You’ve sent the drunk texts at 3am. You’ve exhausted the back-and-forward social media blocking. You’ve listened to My Chemical Romance and Blink-182 playlists more than you care to admit. You feel like you might finally be over that painful breakup…
And now, you finally feel ready to jump back into the dating pool (headfirst). Despite the multitude of saucy messages and late-night right swipes that you’re experiencing, the thought of dating after a break up still leaves you feeling panic-stricken by the very thought of dating someone new.
We have got your back in this tricky situation. We’ve put together a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to dating right after a breakup so you can experience the most painless return to singldom possible. And make sure to read to the end as there’s also an infographic!
We’ll start with the don’ts so you know which mistakes to avoid first.
Don’ts of Dating After a Breakup
1. No comparisons needed
According to fellow experts, comparison is the thief of joy when it comes to getting back in the dating game. Please, for the love of God, do not compare your date to your ex. Looks-wise, personality-wise, or any other-wise.
This rule applies both during the date and when swiping through dating apps. Spotted someone who looks alarmingly like your ex? Don’t use this as an opportunity to hold on to the past. Your ex blocked you from their Netflix account and this person doesn’t even own one? Let it go. It’s time to try to welcome someone new into your life.
2. No hardcore liquor
We don’t condone heavy drinking on any first date — although, let’s face it, sometimes it’s pretty inevitable. That being said, smashing down 10 shots of Patrón when you’re already in a fragile frame of mind is a no-go.
The more intoxicated you become while in a vulnerable place, the more likely it is that you will bring up the controversial and emotional topic of your ex, which is an extremely uncomfortable situation for your current date to be in. Duh.
3. No bringing up your ex
That brings us to our third point. Do not search for a reason to talk about your ex. Your date happens to be studying at the same university as your ex’s best friend’s third cousin? Irrelevant. If your date brings up the conversation of exes, lightheartedly say that you would rather talk about something else for now. Not only will this add a little mystique to your character, but it also shows that you’re focused on getting to know your date over anything else.
4. No familiar territory
It can be tempting to offer to meet your date at a place where you and your ex once frequented, or even where you had your first date together. This is because you’re holding onto associative memories and familiarity.
Heck, you might even secretly hope that you might bump into your ex mid-date, just to see how they’re getting on and show them that you’re right as rain again. You must combat this temptation by suggesting to meet your date somewhere entirely dissociated from your previous relationship. Pick a bar you’ve never been to and enjoy a new experience together.
5. No revenge dating
It’s easy to reenter the dating game for the entirely wrong reasons when you’re getting over a breakup. Perhaps your ex still watches your Instagram stories and you want to show them that you’re living an incredibly rich and fulfilling single life. So you go on multiple dates and social-media them up to your heart’s content, showcasing your new romances to the world.
This form of dating, often referred to as revenge dating, is both pointless and even bordering on unethical. Not only is your behaviour unfair and disrespectful to your current date, but it also defeats the purpose of you trying to move on to someone new.
Do’s of Dating After a Breakup
1. Remember why you’re single
It seems straightforward enough, but it’s worth keeping in mind the exact reason why and your ex are no longer together. People generally only remember rainbows and butterflies after a breakup. You and your ex are not together for a reason, whatever that reason may be. Let this reason empower you to get to know new people and date with gusto.
2. Be yourself
Your recent breakup has most likely left you lacking in self-confidence. This is completely natural. But don’t let it overshadow your authentic identity. You might try to ‘be someone else’ during your date so as to escape the person your ex is no longer with. This will only end in further heartbreak. Be yourself — it will go a long way.
3. Live in the moment
Don’t overthink the date. This is supposed to be enjoyable, not a torture session. Drink wine. Eat food (yup, all the food) and treat this as a chance to embrace life after a difficult few months. If things don’t work out with this person romantically, they could still become a close friend.
4. Don’t get under to get over
It’s 2023 and we’re no longer afraid to admit that sex can be bloody brilliant. That being said, studies have shown that the controversial method of ‘getting under someone to get over someone else’ only ends in further heartbreak.
By all means have sex on a first date if you feel like getting frisky and hooking up. But if the person you’re on a date with isn’t tickling your fancy and you’re only having sex with them to numb thoughts of your ex, it’s time to ditch the mission immediately.
5. Be assertive
It’s difficult to own your emotions when you’re in a vulnerable frame of mind. However, if you truly feel that the person you’re dating is not for you, don’t be afraid to tell them it’s not working out. It’s all too easy to string someone along when you know fine and well that you don’t see a future with them. Telling someone that you don’t want to be with them is not necessarily taking a step back in the process of your post-breakup blues.
You’re in a vulnerable place right now, but trust us when we say that dating (although it can be intimidating AF) will help you to regain your confidence and feel whole again.
Lisa is the editor of European Journal, and always makes time for everyone and lightens up lives with her presence.
When she finds time to write she writes about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.