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.
In 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.
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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
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.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.
May your new relationship be filled with peace, joy, and connection.