Pop culture says that we must have “VERY” good reasons to break up with someone — he has to be a jerk, he has to be abusive, he has to be doing something that’s blatantly-obviously-downright-wrong.
But many times, people break up because they’ve just fallen out of love — no drama. They break up because they have different life goals. Sometimes, they just feel that something isn’t right.
As others are saying, you need to give this at least a few months of no contact whatsoever. When I was (slightly younger) than you are now, I broke up with my first long-term boyfriend. The next day, I was texting him, and I agreed to continue talking to him. Well, that ended about two weeks later, when I saw that he had started dating somebody else. I swiftly cut off contact. It healed my broken heart quickly. I thought I was being kinder by slowing phasing him out of my life — instead I saw that I was opening myself up to hurt like that. Seeing someone I still cared about (but knew I was better off not dating him) move on.
Put your energy into doing the things you feel you’re missing out on. Play the field for a while. Go on a trip with friends. Work on a special project. Get connected with family members you haven’t seen in a while. Pick up a new hobby — maybe learn how to play an instrument. I was raised with the impression that I was nothing to be proud of and that I needed to settle on the first guy who came along because there wouldn’t be anyone else.
I’m now in my late 20s and there are still plenty of options (in my case, though, I’m married). I regret ever delaying breaking up with that first boyfriend now.
When you have time to yourself, when you get away from that feeling you have to be with someone, things will get better for you.
As for when you know it’s the right time to go back? When you feel you have truly resolved the issues that led to the breakup in the first place. You haven’t explored, you haven’t done what prompted you to end things, so get out there and do them.
You may later find that leaving him was a mistake. We’re all going to make tons of them, and some of them are irreversible. Maybe life will be dandy if you get back together with him without taking care of these concerns first. Alternatively, maybe you will have a chance to explore…and you will find someone better for you in the long run. Or at least, someone who is still a very good match who leaves you feeling happy.
And you will be happy.