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Why You Should Take It Easy On DATING After A BREAKUP

Just got out of a long-term relationship? Bounce back, move on, but don't get into another rel too fast. Experts say why it isn't smart.

We all know that girl--the one who always has a new guy. Even after a breakup, she's "seriously in love" again within weeks. Celebs do it too. Take Drew Barrymore, who constantly has a guy in her string; or Sienna Miller, who rebounded from a broken engagement by getting into serious relationships. But it's either one of two cases: she's super-duper lucky in man-meeting, or something else is spurring the serial bonds.

You even see that girl in the movies. Take for example, Elizabeth ( played by Cameron Diaz) in the recent movie Bad Teacher. Having just been dumped by her fiance, she's already making plans to win over the rich, handsome substitute teacher played by Cameron's real-life ex Justin Timberlake. Her overarching goal is to marry a meal ticket out of her day job. We're not saying all serial-dating chicks are as outrageous as Elizabeth, but she's one extreme to avoid.

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What Makes People Rush To Commit

Experts say that a cultural identity crisis might be accelerating the commitment process. "Marriage used to happen as soon as we left the nest," says John Van Epp, PhD, author of How To Avoid Falling In Love With A Jerk. "But as the age of first marriage has gone up, there's almost a whole decade where people feel undefined—you're not living at home but you also don't have your own family." That makes some people rush into a commitment at the first whiff of possibility. "Coming from a broken home can make you even more eager to connect," adds Van Epp.

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Of course, wanting to be in love is no mystery. "But, when you race to nail it down without knowing what you're getting into, you can wind up dissatisfied," says John Amodeo, PhD, author of The Authentic Heart. Even when you like things about a new guy (he has a great job, he's hot), only time will tell whether your lives are actually compatible (how he handles conflict, whether he's faithful).

If you've already put the "serious" stamp on the relationship, you're more likely to  minimize or make excuses about unacceptable behaviors as they begin to surface. The result? You're locked into a union that doesn't make you truly happy.

Why You Should Be Wary About Committing Too Soon

Dating can even become a crutch. "Throwing yourself into relationships is sometimes a way to avoid your own issues," says Amodeo. Without taking a break between guys, you never discover who you are and what you want as a single woman. But, you need that insight to make your next relationship actually work.

Experts advise that you spend time dating someone new without rushing to make things "official." If he's the guy for you, he'll still be perfect in a month or three. "You'll get to know each other instead of who you want each other to be," says Van Epp. "And if it turns out he isn't right, it's easier to get out if things are still light."

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