So you’ve just been broken up with — guess it’s time for a digital roll in the hay! But slow down, Romeo. Sure, online dating services make the temptation to find validation in others an enticing solution to your heartache. Yet not giving yourself enough time to emotionally recover from a split — especially a particularly painful one — might impair your chances at finding love in the future.
“Won’t a quick trip to the bone yard help get my mind off of things?” you ask. Even if the signs say you’re ready to jump back in the game doesn’t mean you are really ready. The truth is there’s no exact science to knowing when you’ll be ready. “What you have to remember is that to be happy with someone else, it’s important to be happy alone,” says life coach Maria Tellington. It is a hard truth: you won’t be ready to jump back online until you’re willing to date yourself.
This can be a frustrating waiting game, but Tellington encourages you to make it period of self-reflection and self-improvement. “Cultivate your hobbies and interests, indulge in self-care and make new friends,” she suggests. For harder breakups, it may be worth enlisting the help of a trained therapist. A hot trick may seem like a good listener, but even if they majored in psychology they aren’t a trained professional with your best interests in mind.
Not taking the time to consider how you’ve changed since the last time you were single and how this might impact the type of people you date moving forward may considerably stunt your love life. And it’ll show in your digital dalliances. Just because you broke up with your college boyfriend doesn’t mean you’re going to start acting like a sorostitute again. “Take some inventory of your previous relationship — what worked, what didn’t,” adds Tellington. “Identify the ways in which you’ll do things differently the next time.”
The good news is this period of dating yourself can be an exciting time where anything is possible. “After you’ve done all of this work, you’ll start to feel refreshed and healthy.” Only then will you be ready to attract someone else online who feels the same way. Your heart — and your libido — will thank you for waiting.
Benjamin Solomon is a freelance writer based in New York City. He was most recently the Editor-in-Chief of Next Magazine. He has contributed to Vanity Fair, Playbill, Details, Out magazine, Time Out New York, Today.com and has appeared on Biography Channel, East Village Radio and in Wallpaper magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @benjaminsolomon.