If you’ve had your heart broken as a result of a failed relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you’re facing a lot of difficult thoughts and feelings.
One of the most common yet challenging struggles is the feeling of despair and loss of hope that comes after a breakup. It’s so hard to imagine not being frustrated or in pain that you find yourself wondering: Will I ever start dating again?
There’s no single approach to healing after a breakup, but with time, dating is possible. There are plenty of people in healthy relationships and marriages now who went through some serious heartbreak at other times in their lives.
Here are some things I suggest focusing your time and energy on as you engage in the healing process.
Forgiving someone after a breakup is no easy task, especially if cheating or cruel treatment were among the reasons for your breakup. But forgiveness is not only something you offer your former partner. It’s essential to forgive yourself.
Breakups and relationship problems can fill us with guilt and shame, which are often behind what makes us feel unlovable.
As you learn to forgive yourself, forgive your partner, and accept God’s forgiveness, you will find greater freedom, which will help you be open to the possibility of dating again in the future.
Remember, forgiveness is not about being okay with what happened, or letting things go right back to the way they were. You don’t even need to be in contact with someone in order to forgive them, especially if you feel unsafe around them.
Forgiveness and how it is practiced are different for everyone, based on the situation. Do the best you can, and take things one day at a time.
Get to Know Yourself
When we lose a relationship, we are often left feeling like we’ve lost a part of ourselves. Breakups certainly change us, but they don’t have to change us for the worse.
The time after a breakup can be one of self-exploration and self knowledge. Getting to know yourself is a great way to strengthen your character, rediscover your skills and talents, and build your self-esteem. All this will help you feel more confident and calm when the time comes to start dating again.
Don’t Let Fear Win
Sometimes, when I’m wondering if things will ever get back to normal after a big disappointment or heartbreak, I end up getting in my own way. There are all these “what ifs” that keep me from moving forward.
It’s normal and healthy to have some reservations about dating again. After all, you don’t want to rush into a new relationship when you don’t feel prepared, safe, or comfortable with the thought of new girlfriend or boyfriend.
But don’t let fear win. Do your best to shift your mindset about dating. Think of it as a new opportunity to learn and grow, rather than a scary new frontier.
Bolster your courage with the support of a therapist, someone you trust in your faith community, and close friends who you trust to support you on your healing journey. As the idea of dating and meeting new people becomes more positive, you’ll find yourself less afraid, less despairing, and more prepared to enjoy dating again.
It can be intimidating to know where to start, or who to talk to. We are here for you. Reach out to a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine anytime you need support healing after heartbreak. We’re here to listen and support you in the important work of strengthening your heart and growing in your self-confidence.
Recovering from a breakup can be a long process, but it is possible. For more help read, How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Breakup?