When do I have to start dating again?

Hi Meredith,

I dated a guy for just over a year and a half. We met at college orientation, talked on and off for years, and then finally started dating senior year. The majority of our relationship was long-distance and spent traveling back and forth between states for weekend visits. In October, it will be two years since we broke up. We used to joke about who would move to the other state all the time, and talked about getting married. I was blindsided when my friend found him on Bumble. I confronted him and he said the profile was made with his friends when they were all drunk, and then was deleted the next morning. I believed him. In that same conversation he started talking about how he's not as happy in the relationship, and through tears and I love yous, we broke up. I was totally blindsided and devastated. To say my world was crushed would be an understatement.

We continued texting and Snapchatting each other for a year and a half after we broke up; sometimes flirty, sometimes just mundane chit chat. I know if we lived closer to each other, we would've ended up meeting up. Even though I knew it wasn't the best for me, I loved talking to him and feared that one day I wouldn't have him in my life anymore. It's now been months since I've heard from him, and I'm feeling pressured by family and friends to start dating again. I even joined a dating app. While I'm trying to get into it, I'm struggling. I still miss my ex, and I just don't feel like dating again. It's almost been two years and I'm afraid I'll feel like this forever. Any advice on how to move on? Should I still not be dating? How long is too long to wait?

-Stuck


It hasn't been two years. Not really.

You spent an extra year and a half communicating with this ex, which means you've only had a few months without him. You're finally in the acceptance phase of this breakup, and, understandably, it's a little bit miserable.

There's no formula for getting over a bad breakup, no specific equation that tells you when you should date again or how long it should take to feel better. Sometimes it's easy to move on because everyone is ready, but that's not how it worked with you. You wanted so much more and you never quite got it. (I'm not trying to make you feel worse; I just want to validate all of these feelings.)

The good news? It sounds like you're ready to be unstuck. You want to feel something different – like happiness. That's excellent. What's even better is that you can get unstuck without dating. You can make new friends, take a class (not to meet someone, but to learn), and go on a vacation, maybe on your own. You can change your scenery. 

Moving on isn't always about finding new love. You do not have to start dating again, so ignore all of that pressure. Start by planning great experiences for yourself. Find things to look forward to. That's how it starts.

– Meredith

Readers? Is it time to date? When do you know you're ready?