Dating can be a laugh, but let’s be honest, so was Zoom at the start of lockdown, and by now, we’re pretty tired of it (we’ve all seen your different backgrounds, Susan). Sometimes, too much of a good thing can be bad. There are some pretty sound reasons for why giving up on dating and relationships for a bit doesn’t mean giving up on yourself.
SHOULD YOU TAKE A BREAK FROM DATING?
Shock, horror, the internet is full of stories about women and men giving up on dating and saying how great everything is, but only you’ll be able to tell if you should take some time out. A little advice never hurt nobody, so take a look at some of these pointers if you’ve ever asked, ‘should I be single’?
Think of all those people that actually went off on their 'gap year' and actually did sort of return a better person (once they stopped talking about it)
YOU SHOULD PROBABLY TAKE A BREAK FROM DATING IF...
- You’re not having fun. Because that, my friend, is the name of the game. If you’re not enjoying it, don’t force it. Don’t like football? Then don’t play it. Don’t like coffee? Then don’t drink it. Don’t like homework? Then don’t – actually you should probably do your homework. But you get the idea. If the fun has gone out of dating, though, then chances are, the fun has gone out of you, and you need a break. Nobody wants to be a fun sponge.
- You feel like you’ve ‘lost yourself’. Yeah, we know – ‘taking a break from a relationship to find yourself’ sounds super cringe, but it’s actually a pretty good reason to take a break from dating. Besides, think of all those people that actually went off on their 'gap year' and actually did sort of return a better person (once they stopped talking about it).
- You’re looking for a partner to ‘fill’ something you feel is missing. If you don’t feel complete unless you’re in a relationship, then it might be time to relearn how to focus on yourself. Going on dates with your crush can be fun, but you know what’s equally great? Hanging out with mates. Playing your favourite video game. Chilling with your dog. Relationships aren’t the be-all and end-all, but quality ‘me time’ always is.
THREE BENEFITS OF A DATING DETOX
- Learn how to focus on yourself. By taking a break from dating, we’re suddenly faced with endless amounts of time we otherwise would have spent swiping and messaging. It’s amazing the headspace it frees up, with new time to learn how to focus on yourself. Always wanted to learn the drums? Now’s a good time to pick up some sticks. Want to perfect a kickflip? Well get your board and practise. Need some ‘me time’? Then run a bubble bath and turn up the lo-fi beats to relax and chill to.
- Figure out what you want from dating. Mindlessly swiping on Tinder or Bumble until your thumbs are sore isn’t the best way to figure out what kind of person you’re into. Giving up on dating and relationships for a set amount of time can help with this, so you can focus on learning more about yourself and your interests during the break. Do you prefer Harry Potter or LotR? A night out or Netflix and chill? Pancakes or waffles? You get the gist. Once you’re ready to jump back into the dating game, you’ll have learnt what it is you like, as well as the stuff you’re not keen on, so you never have to be the “I’ll have what she’s having” kind of guy ever again.
- Become a better partner. We went there. If you’ve taken the time to get comfortable in your own skin and figure out what you want in a relationship, then you’ll find that dating in the future is easier. A good partner knows what they want. You’re more likely to a) match with someone who’s a better fit and b) enjoy the relationship more as a result – it’s a win-win situation. Look at you go.
THREE WAYS TO TAKE A BREAK FROM DATING
So, how do you go about giving up on dating and relationships so that it doesn’t feel quite so single and solitary?
- Set a goal. Saying that you’re going to take a break from dating and actually taking a break from dating are two very different things. Set yourself a time goal – for example, 30 days – for how long you want your dating detox to last. From personal experience, it’s more likely to stick.
- Enlist your mates. It’s much easier to follow through on a plan if you’ve told someone you’re going to do it. Let your pals know you’re taking a break from dating and get them to help you stick to it – either by organising fun activities to take your mind off it or just so they know not to invite you on a double date any time soon (but remember, wingman, you CAN).
- Find a hobby that you love. Alright, you don’t need to love it, but by investing your time in a different hobby or activity, you won’t have time to think about dating. Besides, one can never bake too much banana bread...
Give these a try
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