I recently discovered the magic of the secret Facebook group and it has completely transformed the site for me. What used to be a place to practice self-control in the face of ignorant statuses is now a source of tiny little communities I get to be a part of. Like recently, when a woman in a secret Facebook group for a podcast I listen to posted about her recent, painful split from her partner. She wrote, "Should you use dating apps right after a breakup?" And though she is but a stranger to me, I chimed in with an enthusiastic, "YAAAS!"
I want to frame my enthusiasm for getting back on the apps with a reminder that — as with all things in love and in life — the timeframe within which you should start dating again completely depends on your relationship, your breakup, and your state of mind. Did you break up a month ago? Download the sh*t out of the apps! A week ago? Eh, up to you. Did you break up yesterday? Forget about romance, just go eat a cookie.
Personally, I used to love to dwell on the past. I would dramatize my breakups by sprawling out on my bed naked while crying with my hand to my head like I was in a Renaissance painting or a Natalie Imbruglia song. And then I would take my sweet time getting back out there. That never helped me.
These days, I've changed my tune. No matter how painful the breakup is, I starting dating again — dating a lot. And it's not just me. One of my closest friends just got out of a seven-year relationship, and since her breakup, I haven't seen her as happy as I did right after she went on her first good date. Getting back out there works.
Downloading The Apps Doesn't Mean You're Completely Moving On
While we all handle breakups differently, as one who is quite pro-dating these days, I would encourage anyone who is suffering and unable to see the light at the end of the relationship tunnel to at least download one of these incredibly free apps. Pour yourself a glass of wine and start swiping, because now you can. It's not that bad: swiping on the apps feels like a game, attention is flattering, and you don't have to go on an actual date with anybody if you aren't ready just yet.
It's Also Completely OK To Wait To Start Dating Again
Not all of us are cut out for the Wild West of dating when we're in a bad place. If you're feeling downtrodden and low-energy, you don't want to bring that version of yourself out on dates. Relationship expert and matchmaker Nora DeKeyser of Three Day Rule says “I always recommend taking some time to yourself after ending a relationship."
If you've been in a long term relationship, or are constantly in relationships and haven't been single in awhile (or ever), I agree that it's incredibly important to spend time with yourself and be OK on your own. "Date yourself!" says DeKeyser. "Remember who you are as a separate person than who you were with your partner. This break helps you build confidence back in yourself, which in turn causes you to become more attractive to a potential new partner." Amen.
Swiping doesn't have to mean you're going to jump directly in a relationship, but I have seen friends get out of relationships, feel ill-equipped to handle being single, and jump into less than ideal situations. As sad as you might feel right now, feeling trapped in a sub-par relationship will only make you feel worse.
You'll Be Able To Tell When You're Ready
While I still believe that downloading and swiping and reminding yourself that you are attractive and fun is a great idea in the wake of a breakup, it's important that you listen to yourself when it comes to deciding when to actually date again. “If you feel yourself needing a partner to fill that void you miss, then you are not ready," explains DeKeyser. "If you feel yourself self-sufficient, happy, emotionally aware, and excited for the unknown to come, you are ready!”
It's 2018, we're all adult women, and I trust that we all know what's best for us, or at least try our best to meet our own needs. Remember that having a partner does not make you a more valuable or important person, and that taking some time to be actively single after a relationship can lead to enormous growth and yes, happiness. Or, you might want to flirt with a cutie on Tinder. Either way, you'll know what feels right to you.