Breakups are awful, BAD breakups are EXTRA awful and almost all breakups can leave you feeling a little depleted, confused and tired.
But how can you know when you're ready to get back out there?
Well, there used to be a rule that it took a person twice as long as the relationship lasted to get over someone. And I mean, THAT sucks and definitely isn't a law of love. If you were with someone 5 years, it will not take you a decade to get over them.
However, there are a few things you'll want to make sure you do before you dive back into the big pond full of crazy kinds of fish.
Here is how you can tell you're ready to start dating again:
You've stopped crying for no reason.
Whenever we're emotionally fragile, our emotions can come out in weird ways.
For me, when I had my heart broken, things as simple as my coffee tasting poorly would ruin my day.
And if I saw an old person trying to cross the street, FORGET ABOUT IT. I'd have to call in sick and take time to go home and sob my eyes out.
Whenever this emotional roller coaster ends, you'll notice. If you can get through a commercial with puppies or babies in it without the waterworks, consider it progress.
Significant time passes where you don't think about them.
"Significant time" might mean a day or two because let's face it: Bad breakups haves sticking power.
But if you find you've made it through a whole workday or weekend without thinking about them, then that's a great step in the right direction.
The more distance you can put between the times when you start thinking about them, the closer you are to getting back out there.
You are physically turned on by someone else.
Suddenly noticing your co-workers Steve's broad shoulders? Wondering what the guy on the train smells like?Feeling a little yummy-yummy in the tummy-tummy*? That's freaking awesome.
Nothing says sayonara to an old boyfriend faster than someone else setting all your hot spots to "scalding."
Every single thing doesn't remind you of them.
Pro-tip: Go for a drive and see how it feels.
If you can go past the restaurants you used to go to, that spot where he made that terrible dad joke and the Dunkin' Donuts where you always picked up his coffee without full-on spiraling out of control, you're cleared to head out into the world wide unknown of dating. GO GET 'EM!
You don't "hate everyone" anymore.
Sometimes, when we're miserable, it feels great to really dwell in that negativity. By that I mean, maybe you "swore off men forever" after this breakup, or you decided you hated everyone because "WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT?!"
Don't worry, that'll pass. You'll start to miss your friends and feeling anything besides loneliness. When you start to enjoy others' company again, consider that progress.
You can see the things you did wrong, too.
In the beginning, it might be easiest to blame them for everything. And TBH, it'd be great if most breakups were only one person's fault, but that's almost never the case.
Usually, a breakup is a culmination of a series of things gone wrong, and both people have a hand in that.
So if you can objectively look back on what went wrong and recognize your part in it, that's, like, super mature, and you deserve a medal AND a night out on the town.
Plus, sounds like you're in an emotionally stable place to trust yourself and others again.
You don't feel like you NEED a relationship.
When a relationship ends, it might leave you feeling a little naked. Maybe you instinctually start thinking, "When will I find someone again?" "Am I going to be alone forever?" "Ugh, how EXHAUSTING it is to date!"
Eventually, these unhelpful and stupid thoughts will go away. And perhaps you don't think about your "next relationship" at all.
Seriously, I swear to whomever you take seriously as a spiritual presence, love always shows up when you aren't looking for it.