A common question I get from people is “Should I take a break from dating?”
These people are either burned out on online dating, coming out of a long relationship or divorce, or scared to get back into the dating game and they’re confused by advice like:
“Don’t date until you’re 100% happy being single.”
“Enjoy your life. Focus on your career. Spend time traveling.”
“Spend some time figuring out what went wrong & don’t make the same mistakes again.”
Here’s my advice: Sometimes taking a break from dating could be the worse thing you can do.
Before I explain why, let me tell you a story.
After my broken engagement, I moved to the East Coast to attend graduate school. It was a small college town with nothing much to do other than go to football games or go out drinking. Since I wasn’t interested in either of those things, I poured myself into my studies, went out to eat with friends, volunteered in the church, and even started speaking to women’s and youth groups. I kept myself busy pursuing my goals to keep my mind off the deep hurt and loneliness I felt as a result of my previous relationship.
Everyone told me the right person would find me when I wasn’t looking, so I made sure to distract myself.
Two years later, that person still hadn’t found me, even though I was super busy.
I soon found myself singing at a wedding. It was close to graduation and I was returning home for the summer before my PhD program got underway. This was one of 7 weddings I’d attended in a few short months and the sight of that lovely bride walking down the aisle as I serenaded her triggered the loneliness I thought I’d pushed down inside my heart.
That evening, I called my ex-fiancé.
Despite every red flag, I drank the Kool-aid he offered because after a 2-year dating drought, I was thirsty.
We’ve all been disappointed in love. But closing up your heart in the name of “taking a break” will only set you up for more relationship failures.
Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, pyschologist, licensed clinical social worker and author of Smart Relationships: How Successful Women Can Find True Love would agree. She says being done with love can be dangerous:
“Most of us have been hurt–really hurt–in love, but a wiser response is to learn about the situation and get back into life and love.”
Falling in love is risky. You could get hurt. And sometimes the only way to avoid getting hurt again is to choose to be alone and create a life you love. I get it.
But if you would rather be in love instead of being alone, a break from dating should only be a few weeks to a few months, unless of course you’ve been through some very traumatic relationships. Then you’d need to work with someone who can help you move forward in your life.
However, if it’s been years since you’ve been on a date, it’s time for you to do the work, so you can be ready for love.
Someone, right now, is looking for you, but you won’t meet this person until you start doing things in a new way.
BMWK – I’m here to support you! Tell me, what’s your greatest challenge in dating?