When it comes to figuring out how long you need to heal before jumping into a new relationship, there isn't really one across-the-board, concrete answer. Each person heals in their own time, regardless of how long it may take — weeks, months, or even years. In the midst of your healing process, you may meet someone who makes you feel all the feels, and it might make you wonder if you're ready to move on or not. I spoke to three experts, and they all agreed that there isn't a specific amount of time you have to wait before you dive into a new relationship, but that it fully depends on you.
"It's helpful to have time after a breakup to redefine your own sense of self, outside of a relationship, and that timeframe varies for everyone," Elle Huerta, CEO and founder of heartbreak recovery app Mend, tells Elite Daily. "There's no magic formula for knowing when you're ready." As excited as you may be about this new person, before you decide to take that step and start dating again, Huerta recommends asking yourself a few questions: "Have you been able to reflect on what you learned in your last relationship, and what you want in your next one? Is the driving force behind this new relationship more fear-based (loneliness, insecurity) or is it that you're genuinely interested in this new person?"
Once you've reflected on what you learned from your breakup and what you want in your next relationship, and you've established that you genuinely want to dive into something new with someone new, chances are you're ready to start dating again. But, "if you are in a lot of pain or struggling emotionally, you need to allow enough time to pass so that you truly feel ready to date again," Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the breakup BOOST podcast, tells Elite Daily. "When you find yourself no longer pining over your ex," that's a good sign. Granted, it's normal to still care about them. They were a big part of your life for some time, but that doesn't mean you haven't healed from the breakup.
Susan Winter, relationship expert and love coach, tells Elite Daily that it's not so much the physical time between your breakup and the start of something new that shows you're ready. It depends more on whether or not you're emotionally or mentally available enough for a new relationship. "If you're still licking your wounds, obsessed with your ex, steeped in anger, yearning for revenge, stalking your ex's every move on social media, crying yourself to sleep, [and/or] feeling desperate, weak, or needy," you're not ready to start dating again, she says. If you decide to get into a new relationship when you're still not completely over your ex, it's not fair to you, and it's not fair to your possible new boo, either.
If you decide to take that step toward a new relationship, and then you start to notice you may not have been ready yet, Huerta reminds us that nothing is permanent. "If you find that you've jumped into something too soon, you always have the power to take a step back and slow things down," she says. "Life isn't black and white, so know that it's normal to still think about your ex as you move into the next phase of your life." But just because thoughts about your ex work their way into your mind every so often doesn't mean you're not ready to move on. Huerta recommends writing down what you're feeling or talking it over with a friend, and then continuing to move forward.
Just thinking about whether or not you're ready is a good sign that you're on the right track, Winter says. "If you’re unsure as to whether you’re ready to date, you’re actually closer to being ready. That means you’re thinking things through and questioning your feelings," instead of running headfirst toward a relationship without thinking, she explains. "That can’t happen without some level of emotional stability." So, while there is no concrete timeframe you need to wait between a breakup and a new relationship, it really depends on you and whether or not you feel ready. Take things slow, and remember: If you start something new and you realize it's too much too soon, you can always take a step back.