Dating Dilemmas: When Is It Acceptable To Go Back On The Apps After A Breakup?
Nothing hits quite like a breakup.
Like any kind of grief, mourning the end of a relationship can feel impossible to navigate. Especially in those first few weeks post-breakup when life simultaneously moves in slow motion yet is a complete blur — where you’re left scrambling for anything that’ll make you feel even remotely better.
Some of us choose to cry into the fourth pad thai we’ve Uber Eats’d this week while watching the entire Twilight saga (a mood); others opt to hit the gym to work on their revenge bod (we love to see it); and some of us (a lot of us, as it turns out) swallow our pride, ditch our commitment of taking some time to focus on ourselves, and download our dating app of choice in search to feel quite literally anything other than heartbreak.
If there is a magic formula to getting over your ex, at what point during the process is it acceptable to go back on dating apps?
For the dumper
When a relationship ends, there are two kinds of people: the dumper and the dumpee. Some argue one isn’t worse than the other — both parties were invested in the relationship and are therefore equally affected, right?
That sentiment is kind of bullshit. As the dumper, you’ve ultimately made peace with telling your partner you’d prefer it if they weren’t around anymore. Yikes.
In many instances, the person getting broken up with doesn’t have the luxury of pre-empting the dumping. Instead they’re left as the last to know, giving the dumper a headstart on healing, and the dumpee gets the breakup equivalent of a Monopoly chance card that reads, “Go directly to being depressed, do not collect $200 dollars but do be left with some residual trauma as well as all the shit they left at your house :).”
If you’re the dumper and reading this, there’s no real acceptable or non-acceptable timeframe. Give yourself the time and space to make healthy decisions, and do what feels right.
For the dumpee
Okay, now the trash has been taken out (lmao kidding) let’s talk. Having consulted with the internet and a real-life relationship coach, opinions are mixed.
The case for right away
Feeling sad and need some instant gratification? Dating apps may just give you that hit of serotonin you need.
Apps like Hinge are low maintenance and allow you to see who’s keen on you, without you having to invest any actual time, might give you the confidence boost you’re after. Yes, you’re still hot and people want to bang you — no follow up required.
But, consider your intentions: if you’re looking for a replacement to fill the void, know it’s incredibly unlikely you’ll find it. Keen on getting over someone by getting under someone? You’ll almost certainly find it, just be safe by all meanings of the word. Read: when was your last STI check, hun?
The rule of time
Some trust that there is an acceptable time to hop back on the apps, and it has to do with how long you were with your ex.
“[A less-than] six-month relationship, I’d only wait two weeks! But if it was over two years, I’d wait a month or even two,” wrote one Twitter user “A short term (3-5 month) thing? Within days. Six months [to] a year? Maybe two or three weeks,” replied another.
If two things are certain it’s that absence absolutely does not make the heart grow fonder, and time really does heal all wounds. So, any time away from the apps (regardless of length) can’t be a bad thing, right?
When you’re ready
On Reddit thread r/relationships one user asked: “How long is acceptable to wait to download [a dating app] after a breakup?” The top answer read, “Acceptable: immediately. When you should actually do it: when you’re ready.”
This sentiment is echoed by dating and relationship coach Iona Yeung.
“There is no set time to get back in, Yeung told Punkee. “This is because some people ‘check out’ of a relationship way before they call it quits officially. Others are completely blindsided.”
When you get back into online dating has more to do with your baseline than a common timeline, she says.
“The general rule of thumb is to assess your mindset before you jump into dating. Ask the following questions:
- Are you excited about dating again?
- Do you believe you’ll find someone great?
- Do you think there are good people out there still?
“Your thoughts and words create your reality and so if you answered yes to all three questions you have a much higher chance of finding success in dating again.”
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to transition back into the trash fire that is online dating post-breakup — all you can do is what feels right.
Look after yourself, trust your intuition, know it’s okay to make mistakes and know that ultimately in the long term you’re going to thrive without your ex.
Back on dating apps and curious about whether you should pay for an upgrade? Read our Dating Dilemmas article about whether paying for dating apps is worth it right here.