Does Dating Help You Move On (Answered)

Dating is often seen as a way to “move on” from an old relationship. Does it work? Does dating help you move on?

The answer is no, dating someone new does not usually help you move on, open up, and heal the wounds of a breakup or divorce. In fact, dating usually hinders how well you can move on because it blocks the natural process of feeling your way through the pain and loss.

People often say, “To get over someone you need to get under someone else,” but this is rarely the healthiest or best way to approach the ending of a relationship.

There are nuances and more effective approaches so that you truly heal, move on, and grow into the best version of yourself.

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What Does Moving On Mean?

Two black girls smiling—Does dating help you move on
Image by author via Canva—Does dating help you move on?

Moving on from a past relationship is tough for most people.

There are many definitions of what moving on actually means, and many people have their own opinions about it.

In my experience, moving on is a process that can take a long time to complete. This has always been true for me, no matter why the relationship ended or how good leaving a particular unhealthy situation was for me.

Moving on from a past relationship takes time because you’re often trying to move away from feelings of anger, resentment, fear, and sadness.

These are common emotions that come with ending a relationship. You might even still remember all the good things about your partner. Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting about each other.

It just means realizing that there’s nothing else left for you in this relationship. There is no more space for you to grow.

Once you come to that realization, it’ll be easier to move on from any emotional attachments holding you back.

Does Dating Help You Get Over Your Ex?

Well, that depends.

You see, when we’re in a relationship with someone else too soon after our previous one has ended —whether that’s due to a break-up or a divorce —we often find ourselves unable to emotionally detach from our previous partner. And this is where there’s trouble: By placing ourselves back into the same situation as before, we don’t give ourselves the time and space to process the inevitable emotions from dissolving a relationship.

While dating someone new can distract us for the moment, it can’t replace the real work of personal awareness and emotional cleansing.

I would argue that (most of the time) dating someone new too soon after a breakup or divorce actually slows down the healing process. There are a few exceptions that we’ll cover later in this article.

So be sure to read all the way to the end.

Why Dating Doesn’t Help You Move On (5 Reasons)

Something I learned from my own past relationships is how powerfully unresolved feelings can mess with your life.

Only after several rounds of therapy, and 13 years of teaching evidence-based relationship skills, was I able to fully and honestly face and free all the emotions from my past.

I learned that there are (at least) five good reasons why dating doesn’t help you move on:

  1. You distract yourself from your raw feelings
  2. You stop the healing process
  3. You don’t give yourself time to acknowledge your emotions
  4. You can’t run or hide from feelings forever (they will bubble back up over time)
  5. Pretending as if your ex never existed is not facing reality. It may feel better for a little while, but the unresolved memories will haunt you and your new relationship.

Usually, dating someone new only makes you miss your past relationship more because the new person isn’t your ex—or simply slows down the healing process.

Is this true for everyone? Of course not. Y

ou may very well be the exception that can run out and find a new partner without any problems. However, I think this experience is rare.

Most of us need time to heal.

How Long Should You Wait Before Moving On? (Timelines)

After a breakup or divorce, maybe you are wondering how long you should wait before moving on with someone new.

It depends on how long you dated or were married.

If you were married, the average is about six months to a year. If it’s a dating breakup, you should take anywhere from two weeks to six months, depending on how serious things got between you and your ex.

For relationships under a year, you generally want to wait at least half the length of time as the relationship.

So, if you only dated for a month, then waiting up to two weeks is probably fine. If you dated for a year, you might want to wait as long as 6 months. However, no matter how long your relationship lasted, you probably don’t need to wait longer than a year to move on.

If you find yourself still unable to move on after a year, you may want to seek outside emotional help from a trained professional, coach, or mentor.

Here is a great video by Ashley Nord that speaks to the issue of timing and moving forward:

Video by Ashley Nord via YouTube—Does Dating Help You Move On?

Ashley makes a good point about delving into the intention behind dating someone new. I encourage you to watch her video before you read the rest of this article.

When Does Dating Help You Move On? (3 Specific Times)

Does dating help you move on? Usually, no. However, there are special circumstances when dating might actually help you move forward with your life.

Dating helps you move on in three scenarios:

  1. When you didn’t pair bond
  2. When you didn’t date the other person for long
  3. When you have already processed your emotions

The first scenario is if you didn’t pair-bond with the other person. Pair bonding is a deep emotional and psychological connection. It’s natural for those who have pair-bonded to feel some lingering feelings. However, when you don’t pair-bond, then dating someone new helps because there isn’t a broken bond between you and your ex.

The second scenario is if you didn’t date the other person for long. In this case, feelings of attachment and investment may not be as strong as in a relationship that lasted years or even decades together.

If you split up after dating only for six months, then chances are your emotions have already subsided by the time you start to date again.

The third scenario is if you have already processed your emotions over the breakup. You’ve had enough time in between relationships where any lingering feelings of attachment or grief have subsided on their own.

When it comes to dating, you are ready and willing for a new relationship because you can open up yourself emotionally to another person.

What Helps You Move On? (3 Practical Steps)

If you want to move on for real, try these three steps:

  1. Acknowledge that fully embracing your feelings is part of the healing process.
  2. Find a way to express those emotions and pain creatively, like writing or painting. It doesn’t have to be art you show anyone else. You just need a healthy outlet for your emotions.
  3. Make sure you don’t punish yourself with comparisons between what used to be and what is now.

The first step is to acknowledge your feelings from the ending of your relationship. When you acknowledge your emotions, you can begin to work through them and heal.

The second step is to express those emotions creatively. Creative expression frees you from the pain and can take the form of a journal, artwork, or any other activity that allows you to explore your feelings.

The third step is not to compare what you have now with what you had in the past—it will just make things worse! Comparisons only lead to feelings of inadequacy and guilt.

If you’re looking for a fresh perspective, talk to people who’ve gone through something similar in their lives. They can offer advice or a point of view that might be different from your own. You’ll need an outlet outside yourself to help you process all of your emotions.

If you want some more helpful tips for moving on after breakups or divorce, check out this blog post: How to Stop Looking for a Relationship (20 Great Ways)

Is It Okay To Date Someone If You’re Not Over Your Ex?

If you’re not over someone, it can be really hard to put yourself out there and date again.

I’m not here to judge you or to tell you what is right or wrong. So, yes, it’s okay to date someone if you’re not over your ex. However, it might not be fair to yourself or to the other person.

I think that, in a lot of cases, the person who is dating someone new is not so much attracted to them as they are to the idea of getting back on the dating market. We often trade real opportunities for real personal growth for fleeting moments of validation.

I think that this is a problem because we should date with the intention of finding someone compatible, someone with whom we have realchemistry.

It’s unfair to the person we are dating because they deserve better than being used as a rebound.

Is It Normal To Miss Your Ex When in a New Relationship?

It’s very normal for people to think about their past.

If you still find yourself regularly thinking about your ex, it may just mean that you have not fully reached closure on that past relationship.

The more complete answer is that it really depends on the person and their circumstance. It’s often an emotional roller coaster for someone trying to get over their ex while seeing someone else.

There can be feelings of guilt about the past relationship, or the new one.

The problem is that our brains are wired for connections and associations. Your brain doesn’t always immediately recognize the difference between memories of a past lover and the experience of someone new in your life.

Occasionally, the new person might remind you of something your ex did or said.

That’s completely normal. However, if you find that you can not get over your ex after a lengthy period of time, you might want to seek the support of a friend, coach, mentor, or therapist.

Final Thoughts on “Does Dating Help You Move On?”

If I were to add one last bit of advice, I’d say that dating someone new only helps you move on when the only emotion holding you back is the fear of the future, not the pain of the past.

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Bioenergy FixManifest Your Best Life
Original Peloton BikeGet in shape
Tony Robbins Ultimate Relationship ProgramMy favorite relationship program
Ikaria Lean Belly JuiceMy favorite body makeover program
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