Moving on after becoming a number one is a process that is truly individual. There is no right or wrong length of time that you should spend dating and getting to know yourself, but the more time you do, the better place you’ll be when you fall in love. (Should love come knocking again. And it always does.)

Here are the five things you need to do before you say yes, to an otherwise dating mess.

1. Grieve- Sure, freedom can feel nice for a few days. Maybe even weeks. This is especially true if your relationship became cumbersome or sapped your spirit. Finding yourself and living independently feels like a breath of fresh air. But, don’t be too quick to erase all those lingering memories from your mind. They’ll resurface. Rather than escape the bad feelings of a breakup, go through them and experience them and put them behind you so that you can move on with an open and healed heart.

2. Get to Know You– Get to know yourself. This is so important, especially after you’ve experienced a long-term relationship. You likely took upon some of his hobbies and interests and stopped paying attention to your own needs. (Bad idea.) Now is the time to discover new music, watch old movies, browse antique stores and go soul-searching. Take the time to discover where you want to be so that you create your next chapter.

3. Date Slowly- It’s Ok to get your feet wet and it’s even Ok to have that random one night stand. But, that’s not a place you can live satisfactorily when rebuilding your life after a breakup. Once you begin to date you should screen people and get to know everyone as just a friend first. There are plenty of sex toys to keep you company. Forget the idea that you need a man and a warm bed to make you happy. Instead, discover the traits you like in men and date with those standards.

4. Do Something Crazy- Besides cutting your hair, you should do something totally unlike yourself after a bad breakup. It will feel liberating and give you the confidence you need to move on from what may have felt like the love of your life. If you can relocate, then do it. If you can spring for a new car, buy it. If you can save and plan for a sole vacation, then take it. Use your extra cash to fund something so wild, he would have never sprung for the idea. And now is when you separate yourself from his ideals.

5. Get Ready for Heartache- You know you’re ready to date when you feel your heart has grown back together just enough that it can take a little more pain should it come your way. A heart that is ready to love after heartbreak will never be perfect. But, it will be perfect enough to love again. When you feel the butterflies, the excitement, the“what if’, and perhaps the scripted music playing gleefully in your head, you will know that you are ready to open your heart and your life to a new beginning.

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