Getting back out there when you are still heartbroken is no small feat, and your first date after a breakup is basically an act of bravery. You might not feel like moving on, but gosh darnit, you're going to do it anyway. So whether you're going back out again after a six-month mourning period or you're hitting the town the next night for a rebound, you ought to commemorate yourself for being so willing to let go of a relationship that was no longer serving you. At the same time, you want to ask yourself some questions to make sure your intentions are clear.
After being heartbroken, receiving and giving affection can be confusing AF. Assuming you are an even remotely compassionate person, you don't want to put your date in the awkward position of being a stand-in for your ex. Depending on how much time you've had to heal from your previous relationship, emotions of varying intensity are going to rise up. You're inevitably going to end up thinking about your ex at some point — how good or bad they were for you, and how your date measures up. My best advice? Feel the feels as they come. They all offer you important information in your healing process. Then, once you let yourself feel everything, ask yourself these questions to process.
1. What Do I Want From This Encounter?
Think about what you want without any shame. Do you need to have sex with someone else, so your ex wasn't the last person you slept with? Do you need to just go out and prove that you can have a good time without them?
There's no right answer to any of these questions; what you want is totally what you want, but it will change the way in which you approach the date. Finding someone to have sex with is much different from finding someone whom you're going to go out and have fun with. Also, establishing whether or not you want to have sex will help you be clear about how far you really want to go on this first date, so you don't do something you might later regret.
2. How Can I Clearly Communicate My Expectations?
Consent always needs to be a priority when you're dating. Clearly communicating where you are emotionally and what you are looking for is one of the forms that consent takes. If you're totally DTF and someone else is looking for a more meaningful relationship, then they have the right to pursue that. Don't give your date the wrong idea about what you're looking for.
That goes for sex, too. If this is just a one-time hookup, establish that beforehand. Your date is a person with feelings and doesn't deserve to be treated like a sub-human being just because you met them in the aftermath of your relationship. Oh, and one more thing: You can mention once that you're just getting out of a breakup, but then, don't talk about it unless you're planning on paying your date for being your therapist.
3. What Will I Do In The Aftermath Of This Date To Ensure I Stick To My Intentions?
This is the tricky part, particularly when you are still getting over someone. If the date is a disaster, you might feel tempted to get in contact with your ex. Ditto if it's amazing, as you might want to rub it in your ex's face. Don't. Do not allow this encounter to be an accessory to your relationship. It can be its own event, within the context of whatever you are going through right now. But do not relate it back to your ex.
After a date, all typical rules apply. If you said you would call your date, then you should call them. If you said that it was just a hookup, and you second-guess yourself, stick to your guns. The sex might have been good, but that's no excuse to behave like a f*ck boy. Whatever you planned to get out of a date, make sure that how you behave in the aftermath stays true to your intentions. And if you had fun and were open to meeting someone new, then you should ask them out again. What do you have to lose?
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