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Monday, August 25, 2008

How quickly should I start dating after a relationship breakup?

by Susie and Otto Collins, Relationship Coaches

After a breakup, it's important to take some time to figure out what you learned by being in that relationship, what you would have liked to have done differently, and what you want from a new relationship. While it's important to take some time to heal, it's also important not to take too much time focusing on the past.

In other words, there are no hard and fast rules about when to start dating again. With that being said, here are five guidelines for knowing when or if it's time to start getting out in circulation again...

1. Make sure that you have made completions around old relationships. If you need to do some work around forgiving your ex, do it. If you need to stop thinking about how things used to be with an ex before your breakup, do it. You are not ready to begin dating and attract anyone who you will truly want to be with if you are still emotionally tied to someone else. Don't begin dating to blot out the memory of an old relationship. Do your healing first!

2. If you have relationship trust issues (most people do after a breakup), begin learning how to build trust in new relationships. Make a list of how you and your ex destroyed trust and then make another list of how you can build trust with a new partner. If you get stumped, start thinking about how you like to be treated in relationships and make your list from those thoughts.

3. If you had jealousy issues in your previous relationship, you need to learn how to overcome jealousy before you begin dating. Many people believe that the problem will fix itself if you are in a new relationship. Wrong! Jealousy will just keeping showing up in new relationships over and over again until it has been dealt with.

4. Decide if you want a monogamous relationship or not and how you'd like to be treated. In dating situations, there are often unclear expectations around infidelity and what that means. The breakup might have been caused largely because of infidelity in past relationships so it's even more important to start a new relationship with clear agreements and to absolutely know what you want.

5. Be open to meeting new people--not with the idea of finding your perfect romantic partner, but rather to learn how to open your heart once again to others. So often a new partner will show up quite unexpectantly if you're not looking. So open to being who you really are, with no false masks, and begin to live your new future.

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