Answer These Questions to See If You're Ready to Date Again

Updated 06/01/19
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@lucywilliams02

After experiencing heartache, the decision to date again is anything but casual. Not only are you opening yourself up to the potential for hurt, but you're also saying yes to vulnerability and, in turn, the fear that can come with letting your true self be seen. But in the words of best-selling author and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown, "vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness."

If you’re wondering if you should reenter the dating scene, some self-reflection and soul-searching will help. We've outlined major ideas to think through before putting yourself out there in the dating world again, and we've also included a quiz by psychologist Randi Gunther, so you can truly know if it's time or not.

Are You Over Your Ex?

Do you still bring up your ex in daily conversations? Do you find yourself thinking about them more than you’d like to admit? Do you spend your free time online tracking their social presence?

The reality is that for you to find happiness and success in the dating world, it’s imperative that you’re not still hung up on your ex. After all, if you refuse to give someone else a chance because you’re still firmly invested in the past, it’ll be a slim chance that you’ll be able to have any sort of future with someone new.

Are You Willing to Make Yourself Vulnerable?

Reentering the dating scene can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve been hurt in the past or find yourself just getting out of a relationship. If you’ve been left heartbroken or let down before, why would you want to put yourself in a painful position again?

To be truly ready to go back into the dating scene, you have to be able and willing to open up and make yourself vulnerable, as it’s the only way to truly build a connection with someone new.

Are You Available?

When it comes to reentering the dating world, it’s important that you’re not only emotionally available, but physically available as well. Dating takes time and calls for a large commitment, and if you’re not willing to make dating a priority, it may be more difficult for you to derive any pleasure or success from it.

Remember, everyone’s busy and has many different commitments, both personal and professional. But when you’re ready to start dating again, you’ll stop making excuses and will be able to make a real commitment to devote your time and energy to it. 

Do You Have a Positive Outlook?

If you’re trying to determine if you should start dating again, it’s important to focus on your personal view of dating itself. Are you hopeful and confident about finding someone? Do you believe that love is possible for you?

If you’re more of a pessimist than an optimist when it comes to finding someone special, you’re actually setting yourself up to fail. Your negative expectations will likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Do You Want to Date Again?

The personal decision to reenter the dating world has to come from you and you alone, and if you’re being pressured by friends, family or even society to get back into the dating scene, it is far from healthy or productive. While others may insist that you download dating apps, sign up for dating sites and go to singles events, these actions will only be fruitful and beneficial for you if you actually have the desire to date again.

However, if you feel in your gut and in your heart that you need more time, you should take it, no matter what others may be telling you.

As soon as you’re excited and energized about the prospect of meeting someone new, it’s likely that your future dating experiences will be far more prosperous. 

Quiz: 15 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Dating

On that note, there are certain steps you can take to gauge whether or not you're ready to take that next step into the dating world. Clinical psychologist and marriage counselor Randi Gunther has outlined the 15 questions to ask yourself before dating again, with five different results ranging from "You're not ready to date yet," to "It's time to get back out there." Here's her system: 

Answer each question using this scale:

1 = Rarely
2 = Some of the time
3 = Pretty often
4 = A lot of the time
5 = Most of the time 

  1. I think about the next person I’m going to fall in love with. ____
  2. I think that I will eventually find the person I want. ____
  3. I believe that I was a worthwhile partner.  ____
  4. I trust that the future holds some great new relationship adventures. ____
  5. People get over the pain from their lost relationships. ____
  6. I believe that losing an important relationship has made me a stronger person. ____
  7. My friends tell me that I’m healed from my loss. ____
  8. I think of the good things I did in the relationship. ____
  9. I believe that my partner did truly care for me. ____
  10. I still trust that people are basically good. ____
  11. I treasure the positives in intimate relationships. ____
  12. I believe that I’ve learned what I need to know to try dating again. ____
  13. I feel renewed confidence in knowing what to do differently the next time around. ____
  14. I trust that most people “ghost” other people because they don’t want to hurt them. ____
  15. Things work out the way they’re supposed to. ____

1 = Rarely
2 = Some of the time
3 = Pretty often
4 = A lot of the time
5 = Most of the time 

Now add up your total score:

1-15: You're not ready to date yet.
16-30: You should probably wait a bit, and focus on hanging out with good people who love you.
31-45: You’re beginning to heal.
46-60: You're very close.
61-75: It's time to get back out there.

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