Am I Ready for a Relationship or Just Lonely? How to Tell


Jessica felt lonely after her divorce. Hesitant to get hurt again, she tried casual online dating just for companionship.

She met Alex, who was friendly and fun to be around, but didn’t open up on deeper emotional levels. After a few weeks of casual dates, they slid into a relationship.

Jessica liked having someone to do things with – movies, shows, weekend escapes from the city. But their conversations stayed at the surface level. Whenever she brought up more personal topics, Alex changed the subject or made a joke.

The relationship was unsatisfying. Jessica often became sullen thinking about the lack of real intimacy.

She considered asking Alex for more from the relationship. A part of her was tired of the constant emotional detachment between them.

But whenever she considered being that vulnerable, her anxiety spiked. Jessica was deathly afraid of asking for more only to be rejected if Alex refused to deepen their intimacy.

So, she stayed silent, convincing herself that keeping things surface level was better than losing him. Jessica clung to the safety of this arm’s length arrangement, even though she was disappointed.

Gradually, Alex became more distant. He took longer to return Jessica’s texts, bailed on date nights, and stopped trying to make plans.

When they did see each other, Alex seemed distracted and disengaged. The playful banter they once shared had faded away.

Jessica confronted Alex about the change in his behavior. He insisted everything was fine but continued to pull away more and more until contact tapered off completely.

The slow, painful unraveling of the relationship left Jessica questioning if Alex had ever cared. Once again, allowing someone close led only to hurt. She vowed to keep her heart locked away next time, certain that no relationship was better than false hope.

We’ve all been there – at the end of a relationship, feelings of loneliness inevitably set in. You miss companionship, physical intimacy, and having someone to share life’s ups and downs.

When this happens, it’s normal to consider jumping back into dating to fill that void. But how can you tell whether you’re truly ready for a healthy new relationship, or acting out of a place of desperation?

Here are a few key signs that you are just lonely, and it may be too soon for a relationship:

1-  You’re not over your ex.

You still cry about your past relationship sometimes, check his social media, or continue to feel angry. Unresolved feelings make it impossible to fully invest in someone new. You need more time to grieve.

2-  The thought of real intimacy scares you.

While the idea of dates is appealing, anything deeper causes anxiety or panic. This suggests lingering hurt that needs more time to heal.

3-  You just want to feel wanted again.

Craving romance and affection are understandable, but starting something new for ego validation rather than genuine connection often doesn’t end well. You may want to consider protecting your heart until you feel more like yourself.

4-  You’ve lowered your standards.

In the past, certain traits or behaviors were deal-breakers. Now, you’re willing to accept much less than you deserve, ensuring your inevitable disappointment.

Rather than jump into a new relationship, it might be better for you to wait until you experience the following signs that you are ready for a relationship and not just lonely:

1-  You’ve gained perspective.

Enough time has passed that you can look back objectively at why your previous relationship didn’t work out. You can see how you contributed to the breakup which makes it easier for you to avoid future heartbreak.

2-  Forgiveness has occurred.

You no longer harbor resentment toward your ex. He’s a part of your past and all the learning experiences that brought you to where you are today.

3-  Your normal confidence is back.

You feel secure and complete in who you are, not seeking someone to make up for your own shortcomings. The old you is back.

4-  You have relationship clarity.

You’re able to identify what you need in a partner and set appropriate boundaries. Being in the wrong relationship is not appealing to you. You know that you’re better off losing an unsatisfying relationship if the two of you can’t work out your problems.

Bottom Line:

The pain of loneliness after a breakup is real. But entering a new relationship prematurely often only leads to more hurt down the road. Be patient with yourself, rely on friends and family, and focus on rediscovering the simple joys of solo living. In time, you’ll feel ready to open your heart again when the motivation is real connection, not just desperation to fill a void.

This transitional period is a great opportunity to strengthen your support network. Reconnect with old friends, make new ones, join a divorce support group, or speak to a therapist. You can benefit from surrounding yourself with as much encouragement as possible.

When faced with loneliness after divorce, consider this an opportunity to rediscover your true passions, gifts, and values at the core. Become reacquainted with what makes your spirit come alive.

Sisterhood can provide a soothing balm during this time too. Surround yourself with grounded friends who speak truth with care. Their steadfast support will anchor you when fears arise.

Approach dating from a place of readiness, not reactionary loneliness. Don’t relinquish your power or abandon standards in desperation. Stay open, but also discerning, about what you truly need and deserve.

Have faith that as one chapter closes, exciting new adventures await you. The path forward may be challenging at times, but you possess the wisdom and resilience to craft a vibrant life abundant in joy, purpose, and lasting connections. This is your time – embrace it fully and courageously.

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