No matter how resilient you are, bouncing back from a long-term relationship can feel about as achievable as eating 45 dry Weetbix in half a minute.
(Please don’t try that at home.)
Before you even contemplate dating again, you’re going to be working through a lot of things: boxes of tissues, epic breakup anthems, ice cream, and a considerable amount of grief.
You might feel like this for a while. (Image: Universal Pictures)
“It’s a bit like mourning the loss of a loved one in your life,” explains Mel Schilling, Married at First Sight’s relationships expert.
“It’s very, very normal to go through feelings of anger, depression sometimes, bargaining and on so on.”
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Peering down the barrel of life without a partner will probably be daunting, but Schilling says those early months after a major breakup are a good time to get back in touch with yourself.
“Many couples lose their identity in long-term relationships and it’s pretty normal to do so,” she explains.
Mel Schilling. (Image: supplied)
“Invest in yourself, nurture yourself, and get to know yourself again so that when you do re-enter the dating world, you’ve got a really clear picture of who you are and what you want.”
Like so many things in life, the best approach to easing yourself back into dating is… yep, you guessed it, baby steps.
Schilling recommends trying a simple ‘social experiment’ in those early months.
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“Start having simu-dates – that is, really platonic non-sexual relations with people, where you can start to practice your small talk, maybe a bit of flirting, in a low-stakes environment,” she says.
The idea of leaping straight into a new relationship, and thereby sidestepping the often not-so-pretty process of mending a broken heart, can be a tempting one.
However, Schilling advises against taking this route.
Dating after a long term relationship is possible… eventually. (Image: Warner Brothers)
“It’s not always healthy, and sometimes can lead to disappointment and hurt,” she says.
“So give yourself a breather, take the time to reinvest in yourself, and get to know your new identity as a single person.”