You just got ditched by your SO, and it feels pretty damn bad.
Your pride is hurt, but you are determined to prove you don't go down that easily.
You go out there, grab a drink and meet someone you really like. Well, maybe, not really, but it doesn't matter. You are determined to have fun and fully take advantage of your new relationship status, and nothing can stop you.
Before you grab that other person's hand and jump back into the exciting world of relationships or potential relationships, pause for a moment and ask yourself a few questions.
1. Would you be interested in this new person if circumstances were different?
It is not impossible that shortly after a breakup you meet someone awesome whose company you truly enjoy.
In fact, if you have been in some toxic relationship and finally got out of it, meeting someone decent might be a reward for your courage. In that case, more power to you.
However, much more often, we end up with people we otherwise wouldn't find attractive or interesting. They just seem attractive and interesting because our hearts are broken.
We use these people to drown our sorrows and mute our pain. This is not fair to that person, or to you.
More importantly, it simply doesn't work.
When you are in pain, it is tempting to think that someone will come and cure your woes, but the truth is that there are no such doctors out there.
A quick fling after a major breakup might temporarily increase your endorphins level, but it will not cure your heart. Actually, it will probably leave you feeling even emptier than before.
Bottom line: do not get involved with another person unless you feel genuinely interested in them and are sure that this interest is not just an attempt to forget your misery. You will feel much better about yourself and much more in control of your life if you say “no” to the wrong opportunities.
2. What really motivates you right now?
What is driving me to talk to this person right now? Am I really enjoying myself, of am I thinking about how angry my ex would be right now if he or she saw me with someone?
Am I attracted to this person, because he or she reminds me of my lost partner?
Am I doing this because I'm afraid to be alone? Am I just trying to resurrect my shattered self-confidence?
If your motivation is in any way related to pain or fear, step away.
You cannot silence your inner voice by making someone else shout into your ear at a nightclub. You cannot get rid of your pain until you dare to deal with it directly.
When you do something to run away from your fears and insecurities, they start chasing you and grow bigger. The only way to defeat them is to turn around and stare them in the face.
3. What do you feel when you think about your ex?
Ending a relationship can be an extremely painful process.
Yet, we often try to disguise our fresh wounds by putting on an I-don't-give-a-damn attitude and dashing into the battlefield, pretending we are ready for another blow. It is when we feel vulnerable that we try to protect ourselves with a mask of indifference, but pretending that we are ok only makes us more vulnerable.
If you want to find out if you have really recovered after the breakup, think about your ex. What do you really feel? Do you miss him or her? Would you go back if he or she asked you to? Would you slap him in the face if he showed up at your door? Would you really be able to see her with another guy and not feel hurt?
If thinking about your ex still causes you pain, you are not ready for a new relationship, even if that relationship only lasts one evening. This new person might be an amazing individual and even a good match for you, but you will not be able to open up to him or her until you heal. And getting involved with someone who is far from amazing will likely leave you unfulfilled and even more depressed.
It is ok to take time to recover and even grieve. The loss of someone you feel attached to is a severe blow, and it is quite normal to feel that your world is falling apart.
Give yourself time to heal. Cry about it. Talk about it. Write about it. Live it through. Just make sure you do it with the right people.