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Are you ready to start dating again?

The end of a relationship is a very difficult time for most people, especially if the relationship has been long-term and romantic in nature. One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make after a break-up is to jump into another relationship too soon. It is easy to do, as you are usually looking for something to soothe your aching heart and rebuild the self-esteem that may have been crushed a bit by the break-up. However, these "rebound relationships" are almost always just another break-up waiting to happen and may very well hurt someone else in the process.

Most of us do not relish the thought of hurting other people and it is certainly not our intent, but our judgment is clouded by our own sadness and confusion. In order to prevent this, you must understand how to determine when you are ready to move forward from the prior relationship and start dating again. The following are some of the things that you can watch for in your life to signal that it's time to start the search for new love.

*You go many days at a time without thinking about your former partner. In the initial stages of a break-up, it seems like your former love is all that you think of. Everything you come across relates somehow to them and you are living in memories, whether good or bad.

*You are happy, even though you are alone. You have rediscovered the beauty of yourself and how to enjoy your own company. You aren't dependent on anyone else to fill your time or your heart.

*You have begun to make plans for your future. When you are able to picture a bright future for yourself, with plans all your own, you have crossed the bridge away from your ex. You are no longer focused primarily on the plans that have been lost, but on the ones that are to come.

*Your tears have dried and you don't think about revenge on the person who hurt you. This signals to you that the sadness has been quelled and the anger is gone. Sadness and anger are two things that you do not want to carry into a new relationship as they are both incredibly destructive.

*You aren't trying to replace your ex. Don't ever enter a new relationship with the intention of transforming this new person into the one that you are now without. Wait until you are ready to accept another as he or she is. There will be no replacement for your shattered dream, so wake up fully from it before you move on.

*You aren't comparing other men or women to your ex. After a break-up, you may find yourself comparing everyone you meet to your ex. This is a sign that you are still looking more at the past than at the future. Wait until this habit ends before you begin dating again.

Beginning a new relationship, even casually dating, before you are really ready is a recipe for disaster. You will end up with another break-up under your belt and someone is almost always hurt. It is unfair to pick up a rebound relationship with someone, so wait until you are sure that you aren't going to be doing this. When the time is right, you'll know and you'll be ready to accept a new potential love into your life.

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