How Long Should I Wait to Ask Out a Girl That Has Just Been Dumped?

Wait until the girl you like has had time to process her complex emotions.
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You may have optimistically envisioned the girl you like suddenly becoming single, but you probably didn't plan on her getting dumped. While it might be great news for you, she has a lot of loss and heartbreak to sort through before she will be emotionally ready to go on any dates, much less start a new relationship. There is no set time limit for how long you need to wait, but you should take your cues from her as she recovers from her breakup.

1 Avoid Being Her Rebound

If you're interested in a real relationship with this girl, you should avoid being her rebound. Don't let any positive signals she's sending you, which are likely to be mixed, confuse you in the weeks after her breakup. She's probably seeking affirmation after strong feelings of hurt and rejection. A new relationship that begins before she has healed will be overly burdened and draw out her recovery, as the Santa Clara University Wellness Center advises in "Relationship Break-Ups" on its website.

2 Give Her Grieving Time

Your newly single crush has experienced a loss that could be devastating to her: she's suddenly lost a relationship she valued, with all the companionship and dreams she attached to it. She will need time to feel and begin to deal with this grief before she even thinks about moving on, as the experts at HelpGuide write in "Coping With a Breakup or Divorce." Watch for signs that the fog has lifted: she's smiling and laughing more, hanging out with friends just like she did before the breakup and she seems to be back to her old self.

3 Take Things Slowly

After she's had a chance to grieve and you do ask her out, take things slowly even if she says yes. Until she is clearly ready, avoid labels such as "girlfriend" and make plans to grab lunch together instead of going to a school event arm-in-arm. Check in occasionally to see how she's handling the new relationship. You will both be better off if you are willing to talk about her understandably complicated feelings rather than putting pressure on her to feel the same way you do immediately.

4 Encourage Her Outside Interests

It is crucial for her own well-being and the success of any relationship you start with her that your crush continues to have her own life, as breakup therapist and author Susan J. Elliott writes in "After the Breakup: The Most Important Thing to Do Before ‘Getting Back Out There’" for eHarmony. Encourage her to spend time with trusted friends and family members and to explore the things she loves on her own. This way, even when you're not at her side, you'll be showing her that you genuinely care for her.

A graduate of Oberlin College, Caitlin Duke has written on travel and relationships for She has crisscrossed the country several times, and relishes discovering new points on the map. As a credentialed teacher, she also has a strong background in issues facing families today.