Dating after a breakup: how to know if you're ready

When we’re hurting, it's tempting to throw ourselves blindly into something new. And when we've spent so long feeling heavy and hopeless, dating comes as a welcome distraction. But in the midst of those intoxicating chemical highs, it's all too easy to forget that it is only a distraction. The truth is, no one is coming to rescue us from our feelings. We can't date our pain away. And if we're not careful, we might find ourselves repeating the same romantic slip-ups that left us so heartbroken in the first place.

Your pain belongs to you. And if you own it, nurture it and heal it instead of looking for an emotional band-aid in the form of a mildly interesting and semi-available human, you'll be in a much better place to attract the type of love that you actually want.

So when you find yourself questioning whether it's time to move on, how do you know if you're ready?

You know your boundaries and love yourself enough to execute them. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - the right person will not be scared off by boundaries. In fact, the right person will appreciate us even more for setting them. So decide on your non-negotiables and make them non-negotiable. Be clear on what you want and don’t accept anything that isn't that. After all, self-respect is sexy. Being a doormat is not.

And if you feel like you’re willing to compromise your values to get someone to like you, then you’re probably not ready.

You’re happy with your life the way it is. This doesn’t mean that your life has to be perfect. It won’t be. But if we don't have a sense of purpose, it's easy to become lost in someone else's. And if we make our relationships our sole source of happiness, we will never be happy. So learn how to fill your own cup. Find what brings you joy and fulfilment outside of a relationship. Live wholeheartedly.

And if you’re dating because you feel like something's missing, then you’re probably not ready.

You have a rock solid self-care routine. We’ve all been there: so drunk on that new-crush feeling that we allow the other things in our life to fall by the wayside. Who cares about that yoga class when we’ve got an exciting new thing going on, right?! Wrong. It’s these habits that keep us grounded. It’s these habits that prevent us from losing ourselves. And it’s these habits that make us attractive to the right person. So go to that yoga class. Write that book. Start that business. Take that trip. Never put your life on hold for someone else. They might not be around forever - but YOU will.

And if you find that you’re willing to drop what’s really important to you in favour of a hot date, then you’re probably not ready.

You’re not scared of being alone. Too often, we allow our fear of being alone to rule our love lives. But being alone does not equal loneliness. Being in the wrong relationship does. And as long as we’re always allowing our self-worth to be dictated by our relationship status, we’re always going to be settling for what’s available to us instead of waiting for what’s right for us. So instead of looking for someone to complete you, learn how to feel complete on your own. Instead of looking for someone to spend time with, learn how to spend time alone. Instead of looking to get to know people, get to know yourself.

And if you feel like you’re going on dates out of fear of being single, then you’re probably not ready.

“If you don’t love yourself, you’re always going to be chasing after people who don’t love you either.” - Mandy Hale

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to love. There’s no right or wrong way to date. But what happens when that once promising new relationship starts to fall flat? What happens when that once feverish spark starts to fizzle out? What happens when that once intense connection starts to fade? Not only will we have wasted the last few weeks/months/years caught up in a frenzy of romantic obsession, but those goals, dreams or aspirations that we had before? They’ll still be just as far out of reach.

Sending you all so much happiness x


  1. Hi Jen, finding this post couldn't have been better timing for me. I read your tiny Buddha article (my go to site when my brain won't slow down and sleep!) And it led me here, this was really helpful reading and I'll go and read your other posts now! Thank you :)

  2. Hi Emma, I'm so glad you found it all helpful <3 Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! Lots of love x