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5 Signs You're Not Ready To Start Dating Again After A Breakup

If you're recovering from a breakup, chances are a well-meaning friend has advised you to just "get back out there" again. They might have told you the best way to get over your ex is to meet someone new, or perhaps shared some cliche about falling off a horse. But what if you're simply not ready to start dating again? Sure, finding someone new to date sounds great in theory, but deep down in your bones, you know your heart needs more time to heal. Well, according to Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach, it's important to trust your gut in this scenario. "It's very healthy, and often healing, to take your time to just enjoy being single before dating again. Contrary to what society tells you, it's best to take the time to grow as a person before you rush dating [again]," she tells Elite Daily.

If you're not sure how you're feeling, it might be a good idea to try some self-reflection and take an emotional inventory, so you know if you're ready to start dating again. Fortunately, there are some pretty clear signs you might need a little more time to heal before re-downloading Hinge. Here's what the experts say to be on the lookout for.

1. You Can’t Stop Comparing Your Dates To Your Ex.

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It's healthy to learn from past relationships, both about what you want and what you don’t. However, Chong says if you’re spending an entire date comparing this new person to your ex, you might not be over your ex yet. “This is definitely a sign … that there's no space for anyone in your heart. All you will be doing is seeking a replacement, which will only end up in disappointment and more heartbreak for you,” she warns.

2. You Take Disappointing Dates Harder Than Usual.

Dating can be a ton of fun, but it's not always smooth sailing. If you normally take the ups and downs of dating in stride, but now you find yourself feeling extra disappointed when a date doesn't work out, Chong says it's a red flag you're not quite ready to date again. “This means that you have very high expectations and are looking for people to fill them, which can be unrealistic,” she explains. This might also be a sign you're not fully prepared to be out there looking for someone new just yet.

3. You Dread The Thought Of Dating Again.

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“When you are struck by deep dread and fear at the thought of getting out there again,” Chong says you should listen to your gut and hold off a bit before dating post-breakup. That’s true even if you are being pressured to put yourself out there by well-meaning friends. “If you feel that way about dating, you're likely to not get much success,” she explains. “Your mindset is already pointed toward failure, and you will need more time to feel excited about dating before you get back out there again.”

4. Things Are Unresolved With Your Ex.

If you're not sure you want to start dating again because you’re in a grey area with your ex, then Lisa Concepcion, certified dating and relationship expert and founder of LoveQuest Coaching, tells Elite Daily it's likely a good idea to hold off. “If you're still in communication with the ex [or] you still have hope of getting back with them, this means you haven't let them go,” she explains. That just isn’t conducive to the proper headspace for meeting someone new.

Unresolved business with an ex includes keeping in contact over social media, as Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the Breakup BOOST podcast, tells Elite Daily.

5. You’re Dating Just To Feel Better.

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When you're healing from a broken heart, it's understandable that you'd want to do anything to feel better in the moment. However, if you're using dating as an emotional salve, Concepcion advises proceeding with caution, as that can set the wrong tone. Dating to repair your broken heart is an exercise in looking outward to be soothed, she explains. “This is a sign of codependency, which is a belief that love comes from outside the self and is earned,” Concepcion says. This can actually set you up for bigger heartbreak, she warns. “It puts you at risk of attracting narcissistic, predatory types who take advantage of vulnerability.” In that case, Concepcion advises, it's better to take some time to heal and practice self-love so you're in a better place to attract the right kind of partner when you do start dating again.

It's ultimately up to you to decide when you're ready. But if you're not sure what that feels like, Leckie suggests taking the time you need to focus on healing and personal growth. “When you feel whole on your own and as though you don’t ‘need’ someone, that is when you will be more selective, as well as attract someone of quality who can positively add to your life for the right reasons. You’ll prioritize chemistry and compatibility over not wanting to ‘be alone,'" she concludes. And at the end of the day, you deserve nothing less. When you're ready, great. Until then, enjoy the single life and the process of falling in love with someone amazing: Yourself.

Experts cited:

Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women

Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the Breakup BOOST podcast

Lisa Concepcion, certified dating and relationship expert and founder of LoveQuest Coaching