Starting Over: How to Know When You’re Ready to Begin a New Relationship

Starting over is not something we think about going into romantic relationships. Yet not all relationships go from “wire-to-wire” where the couple stay together the rest of their lives. Endings can happen in any stage.

  • Early romance
  • Broken engagement
  • Cohabitating couples who call it quits
  • Divorce
  • Untimely death of a spouse

Individuals in a committed relationship that ends face a future with the prospect of starting over with someone new.

One of the biggest questions asked is, “How do I know when I’m ready?”

  • The key word in title is “ready”

Here are two problems you want to avoid:

  1. Jumping in too quickly.
  2. Waiting too long.

So, how do you know when you’re ready? Only you can answer this question. But to help you figure it out, here are 3 signs that signal you’re ready to start over.

The key word in the 3 signs is “time”. Being “ready” takes “time”.

#1: When you’ve taken time to heal from your loss

Endings are emotionally painful. When you invest your heart in someone and they are no longer going to be in your life, you need time to process the loss.

You may suffer emotional wounds or grief. Routines of life together come to an end. You also may lose ancillary relationships like in-laws or mutual friends.

Healing takes time. While it may feel painful, give yourself permission to heal. Do not avoid the pain by jumping too quickly into another relationship.

#2: When you’ve taken time to learn your lessons from your past relationship

Twenty years ago I experienced divorce. It was a difficult season in my life. Not only did I take time to heal, I also took time to reflect. I knew I had lessons to learn from a failed marriage. It’s easy to point out the faults of others. But how about our own?

Part of this process was answering questions I posed for myself.

  • What did I contribute to the marriage that didn’t work?
  • What do I need to change about myself?
  • What kind of person doesn’t work for me?
  • What type of person is a good fit for me?

You are not ready to start over if you have not taken time to learn your lessons.

#3: When you’ve taken time to decide what you want in a relationship going forward

One of the things I was not good at earlier in life was setting boundaries. My people-pleasing habit needed changing. I took time in-between relationships to really work hard on myself. So going forward, I only wanted to be with someone who was independent and also had good boundaries.

Starting over, consider the following:

  • How you will be different in a good way?
  • What type of person will you avoid?
  • What type of person will you seek?
  • What type of relationship do you want to be in?

When you’ve taken “time” in these 3 phases your heart will likely signal that your “ready” to start over.

Now it’s your turn

Are you thinking about starting over? Before you do, take some time and sit with these 3 questions.

  1. Have I healed from my past relationship?
  2. Have I learned my lessons?
  3. Do I know what I want going forward?

If you feel good about your answers, it’s a good sign you may be ready. If not, you have some more work to do.

Listen to the All About We Podcast on this topic. Click the play button at the top of this page.