Dating after a breakup, statistically speaking, is actually a good idea. However, in my research I’ve found that there is a huge drawback that many people seem to neglect. So today I want to do an in-depth look at both sides of the fence.
- I’d like to take you through what the science says about dating someone else after a breakup
- I’d like to show you the drawback of doing so
- I’d then like to show you what I would recommend
Let’s get right into it!
What The Science Says About Dating After A Breakup
Well, statistically and psychologically, the advantages for dating after the breakup are certainly there.
In fact, if you actually look at the psychology, most people who have studied the field of breakups would actually tell you that you should absolutely be dating after the breakup.
But I always think it’s a little bit more complicated than that.
So, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to actually take you through what the statistics and science say, and I’m going to show you what I’ve actually seen in the field from real-life people who have dated after a breakup.
The Avoidant Psychology
Dating after the breakup is one of the smartest strategies that you can employ if you actually want your ex back.
This seems kind of counterintuitive, but our research has found that most of our clients are attempting to try to get avoidant exes back.
Now, avoidant exes are people who tend to be very avoidant by nature, as the name suggests, but they also tend to grasp onto their independence and don’t want to let it go.
They’re a contradiction.
They want to be lone wolves, but at the same time, they also want to be close to someone. And so, this leads them to kind of be in and out of relationships, and it can often leave people quite confused when they date them.
But here’s the thing: When you actually study avoidance, because of their innate need for independence, they’re actually not going to start missing you or start reminiscing about you until they feel like you have completely moved on.
So, if you play into this avoidance psychology, having them actually see you out on a date with someone else allows them to lower their defenses and starts to trigger them to have these nostalgic, reverie-based memories.
I actually talked about this in one of my YouTube videos.
I found some really great research from this avoidance psychology website called freedoattach.com.
So, basically, the quote goes like this:
“Avoidants are free to long for an ex once that person is unavailable, out of a relationship, and typically out of contact. So they’re untouched by the actual engagement and their deactivation systems aren’t triggered, revealing their long-suppressed attachment and switching their operating attachment from fear of engulfment to fear of abandonment.”
So, basically, by you moving on and appearing unavailable and out of a relationship, an avoidant lowers their guard and starts to view you with fondness.
This is actually one of the reasons we, as a collective coaching practice, have suggested, that it might be a good idea for you to date other people after a breakup.
It creates this fear of loss and helps your ex believe that you are over them.
But that’s not the only research I was able to find that supports this idea of going on dates after a breakup.
Becoming Less Attached To Old Partners
According to this article (source), going on dates after a breakup will help you become less attached to old partners.
However, I guess the one criticism I have here is that you should be cautious about transitioning from one codependent relationship to another.
What I mean by this is, while we’ve found that most of our clients’ exes tend to be avoidant, the majority of our clients tend to be anxious.
Anxious individuals often fall victim to codependent relationships.
They enter a relationship believing that they need the other person to complete them and lose their identity and sense of self in the process. This makes the breakup all the more intense when it occurs.
This research essentially found that, hey, by dating someone else, you’ll become less attached to your ex.
But I would argue that this doesn’t matter much if you maintain the same codependent mindset. If you view relationships as needing another person to make you whole, then you’re likely to jump from one codependent relationship to another, repeating the cycle. Nevertheless, that’s the science on that.
It’ll Make You More Confident
Also, I found this research from Claudia Brumbaugh—(source)—where she basically found that dating someone else in the post-breakup period can actually make you feel more confident and desirable.
This is actually something I have observed in the field.
One of the most interesting success story interviews I’ve ever done was with a woman named Jamie Cantrell.
She was very adamant about the fact that it’s important for you, after a breakup, to start dating other men.
She literally swore by it.
Take this quote for example:
“The one thing that worked for me, and I know many people criticize this because I mentioned it in a Facebook post and some disagreed with my approach, is that I jumped back into the dating scene immediately. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, I felt I didn’t have any time to waste given that I’m 53. I’m also a goal-oriented person. If I want a loving, committed relationship, I’ll pursue it. However, I’m very selective, so it has to be with the right guy.”
She just jumped right back into the dating scene and would go on date after date after date.
What she found by approaching us is that every subsequent date made her feel more and more confident. By doing so, not only did she create this fear of loss, but her ex actually asked for her back.
She declined because she realized,
“Hey, I have all these guys that find me attractive. I feel more confident than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. This is amazing. I don’t need you anymore.”
So yes, going on dates can make you feel more confident and desirable.
But of course, there’s a pretty big drawback.
The Big Drawback With Dating Other People After A Breakup
While the science advocates for dating post-breakup, and though we still recommend it, we’ve noticed that almost every client we’ve advised about dating post-breakup struggles initially when they start dating again.
Even the woman I highlighted earlier, Jamie Cantrell, who was a staunch advocate for it, found it challenging at first.
Reflect on this quote from here:
“I would cry on the way to a date and even quicker on the way home from the date. My heart was still broken, but, much like a job I didn’t like, I forced myself to go out and meet people.”
This approach by Jamie stirred some controversies. Many in our community criticized her, particularly for forcing herself to date as one might force themselves to attend an undesirable job.
What this implies is that perhaps waiting a certain duration post-breakup before dating again might be more ideal.
But the question remains: how long should one wait?
How Long Should You Wait Before Dating?
I’ve hinted at the answer previously.
The ideal time to start dating someone new is when you feel you’ve outgrown your ex. But even more critical than the timeline is the mindset of embracing an interdependent relationship.
I recently interviewed Julia Kristina, a professional psychologist from Canada.
We had an enlightening conversation on various topics, including codependency, boundaries, and avoidance.
A vital takeaway from our discussion was the importance of interdependence.
Contrary to popular belief, the opposite of codependence isn’t independence; it’s interdependence. In an interdependent relationship, both parties support each other while maintaining a robust sense of individuality. If there isn’t an element of mutual need, then what’s the purpose of the relationship? Are the individuals just living parallel lives?
Being interdependent means recognizing the need for another person in specific areas of life.
It’s crucial to approach a relationship understanding that you don’t need another person to complete you. You should already view yourself as complete. This mindset forms the foundation of every interdependent relationship.
We should be striving for a relationship where both parties are complete, and together, they complement each other. When you genuinely embrace this mindset, dating will no longer feel like an obligation. Yes, statistics advise dating post-breakup, and I concur.
However, the timing is pivotal, not only for your mental well-being but also considering your ex. If reconciliation is a consideration, sometimes delaying dating might be more beneficial. That delay could coincide with a time when your ex begins to miss you.
If they see you dating during this period, it might trigger nostalgia and positive memories from your past relationship.