There's no better way to get over a guy than by getting under a new one, right?
Alas, love is a battlefield, and many of us feel the need to declare ourselves the victor simply by being the one to move on first. We want to be the one to end it first, the one to go on another date first and the one to ultimately get married first.
The problem is, while we're bringing in gold in the speedy competition, we're dragging overall in the happiness olympics. No matter how big a smile is plastered on someone's face, the true winner of a breakup is the one who finds joy and, ideally, a meaningful relationship independent of the other.
A lifelong bond can't be rushed or formed out of vengeance. Logically, we know this.
But emotionally, we're fragile. We're ruled by egos and a desire to make an ex realize exactly what they're missing, so we make impulsive decisions that end up hurting us more than they help us. We run back to familiar but destructive partners. We immediately download old dating apps and update our accounts.
We try to get back to life as we left it, as if nothing ever happened.
But something did happen. Your life was touched and changed by another person.
So before you go ahead and hook up with someone new, ask yourself a few questions.
1. Do you need time?
If you're the dumpee, this answer should be obvious. The loss of any relationship, no matter how small, deserves to be properly grieved.
If the breakup was unexpected or unwanted, dating someone new right away will only make you feel worse because that person is not your ex. Give yourself the appropriate time to heal.
If you're the dumper, you may also be thinking this answer is a no-brainier. But before you go reveling in your newfound freedom, exercise moderation.
Chances are, the exploits you've been craving were limited in your relationship for a reason, and there's nothing to make you realize a mistake like meaningless and unfulfilling sex.
Not to mention, any chance of reconciliation is likely shot once you take that step, so step wisely.
2. Are you hoping this will bring you back together?
As counterintuitive as it sounds, some people believe that hooking up with someone else will strengthen or salvage their past relationship. This is not the case. If you need another person to test your bond with your partner, what you have is already broken.
While couples may benefit from time apart, any intimate relationships entered into during that time period will definitely be hard to forgive and even harder to forget.
3. Are you happy on your own?
Do you want to find someone new because your life is awesome and you want to share it with someone else? Or are you hoping that someone new will fill the hole your ex left in your life and provide companionship during the lonely days and nights?
If it's the latter, ask yourself whether you miss unique things about your ex or just the idea of a relationship and feel of a warm body. Identifying the source of your longing will help you move past the pain.
4. Can you give a new person the attention they deserve?
Are you able to fully commit to a mature relationship right now? Have you gotten over your ex and figured out what you want in a partner?
Can you give a new suitor the interest they deserve, without judgment or fear of them repeating your ex's behavior? If so, you may be ready to move on.
Don't date because you feel you have to or that your biological clock is ticking. When you're ready to put yourself out there again, you'll know it. In the meantime, devote time to friends, family and charities that will gladly accept all the love you have to share and give it to you tenfold in return.