to be 100%, you should at least hit your baseline of stability. Some signs of that might include:
You've taken steps to work with your feelings and you feel steady enough to try a new step.
You want to try again, but you don’t have hard and fast expectations that the new person is going to be your long-term relationship or your next future partner.
You feel excited to experience something new and different.
You have a good support system in place to help you through your new start.
Dating after a breakup can be difficult, but it helps to recognize that it’s meant to be fun and can help you figure out who you are and what you want. It's okay to feel overwhelmed, when you get started, but just remember to check in with yourself and set solid boundaries, and it can be a really healing experience.
Also remember that having that support system is important. If your friends or family are available, let them help you get through this. Also consider seeking out a therapist. Dating can be an emotional experience at any stage, and it can be immensely helpful to have that extra layer of support where you can process all your feelings without fear of judgment.
Our therapists at Marble Wellness are here to help you recover from your breakup, and to support you if you want to get back into the Chicago dating scene. We do a lot of work with relationships and would be honored to walk beside you through this process. So if you live in or near Chicago and have gone through the massive life change of breaking up and starting to date again, please reach out to us and let us support and guide you into the next phase of your life.
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