THE BLOG
04/10/2014 01:52 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2014

How Long After a Breakup Should You Wait Before Dating Again?

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In a recent panel for "American Idol," Jennifer Lopez revealed that she jumps from one relationship to the other because she doesn't like to be alone. And she's not the only one who does so. A woman I know once told me that the only way she can get over one guy is by replacing him with another. But is that really getting over the guy? How long after a breakup should you wait before dating again? Is there a valid timeframe for these things?

It wasn't until the dismantlement of the five-year relationship I was in that I understood why people jump from one relationship to the next. The part directly following a breakup is hard, and it isn't emphasized just how hard it is. Understandably, we're advised to move on. But oftentimes, we're encouraged to do so quickly, as if it's that easy to let go of a future we planned with someone else. Because inevitably, after being with a person for some time, you visualize that person in your future. Still, jumping into another relationship right away is like covering the pimple with concealer instead of applying medication and allowing it enough time to heal.

Isn't that one of the greatest issues of our generation? The inability to wait. Thanks to significant scientific and technological advances, we've grown accustomed to instantaneous gratification. We have trouble sticking to what takes time to accomplish, which means we barely stick to anything. A lot of people give up on their workouts because visible progress takes time, but what if they stuck it out? What if those people not only started a workout regimen, but kept up with it? Wouldn't the results then, despite taking a while, be inevitable? Well, what if the same thought process were applied after a breakup? What if instead of attempting to distract yourself with someone else, you gave yourself enough time to get to know this version of yourself?

How long after a breakup should you wait before dating again? This is a question only you can answer. Take the time after a breakup to rediscover yourself. Do you still like the same things you did a few months or years ago? Find out what, besides being in a relationship, makes you happy. Do you know what you're passionate about? Are you doing enough of what you love? Do you react differently to certain situations because of the relationship you were previously in? Are previous experiences holding you back? Are you holding any grudges? Do you have a clearer sense of your likes and dislikes? Has your viewpoint shifted? Have you picked up on any unhealthy patterns? Is there anything you'd like to improve about yourself? Rejoice in solitude -- however long it lasts -- and get to know yourself, because like Carrie Bradshaw mentioned in an episode of Sex And The City, "...the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself." Everything else stems from it.

This post originally appeared on TheWriteWoman.com

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