Dating Resilience: In Defense of Getting Right Back Out There After a Breakup

a young child wearing a white dress and a bow in her hair sitting at a baby grand playing at a piano recital
Image by MIKI Yoshihito / CC BY

When You Screw Up at the Piano Recital, You Don’t Take a Break from the Keys

“It’s funny if you think about it, that whole ‘you just got out of a relationship, you need to be single for a while’ thing,” Ro says.

We’re at our usual place. I’ve got a glass of red wine. She’s drinking one of the draft beers. I didn’t catch what it was when the waitress said it, masked by a thick Eastern European accent. But the beer looks as dark as Ro’s laugh, and I bet it’s good.

“Isn’t it?” I say.

“People don’t account for bad luck in dating,” she says. “They’re always looking to see what kind of lesson they need to learn because they assume they’re in control.”

“But the truth is that sometimes things just don’t work out. And maybe what we should be learning from all of this is resilience,” I agree.

She nods. “Not sitting at home, taking a break. Getting back out there if you’re feeling up to it seems fine.”

“Yes,” I say. “If you screw up at your big piano recital, you don’t say ‘That’s it, I need to take a break from playing piano. I guess I’ll sit around for 6 months replaying what went wrong.’ No, you go home and practice. And prepare for the next recital.”

Dinner arrives. We talk about how, sure, maybe you shouldn’t be in a hurry to get into something serious. Or scramble too desperately for someone to become a Big Thing while you’re still reeling from your breakup.

But you can learn a lot from getting back out there and seeing other people. Figuring out what kind of person you are around someone new. People are microcultures, after all. And sometimes they act as mirrors that reveal different facets of ourselves. Reflections that we might never have encountered sitting alone in our room staring at the wall. Reading angry clickbait designed to monetize the woes of the newly heartbroken.


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  1. Well they slightly different. The piano recital is your mental and physical abilities to be a success all on your own. However, in the dating world it’s not just you. It can be emotional draining to get back out their to learn others without taking the break to recap the previous relationship and figure what would make your future ones better.

  2. I agree that “sitting around replaying the relationship in your head over and over again” isn’t good for you but I’m surprised you seem to think it’s something that inevitably follows from a break up (maybe you don’t, but it certainly reads that way). Just because you’re newly single doesn’t mean you’re heartbroken and/or sitting home alone.

    People can have perfectly amicable break ups and still want time for themselves afterwards. One can be perfectly happy being single and not dating. I mean hopefully you have work or school, your hobbies, your friends. There is nothing unhealthy about taking a break from the emotional labour dating entails for the time being – it’s self-care. Resilience means you bounce back eventually, not that you never need any recovery time at all.

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