Written by The Strategy
Welcome back to The Dating Diaries. A series on the trials and tribulations of our collective dating experiences. Our rants, our raves, our first dates and our worst dates. It feels good to get this all off our chests.
Movies have taught us that there are two ways to handle a breakup:
1. Wallow in your PJs, watch sad movies while digging into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (the unofficial breakup sponsor), have a wild night out with girlfriends, and – voilà! You’re over it!
2. Wallow in your PJs, watch sad movies while digging into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, have a wild night out with girlfriends, and text/call your ex repeatedly explaining to them that you miss them and breaking up was a mistake.
In reality, there is no handbook – no 3-step solution to moving on. Instead, you may curl up in bed for a few days, with expensive mascara running down your cheeks, indulge in more than a pint of freezer-burned ice cream or maybe you’ll put Lizzo on repeat and chant, “You coulda had a bad bitch“, every time their name pops into your mind. Whatever path you go down, it’s not easy to get over a breakup. We sat down with author, radio host, dating coach, matchmaker and founder, Laura Bilotta to get some tips on how to navigate this tumultuous time.
We always hear from movies and tv shows, that the best remedy for heartbreak is a pint of ice cream and your closest girlfriends. What, in your opinion, is the best remedy?
Definitely don’t eat the ice cream, but definitely talk with your closest girlfriends. Supportive friends can really help you during this time. You want to keep your friends and family close by so that they can be there for you if you need them. Also, listen to sad music. Cry it out. Let it out. You don’t want to hold any of these sad emotions in. If you hold it in, you’re never going to get over it. You want to cry it out until you can’t cry anymore. And you want to read a lot. There are so many inspiring things that you can read about breakups. Read if it’s something about breakups that’s going to help you get over it or read if it’s something positive and will bring positivity into your life.
The urge to reconnect can be strong. Do you think it’s a healthy move?
No. I think that there is a reason for the breakup, so you need to take this time to step back and reflect on why the relationship didn’t work out.
After the initial few days, what are some of your tips for the best steps to move on?
Cut all contact. That means, no texting, no calling, no e-mailing, no seeing them in person, no asking your friends about them. You want to cut all contact. This is probably the most important thing. You’re not going to get over someone if you’re still talking to them. You need to really move on and take a step back. My suggestion is to unfriend them on social media, because it’s really hard to get over someone when you have access to them. It doesn’t have to be forever, just until you’re able to feel a little better about the breakup and accept it, because down the road, you potentially could be friends. It’s important too to look at the breakup objectively. Even if you didn’t agree to the breakup, look at it objectively and try not to over analyze what could have been different. If you’re constantly thinking about what should have or could have happened, you’re going to stay in this dark place. It’s important too to just accept it. Tell yourself that it’s over. There is going to be something more suitable for you out there. As time goes on, it will get easier. Take time to find yourself again. What are the things you used to do before you met this person? You’ve got to start doing those things again and exploring new things. Take this time for yourself to really look at who you are again. Make a list of things you miss doing and then go do them. Journaling can also be helpful. It’s all about empowering yourself and doing things that will make you feel good. You’ve got to get back to feeling good about yourself.
We’ve heard the line, “the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” Does this ring true for you, and what are your thoughts on dating after a breakup? Is there an ideal amount of time to wait?
I don’t think a week or a month later is ideal, but it all depends on how long ago you left that relationship. Some people stay in a relationship, but they left a long time ago. Generally, the rule of thumb is, however long it takes you to recover and to come to terms with whatever residual feelings you have about your ex. For example, if you’re still obsessing over them or suffering emotionally, then you’re not ready to date anyone else. They will just end up being a shoulder for you to cry on and that’s not a healthy way to start a relationship. It’s not fair to them. It is important to take some time to be single and get back to you. Learn about yourself again and explore new things about yourself. It’s important to have an open heart when you are ready to start dating again. You have to feel ready to be vulnerable with someone new. A person who is ready to date and start a new relationship knows how to reflect and has done the work to learn the lessons from their past relationship. You need to understand what’s going to work for you in future relationships. Learn from that past relationship what went wrong so that it doesn’t happen again. Actually ask yourself what went wrong, what are the deal breakers for the next relationship, what are the characteristics of the person I can live with or can’t live with, what type of person can you see in your future. Then you need to envision what a good and happy relationship looks like to you.
For those who are finally ready to get back on the dating horse, do you have any advice?
- Date outside your comfort zone. If you’re dating the same type of person over and over again, try dating something new. Your type may have changed and you don’t even know it yet.
- Give attraction and chemistry a chance to develop. So many people dismiss someone after a first date, but if there’s a little bit of chemistry or attraction, don’t dismiss them. Give them another date. Give people chances.
- When you do feel the chemistry with someone, look for traits that are interior that makes the person.
- Take it slow – don’t rush into anything.
- If you’re going to get online, do it the right way. Make sure you have some great photos and you construct a great profile. If you can’t, hire someone like myself. There are services out there.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, because you don’t want to get disappointed if things don’t work out with that one person.
- Join groups where you can meet like-minded people.
- Let everyone know that you’re single and looking. No one can set you up unless you tell them.
- Look good every time you walk out the door. If you’re single and you want to meet someone, you better look good all the time because you don’t know when you’re going to meet them.
- Approach people. Find an excuse to go talk to them.
- Try speed dating events, go to singles mixers.
- Hang out in new social circles. Hanging out with new people is great because someone might not be a good fit for you, but they might know the perfect person for you.
- Go to new places you’ve never been to before.
- Be patient, because dating is a process. Don’t expect that you’re going to meet someone over night.
- Don’t try to fix anyone. They’re only going to change if they want to. They have to fix themselves.
- Don’t overlook the red flags.
- Recognize that being patient, having persiverience and positivity are crucial when it comes too dating.
If you are dating and it’s not getting you anywhere, take a step back. Take a break. If you get burnt out, you get frustrated and it comes out on dates.