Have you reached a point in your dating life when just the thought of having to share a meal and small talk with another person is nauseating? Maybe you’ve looked across the table during some of your dates and wondered, hopefully not aloud: “Why am I here right now?”
If you’re tired of mechanically smiling at a succession of strange faces, or texting last minute cancellations, or making excuses for not quite feeling well, it’s time to take a break from dating. But how do you know when it’s time to pump the breaks and take some time for yourself?
Dating deja vu
Anyone who’s gone on enough dates knows burnout can easily set in after hearing the same questions over and over: “What do you do for fun?”—“Where do you work?” etc.—It doesn’t take long before your date’s voice becomes obscured by clinking silverware and the humming chatter of restaurant patrons, making your answers as interesting as a job interview, which is probably why you find it so shocking that more than one of your dates has asked you back to his place.
It’s easy to get lost in a succession of similar experiences, where faces change but your thoughts are very much the same, where what matters most isn’t so much what the other person says or has to offer but how you feel about yourself.
We all know we get as much out of something as we are willing to put into it. If you’re tired of being stuck in dating limbo and want something more meaningful, you have to get back to yourself and try something new.
Remember who you are
After dating a while, it’s easy to fall into the same routine. You may go out with the same group of friends, go to the same bars and restaurants, but never wear the same outfit. Of course, you already know that. But when your outfit is the only aspect of your routine that changes from day to day, it’s easy to forget who you are.
Take some time to get back to what you enjoy. Or just take some quiet time to get your bearings and figure out your next step. It’s never too late to meet new people and get outside of yourself in a way that doesn’t consciously include the pitfalls of romantic entanglement. Maybe it’s time for you to cultivate some new interests and break the monotony of your everyday life?
Dating takes time and we have but a short time to get to know the most important person on this earth, ourselves. Make a list of things that you’ve always wanted to try and get started checking things off your list. Doing new things is a great way to expand your consciousness and boost your self-confidence. Plus, think of all of the great people you’ll meet.
Be okay on your own
One of the most important life skills you can learn is how to be okay on your own. When you base your feelings and emotions on things outside yourself, you become vulnerable to heartbreak and disappointment. Life is less like a rollercoaster than we’re lead to believe, and we’re in control of our own happiness.
Dating and relationships won’t make a person whole. And if you feel that you need a relationship to be happy or feel loved, it’s time for you to learn to be okay on your own. Consider why you’re afraid of being alone and what you can do to get over your fear. Certainly, more dates are not going to help.
Successful dating involves two individuals who are confident enough to stand on their own and don’t need someone so much that they lose their individual identities. If you find the thought of being alone sickening, try a slow immersion technique, where you incrementally spend more time alone, and fill your time with exercise and activities instead of wallowing in depression and self-pity.
Change is good
So, if you’ve made it this far and are still wondering whether or not you should take a break from dating, you should. What do you have to lose? Change is good. We should all struggle to free ourselves from the bondage of expectations and learn to accept with gratitude what life has in store for us, whether that’s in a new relationship or through time spent alone.
When your happiness and self-worth comes from within, you’ll begin attracting many new wonderful people into your life. Don’t be afraid to just sit back, relax and see what happens. When you let go of your fear and frustration, when you know and love who you are, dating becomes fun again. It’s never too late to take a break. What are you waiting for?
Sarah Williams is a freelance writer that is passionate about psychology. After several relationships and a LOT of dates, she shares her honest female perspective about dating on Wingman Magazine. After all, she is just a hopeless romantic trying to figure it all out.