How Long to Wait Before Starting a New Relationship

You need time to heal after a breakup – but how much time is enough? These tips on how long to wait before starting a new relationship will help you make sure you’re off to a good start.

starting a new relationshipIn Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment, Steve Harvey shares relationship wisdom that will help you know when it’s time to get intimate with your partner, how to cope with your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend or ex-wife, and how to communicate better. Your relationship is worth investing time and energy – especially if you’re in this for the long haul!

I wrote this article in response to a reader who started dating a guy a few days after he broke up with his ex-girlfriend. I think this is way, way too soon to start a new relationship – and you’ll see why when you read her comment:

“My boyfriend broke up with his ex-girlfriend four months ago and we’ve been together ever since,” says a reader on How to Cope With Jealousy When Your Boyfriend Sees His Ex. “But he keeps talking to her and keeps wanting to meet up with her. She lives five hours from our place, and their mutual friend is coming to visit them after four years this weekend. He wants to go, but I’m not comfortable with this because he will be sleeping over at his ex-girlfriend’s. He will be there for two full days. This gives him a good excuse to go see his ex-girlfriend and I don’t want her to be around him at all. I suggested I could go, but she obviously doesn’t want to see me since I’m the one he chose over her. I trust him but I don’t trust her.”

The reason I believe she jumped into this relationship too quickly is because she hasn’t taken time to build trust. She says she trusts him, but she’s full of angst about him seeing his ex-girlfriend. And she should be, especially since she’s not welcome to join them.

It’s so important to be careful when you’re starting a new relationship after a breakup or loss, because jumping in too quickly will jeopardize your future with your new partner. You might be ruining a perfectly good relationship if you move too quickly, or are impulsive about dating too soon.

Before Starting a New Relationship…

There is no single, clear cut answer to the question, “How long should I wait before I start dating again?” Four months might be all you need to heal from your past relationship. Another person might need four years to get over a bad marriage and traumatic breakup. So the short answer is: it depends.

But there are some signs that it’s too soon to start a new relationship.

You feel drawn to your ex – or even obsessed with him

In the reader’s comment, we see that her boyfriend of four months is still attached to his ex-girlfriend. He wants to see her and stay in her home. He doesn’t want his new girlfriend to go with him. Those are signs that he hasn’t waited long enough before starting a new relationship.

You’re still grieving the breakup

In 10 Best Tips on Starting Over After a Bad Relationship, I encourage people to give themselves time before starting a new relationship. Sometimes it takes a long time to heal after a breakup. There is no “normal” amount of time for healing – it takes some people years, while others can bounce back more quickly. To help yourself heal, don’t focus on the pain and guilt. Instead, focus on what you love about yourself, your life, and your future. Where are you going, where do you want to be in one year? Set your intention, pray, and start heading in that direction.

Your Spidey senses are tingling

starting to date again

How Long Do You Wait Before Starting a New Relationship?

The best way to know how long you should wait before starting a new relationship is your own gut feelings. Do you feel right about this relationship? Is your partner emotionally healthy? Are your goals aligned? More importantly, has he dealt with his past relationship issues – including divorce, child custody, and alimony arrangements? Is he really and truly free to start a new relationship with you, or is it just wishful thinking on your part?

You’re still in love with your ex

How to Let Go of Someone You Love is one of my most popular articles because it’s hard to say good-bye. We’re wired for connection and togetherness. Breakups, divorce, and loss are very difficult for us to recover from. We need time to grieve the end of our past relationship.

This doesn’t mean you have to wait a long time before starting a new relationship. It just means you need to process your feelings and grief about your last relationship. And so does your new partner. You can heal together, of course, but it’s ideal if both of you have taken time to heal on your own.

I welcome your thoughts on how long to wait before starting a new relationship. I can’t offer advice or counseling, but sharing your experience might bring insight and clarity.

If you’ve decided that you want to start dating again, read 8 Ways to Build Trust in a Relationship.

If you feel like it’s too soon to start a new dating again, why not wait for three months? Time goes by super duper fast! And if you’re meant to be with that person, then waiting a few months won’t matter. It’ll make your decision more clear, and your relationship more solid.

May your new relationship be filled with peace, joy, and connection.

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6 thoughts on “How Long to Wait Before Starting a New Relationship”

  1. I agree with this because it’s important to wait. I have been broken up from my ex for 5 months and I feel like a part of me is not ready to date yet because I want something sincere and I’ve been struggling with being disappointed. I broke up with my ex because he made me feel like I wasn’t enough for him, like he needed more. I couldn’t be myself around him. I feel I made the wrong decision by staying in the relationship for as long as I did and knowing that it wasn’t the right one for me, so I think guilt over the wrong choice has made me skeptical about having a relationship because I think what if it doesn’t work out, what if I end up in a situation like I did before? I was with my ex for three years and during that time, I forced myself to accept him as he was when in reality I couldn’t because our perspectives were so different. We were like oil and water. Two people who wanted to love each other, but it was difficult to commit. Although he talked about commitment, I always felt like he wanted someone to stroke his ego and allow him to be fully in charge, which I’m not like that, I like being in control of myself and I don’t stroke anyone’s ego, not even my own. Anyway, I felt like he expected more than I could give. His display of love was too different from mine. His was all the time, mine was some of the time. It didn’t mean I didn’t feel love or have love towards him, I just was being myself. When that began to decrease, I just shrank and started going through the motions. Eventually I felt burdened by the relationship. I never want to feel that way again, ever. So I’m trying to ensure that I don’t feel that way. Also he kept telling me was all he wanted was for me to be happy, yet he couldn’t see that I was happy and content with the way things were. I didn’t need him to be my source of happiness because I was already happy. Anyway, it’s taken me a while to realize that I still love him but I want him to be happy. All of his complaining to me showed how unhappy he really was in the relationship because of what I couldn’t give him. I want him to be happy with someone who can live up to his expectations. I want to be with someone who see me and love me for the person I am, not for who they think I am. In a lot of relationships, people only love each other based off of who they perceive that person to be, without really getting to the heart. I want someone who will be willing to explore my heart way more than my body or looks. Someone who can go deep. When you get to the heart, everything else follows. So I wish everyone well.

  2. No one can talk for some one else when it come to break up and relationship in this post seem somewhat insane for the exs wanting to spend time together what is there to be accomplish seen both people want to get back together and why leave his new girlfriend out of this two days meeting what is it for does not make sense to me it like a person willing to add salt to a warn

  3. Hi Bai!

    I feel your pain. I’m with my gf for 10 yrs and now she’s entertaining someone and me it seems I don’t exist. She ignored my messages. I don’t know what happened to her. She also changed a lot of things from being introvert type now it seems she talk to anyone. It’s like I don’t know her anymore.

    About your situation, I think your ex get jealous so bad that’s why he haven’t spoken to you after he discovered that you are talking to that someone. I think he assumed that you and your friend has a relationship.

    You know what how I wish people would take time before dating again

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Bai,

    My prayer for you is that you find peace and healing, and that you are able to move on with your life no matter what your ex-boyfriend is doing with his life. May you find ways to bring closure to your past, and let your ex-boyfriend go. May you know deep in your heart how long you should wait before starting a new relationship, and may you trust that your ex-boyfriend is moving on with his life the best way he knows. I pray for peace, joy, hope, and faith as you look forward to the next chapter of your life – and as you let the past stay in the past.


  5. My ex bf and i dated for over 4 years and broke up (my choice) almost 2years ago. After the break up we kept in touch until word got around that i was talking to someone who was purely just a friend. He ended up dating someone completely opposite to me right after hearing this. We haven’t spoken since and he almost seems annoyed at me. He’s been with this girl for close to 8months now and it looks to be pretty serious. I always hear how in love he is and always hear how he feels happier then when he was with me!?! We were happy, we had our issues but we were happy. I don’t know why he keeps rubbing this relationship in my face but my question is…am I that easy to forget? after years of knowing each other do we become easily forgettable? I also have to say that he’s lost motivation in everything that once meant a lot to him, career, privacy etc. He’s the complete opposite and looks as if he doesn’t give a s*** anymore. We were private now he’s just so open. Can you help me in anyway? I’ve asked around and I can never get anyone to reply to me :(

    1. I know this is three years too late, but I can tell you for sure. If he truly loves you he won’t stay with that girl for long because his behavior shows that he doesn’t love the other woman. He’s using her because he believes you’ve gotten over him and he wants to move ahead just like you did. Also if you broke up with him and you miss him and you want him back, it falls on you to get him back. If you love him be honest but before you do, take inventory to consider why you broke up in the first place and let it sink in. If it can’t be fixed, the relationship won’t be mended. Anyway, in time you will heal. So did you end up with him?