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  • Writer's pictureDr. Meagan Stanley

Q: How long should I wait after a breakup before getting into a new relationship?

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

The importance of finding yourself after losing someone you love.

For February, I’m kicking off the start of an overarching monthly theme—every article within that month I will address the theme in some way, shape, or form. For those you who received my newsletter (thanks for signing up!), you will know that this month’s “theme” is romantic relationships, which felt like the natural choice. Do not worry; this is such a huge topic that I will likely discuss this more throughout the year as well.

In my practice, one of my specialties is grief and loss, related often to death, but sometimes due to the ending of a relationship. As most of us know, this can be one of the most traumatic events to go through—someone you were so intimately connected to is now gone. There are often feelings of sadness, anger, despair, pain from rejection, lack of hope, guilt, disbelief, confusion…it touches almost all parts of the emotional spectrum. And as I’m sure you’ve heard before (or experienced personally), even if you are the one that ended the relationship, the breakup can still impact you just as deeply.

It is important to honor this emotional process before jumping into the next relationship. Because of just how hard these emotions are to experience, people often propel themselves quickly into a new relationship. Although the “rebound” can do an excellent job of distracting you and momentarily making you feel better, doing this can take away from an important aspect of the human experience—growth that comes through pain.

I probably sound like a broken record—is everything in life about tolerating discomfort? The truth is that discomfort is part of everyone’s life so it’s vitally important we all learn how to accept it. This is typically not something we are taught in childhood, and I wish we were. But unfortunately, so much of our society revolves around quick fixes that are designed to make you feel better now. And these distraction techniques (i.e. alcohol, drug, sex, food, etc…) can become quite addictive because our lives will continue to be hard at times, even when we find that next relationship.

I know, this sounds like such a bitter truth. But a shift happens when you learn you not only can you survive pain, but you accept that working through that pain taught you something crucial that you could not have learned any other way.

Therefore, the answer to this question of “how long” you need to wait is, of course, different for everyone. I feel so deeply for others when they are going through a hard time, and I have been there too. But I want you to trust that it’s not for nothing. This is also not to say that you will immediately understand the lesson learned. You may not know exactly how you’ve grown before entering your next relationship. But the point is to be aware that as you feel pain, you are also transforming. Give yourself the time you need to feel like you’ve come out on the other side of things before moving on to the next. You likely don’t want to experience the exact same relationship you just ended, so it’s important that you evolve first.

In short, honor yourself, the relationship you had, and the grieving process. Be patient—good things really do come to those who wait.

Be kind and trust yourself,


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