Should You Take a dating break?
Swipe, match, meet. Swipe, match, meet. Dating fatigue is real— and a common problem. To reboot your search for love, consider tapping out for a while.
There’s no denying that dating can be exhilarating. But from endless swiping to meeting to rejecting (or being rejected by) dozens of matches, it can also be profoundly exhausting. When you haven’t found success, and you’ve become reliant on your smartphone to try to find the person you want to be with long-term, it’s easy to grow disillusioned and resent the entire experience.
I see this among my clients. People who are normally friendly, warm, and upbeat grow cold, defeated, and cynical. They’ve been through so many deceitful, “I’m just going out with you so I can sleep with you” letdowns. They tell me that they don’t believe in love anymore and question whether their expectations are stratospherically high or catastrophically low. Clearly frustrated, they even start to doubt their own self-worth.
In cases like these, I recommend taking a deliberate break from dating and treating it like a cleanse. That may sound drastic, but it works wonders for your self-care and sets you up for a more fruitful dating future. Here are your ground rules for pressing pause.
Make sure the time is right
If you can relate to what I’ve described above, a romantic recess is likely a good call. But if you find you have no real reason to stop dating or you’re doing so because you can’t deal with any rejection whatsoever, then this approach won’t work for you. Not dating could become a crutch—a way to avoid ever getting back out there. You’ll only be using it as an excuse to stay out of the singles’ pool, and that could mean missing the chance to meet a person who would be great for you. Remember: A hiatus is meant to be temporary.
Focus on You
After you delete your apps and swear off all dates, replace them with some solo time. Instead of obsessing about great first-date wine bars or hitting it off with someone, your mind is free to reflect on your past experiences— and you can think smartly about shifting your approach. Ask yourself: What have I learned so far? What do I want to do differently? What’s worked? What hasn’t? During this uninterrupted time, you can uncover real, useful answers.
Most important, your self-worth no longer hinges on whether someone likes your look in photos, sends you a message, or asks you out. By taking a break from all that, you can remind yourself what a catch you are and that your true value lies in who you are in real life—which is a wonderful, intriguing, and attractive person.
put Yourself out there
...but not with romantic intentions yet. Say yes to new social situations by joining a running group or taking that random coworker up on his housewarming party invite. This will get you out of the habit of turning down or ignoring opportunities to interact with people who aren’t potential mates. You’ll have interesting, fulfilling experiences and be reminded of how easy it can be to connect with someone when you have zero ulterior motives.
Do something that invites physical contact with others
Sign up for a dance class or a boxing session before work. By channeling the need to connect with someone into an active pursuit, you’ll get the rush and feeling of touch without the emotional weight of a date. (Oh, and by the way, if you just so happen to meet a special someone while you’re out and about? That’s okay. The main purpose of a break is to remove yourself from a state of dating obsession. If a connection happens organically IRL, it’s completely fine to make an exception.)
There’s no set time for when a dating timeout should end—it could be after a few weeks or even a few months. You’ll know you’re ready to get back in the game when you feel content with just yourself and you’re not always wondering about matching with another single.
This time, try a mix of approaches. Download your favorite apps again, but also keep making an effort to meet new platonic friends. After your cleanse, you’ll be more likely to give people a chance and not judge them so quickly. You’ll become a smarter, more compassionate dater—and an allaround fuller person.