How to Date a Guy Just Out of a Relationship

Give yourself time to let the relationship evolve.
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He makes your heart flutter, he treats you well, and the fun is boundless when you’re together. The only problem is that he just ended his previous relationship, making you question if the timing is right. Protect your heart and proceed with caution when dating a newly single guy to ensure that he is emotionally ready to move forward in a new relationship.

1 The Rebound

Rebound relationships are common following the breakup of a relationship; therefore, it’s important that you’re aware of the possibility of being a rebound. When the emotional attachment in a previous relationship is severed, one may look for someone else to attach to and ease his emotional pain, says Nathan Feiles, a psychotherapist and author of “Are Rebound Relationships Doomed” on the "Psych Central" website. Problems can arise if you are in a rebound relationship. For instance, your guy may not have processed his breakup, he may idealize his previous partner, or he may have carried issues from his past relationship into the one with you, says Feiles. If you find yourself in this position, consider if you want to end the relationship or exercise patience and take the relationship slower, allowing your guy to take time to heal.

2 Set Boundaries

When dating a guy who has recently been through a breakup, it's important to set boundaries on what is acceptable and what isn't acceptable behavior. For instance, you may be OK with your new guy talking about his ex from time to time, but not be OK with him still displaying pictures of her. Establishing specific boundaries is vital to making sure that you and your partner have a mutually respectful and healthy relationship, says Jane Collingwood in the article "The Importance of Personal Boundaries" for the "Psych Central" website. Be open and direct when establishing boundaries and be consistent with reinforcing them.

3 Realistic Expectations

Think through your relationship expectations for your new guy. Consider if you are expecting your relationship to evolve into a serious relationship or if you're just looking for a casual relationship. Communicate what you expect and what you need from your new partner, according to the article "Managing Expectations, Minimizing Disappointment." Ask him about his expectations. In order for your relationship to work, you both have to have similar expectations or be willing to compromise.

4 Don't Rush It

Take things slow, and don’t jump into a committed relationship. Spend time together participating in unromantic activities to prevent too much of an emotional investment too quickly, allowing you time to make sure moving forward is a good idea, according to the article "Rebound Relationships: Potential for Greatness or Potential for Disaster?" For example, go on a walk together, play a board game, or go bowling.

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.