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Are You Ready To Date Again?

Updated on September 24, 2008

After a relationship break up or divorce, it can be hard to know when to start dating again. Some people's advice is to get right back up on that horse, but more times than not, that approach leads to the newly single dater hurting someone else who doesn't deserve to be hurt. It should go without saying that other people's hearts and bodies are not devices by which you should attempt to get over a prior relationship.

Instead of rushing into a new relationship, it is important to give yourself time to heal from the previous relationship, and to learn from it, so that your love life does not turn into a string of broken relationships.

How long this process takes can vary greatly from person to person, and only you can really decide whether you are ready or not. To help you in that decision, here are some questions to ask yourself before you start dating again.

Have You Forgiven Yourself?

Part of getting over a relationship is forgiving yourself not just for any bad things you may have done in that relationship, but also for allowing yourself to be hurt. Sometimes ( this applies to women especially) we blame ourselves for the pain of a broken relationship, we blame ourselves for everything that went wrong, for not choosing a partner better, for allowing ourselves to be hurt. If you're still stuck in this cycle of self recrimination, it will be nigh impossible to move on to a new healthy relationship, because you will be acting out of a fear of not wanting to be hurt again, which ironically, is precisely the way to be hurt again.

Do you feel cynical about the opposite sex and people in general?

In this day and age it is hard to find someone who isn't a little cynical, but when caused by heartbreak, cynicism can become so deeply embedded in one's thought process that one actually starts to believe that everyone in the world is bad. Obviously this is not a particularly attractive mindset to bring to the table with someone who wants to care for you. If you're mired in cynicism, spend some time consciously deciding to see the beauty in the world. There is plenty of it, and in reality it far outweighs the bad. If you don't see any beauty, create some. Then know that you are not the only person who desires love and is prepared to be loyal. The world is full of them, it's just hard to see them when you're viewing the world through slits in your protective bunker of cynicism.

Do you feel worthy?

Ask yourself this honestly. Do you feel worthy of being loved again? Do you believe that you deserve a secure, loving relationship? If you don't, then dating becomes very hazardous, as you attract those who will treat you badly, and reject those who will treat you well. Most of this happens subconsciously, with your conscious mind rationalizing the decisions in all manner of ways. For some people, the nice dates might seem 'boring', whilst the nasty ones might seem exciting and dangerous. You might rationalize things differently, but at the end of the day, if you are tired of being treated badly by boyfriends and girlfriends, it may be time to step back and look at your beliefs about yourself before you go out into the world and start putting yourself on the line.

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