Most of my dating breaks have been involuntary. Either I just got the boot or gave it, and I was waiting for the next man to come along. That doesn't count as a break, if I'm still thinking about dating. One of my few real breaks was in graduate school when I was too overwhelmed and depressed to think about anything but my studies. My life at the time demanded a break from relationships. Fortunately I was aware that I couldn't give time to dating and school at that time.
Maybe you need a break from dating and don't know it. Sometimes it's obvious and other times it's not. Here are some of my reasons for taking a break from dating.
1. It's not fun. Dating shouldn't be a means to an end (e.g., marriage) nor something to fill another void in your life. It should be two people going out, getting to know each other and having fun. If you're not having fun anymore, it's time to step back and ask yourself why. You may be looking for something that dating won't provide. Or you're just too damn serious. Lighten up!
2. Your life is fucked up. Family troubles? Work a nightmare? Health problems? It's not fair to bring an innocent bystander into the mix. At any given moment, nobody's life is perfect, however you recognize when it things are just a total mess. Get your life back into a manageable level of chaos before dating again.
3. You've just ended a long-term relationship. Give yourself time to recover and unload some of the baggage you collect with each relationship before moving on. I'm the master of serial dating, because my actual relationships have been few and far between. It's okay to move onto the next one if you didn't invest much of your heart or your time into it. The end of a relationship is like a little death. It deserves to be mourned, alone, before you move on.
4. The number of people you've dated is numbering in the high double digits. When you've dated lots and lots and lots there are only two recourses. You become the Dating Diva. Ooops, that job is taken. Okay, then you must stop dating for a while and evaluate. Go back to reason No.1. Are you still having fun? Are you on the spouse hunt and hitting the wall every time? By now you're probably just broke and exhausted. Take a break.
There are a lot of positive things about being single and dateless. Like time to focus on other areas of your life, and I highly recommend it for everyone at some point, if only for a little while.
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