On September 19, it was reported that Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from her husband Brad Pitt, citing irreconcilable differences. The duo had tied the knot in August 2014. It’s been just over a couple of months since the divorce, and it’s being reported that Pitt is already looking for love. A report said that the actor “is looking for someone to bring light into his life after all the drama”. However, according to experts, getting into a new relationship immediately after a breakup is not advisable.
Dr. Suyog V Jaiswal, assistant professor in psychiatry, HBT Medical College, says, “Such relationships, or dating on a ‘rebound’ as it’s called, can indirectly affect you and your new relationship. The emotional wounds that one sustains post a breakup need to be healed. Getting into a rebound relationship masks the old wounds and may create problems in the long run.”
In the aftermath of a breakup, some are driven by their new found freedom to jump into the “single life” rather quickly. They have changed their status on Facebook and are excited to mix and mingle. After a few nights out at the new hot spot in town, or the local sports bar to watch the game, your hormones are looking for some attention. How do you know if you are ready to date again?
#1: End the Chapter
If there are any unresolved emotional, financial, or logistical matters from your previous relationship, bring them to a resolution as much as possible before dating again. Pictures, clothes, and other personal effects at each other’s house keep the door open for unresolved feelings and an urge to communicate. Either tell her/him to throw the items away or set up a time to exchange them. Reading old text messages, emails, letters, and looking through old pictures is a sign that you are not ready to move on. It sounds a little dramatic, but breaking up, or the loss of a relationship, is still a loss. It is common to go through the stages of grieving as if someone has died. Ultimately, finding a place of acceptance with the loss of the relationship and all of the feelings related to the breakup is a part of the healing process.
#2: Find Your Fault
During the breakup process, it is common to the play the Blame Game. “She was selfish and worked all the time” or “He was cheating on me” or “She was insecure and jealous”. All of these things may be true, but ultimately two people in a relationship play off of each other. Find personal accountability for the role that you played in the relationship. For example, what role did you play in your girlfriend being insecure and jealous? Are you too flirtatious in your interactions with others? Do you still maintain contact with ex-girlfriends? Have you been unfaithful? Find a way to reconcile what you contributed to the troublesome dynamics of previous relationships so that you don’t repeat the situation moving forward.
#3: Have fun!
Dating is just dating. It is not a commitment for sex, cohabitation, or marriage. It is an exchange of time and interaction to determine compatibility. Just because you think he is cute and he has a great job, one date doesn’t make him your new boyfriend. Nor should you be thinking about whether he is going to be “the one”. Take your time! Friendship and camaraderie should preclude romance and intimacy. Think of him as a movie buddy, a happy hour friend, a dinner date, or a meet-up mate for a quick lunch. Keep it fun!
#4: Be honest with yourself…and others
When entering the dating scene, be honest about your intentions. Whether you are looking for a casual friend to hang out with or something more serious, I suggest communicating what you want very clearly. It is disenchanting and unfair to date someone under the premise of looking for a serious relationship, only to figure out that they don’t have the time, energy, or willingness to commit to getting to know you. And certainly, once sex is initiated between two people, expectations have a tendency to become blurred. Dating, sex, and commitment are 3 separate things. Be honest about which one you want, and behave accordingly.
Closing Thought: Summer is a great time to mix, mingle, and meet new people. Have fun! Doctor’s orders 🙂