It turns out the most important thing to do when dating is also the most crucial step to take post-breakup: Nourish yourself with the appropriate people, space, and time.
According to a Glamour magazine report on how long people should wait to start dating after a breakup, there’s no specific time period, but psychologists recommend waiting a beat instead of immediately jumping into a rebound relationship.
Psychologist and author of Dating From the Inside Out, Paulette Kouffman Sherman, Psy.D., confirmed to Glamour that there is no accurate way to count the amount of time one needs to properly heal after ending a relationship. However, she says, one month is a sound period of time to wait before returning to the ultra-vulnerable place that is dating. Here that, part of you that starts scoping cute guys immediately? One. Month!
“Most people need a month or two to process the breakup, to mourn, and to integrate lessons before jumping back in if they were in a fairly serious relationship,” Kouffman Sherman said. As a dating expert, the doctor recommends that after ending a relationship of a year or longer, people should take three to four months to heal, while a shorter relationship will probably need less time to recover from.
But, of course, the grieving process is individual and indeterminate. The most important factor to consider is one’s state of mind. Recovery doesn’t signify forgetting, but the healthiest way to recover from terminated romances is to heal with productivity. Taking some time to yourself is good — perhaps not as sexy as a rebound — but it’s better in the long-run.
Playing the self-love game reinforces our independence, which is a critical factor in upholding healthy relationships. It also provides time and space to reflect on what did and didn’t work in the terminated relationship. This reflective stage can feel painful and uncomfortable, but it’s a gift at its core.
“The ends of relationships teach us so much about ourselves: our style of communication, whether that style is effective or not, how we handle insecurities, conflict, and co-existing as an individual and as part of a two-some simultaneously,” said another contributing psychologist, Sanam Hafeez, Psy.D.
At the end of the day, whether you go to bed alone, next to a new person you swiped right on, or curled up with a book by a supposed dating expert, the only person who really knows what you need is you.