Dating Detox: Benefits of Taking a Break From Dating

Key Points

  • Taking a break from dating is a healthy way to focus on yourself and reflect upon previous dating experiences.

  • Pausing your love life allows you to grow as an individual and focus on other aspects of your life while healing from unhealthy relationship patterns.

  • While taking a break from dating, use the time for YOU: Adopt new hobbies, deepen connections with friends, and figure out your intentions for future relationships.

  • Grow your sense of self-worth, reflect on what you want from dating, then get out there when you feel ready.

If you've been agreeing to blind dates, scoping out your local coffee shop for hotties, or cycling through your top three favorite dating apps for a while now, you know that dating can feel a lot like running on a hamster wheel. Taking a break from dating is the perfect way to focus on yourself and foster healthy future relationships.

Put yourself first to find fulfillment in your own life and romantic relationships. Whether you need a hiatus to be present in your job or to get over the person you thought was going to be the love of your life, there are countless reasons for taking a break from dating. Utilize the time you’re single to level up in your career, start a new hobby, figure out what you want from relationships, become emotionally available, and start going to therapy.

Only start dating again if and when you feel ready. There is no easy way to know for sure when the best time is for you, but listen to your inner monologue, and follow some guidelines to check in if you've healed enough to let someone in again.

Healthy relationships only happen when both parties are emotionally available and ready to engage in a deep connection. Taking a break from dating is a wonderful decision to heal from the past and ensure a healthy future.

Single man happy

On a Break

Taking a break from dating simply means that you’re putting your romantic life on pause. You no longer go on dates or pursue love interests. This break is as short or long as you wish – usually with a specific goal for your hiatus.

Reasons for taking a break vary for every person but generally, the intention is to focus on yourself for some time. Perhaps dating is going badly for you or you’re working toward a promotion at work. Maybe you just went through a difficult breakup so you want time to heal your broken heart and reflect upon what went wrong in the relationship. Perhaps you see red flags very late in relationships and keep getting hurt over and over.

If you take a break from dating, it does not mean you have given up on your love life. It’s a way to prioritize other aspects of your life while putting romance on the back burner for a while. It is a very normal and healthy way to heal yourself and strive for healthy relationships in the future.

Why Take a Break?

There are countless unique reasons someone chooses to take a break from dating. Perhaps you have many reasons or maybe you are just exhausted by romance right now.

Some of the most common reasons someone pauses their love life are for personal growth and healing past experiences.

Personal Growth

Focusing on your personal growth is a top reason to take a hiatus from dating. You have more time to spend on yourself and things you enjoy when you stop putting energy into romances. This makes you a better person and improves your ability to be a good partner when you decide you're ready again.

Spend your time alone engaging in hobbies and other interests that bring you joy. Start learning a new language in a class or on an app. Buy art supplies and find some inspiration to begin painting. Join your local gym and try out a variety of classes. Read the hottest new book and watch the corresponding Netflix movie after.

Plan some travels by yourself or with friends to expand your horizons through new experiences. Traveling is an amazing way to gain perspective and learn about the world. It’s incredibly healing after a hard breakup, too. Solo traveling is perfect when you are taking a break from dating, but be wary of the temptation of hostel hotties.

Girl dancing alone

Consider going to therapy to heal old wounds and explore yourself more deeply. Take the time and space while you’re alone to strengthen your mental health and learn about how relationships affect you. Work through past traumas to improve future relationships and your overall well-being. Speaking with a professional therapist is beneficial, so give it a try.

Build deeper connections with your friends and expand your social circle while you are single. If you have relied on romantic relationships too heavily for social interaction, take this time off to focus on other social connections. It's very fulfilling to have meaningful bonds with friends beyond a romantic relationship. After all, friendships last a lifetime while romantic relationships tend to come and go. Keep prioritizing them when you jump back into the dating world, too!

Taking a break from dating allows space for personal development and time to dive deeper into other aspects of your life. Whether your intention for a break was for self-improvement or not, take the opportunity to grow as a person and form a stronger sense of self.

Healing Past Experiences

If you feel burnt out from dating due to bad experiences, taking a break is refreshing and healing. Have you tried to date for a long time without success? Do you feel heartbroken from a recent breakup? Have you experienced a lot of rejection or disappointment lately? Maybe it's time to take a step back and heal from past experiences to put your best foot forward in the future.

Regardless of the specific bad experience you've had in dating recently, taking a break heals your hurt wounds and allows you to reflect on your navigation of the dating scene. Allow yourself the time to heal emotionally before starting a new relationship. Get rid of your emotional baggage to avoid a new relationship failing due to past hurt.

Man hugging self

Going on a series of disappointing dates may lead to a negative view of dating. You become discouraged about finding the right partner and risk going into overdrive or feeling desperate. Take a hiatus to avoid feeling cynical about dating and regain a positive outlook on seeking a love life.

Take this time to prioritize self-care and treat yourself to recharging experiences. Catch up on sleep, join a gym, and treat yourself to a spa day. Start journaling to talk yourself through your triggers and learn more about yourself. Find peace with yourself to regain a positive outlook on life.

Lean on friends and family for support when you are feeling hopeless. Vent to them about the issues you have experienced for comfort and new perspectives. This is also an opportunity to prioritize other relationships you neglected when elbow-deep in your unhealthy relationships.

Reflect on what you really want from dating before you dive back in. It's difficult to see what is going wrong in failed relationships when you are in the dating game. Take a step back and time off to reflect upon the issues and gain perspective.

There are countless books available to heal bad relationship patterns, and trained therapists are always equipped to help.

Signs You Need a Break

If you feel you need a break from dating, do just that! Some people can sense when they’re in need of a break, but others not so much. Some sure signs you could benefit from a break are a bad attitude, unclear goals, not being yourself, a recent breakup, engaging in damaging behavior, or seeking validation from the wrong sources.

Bad Attitude

If you’re no longer excited about dating, but rather feel it's a chore for you to go on dates, stop going on dates for a while. You want to feel exhilaration when dating, even if it makes you nervous sometimes. Dreading the thought of going on a date is a bad sign that you have become cynical about romance and need some time off to refresh your attitude.

According to licensed therapist, author, and host of the show Couple's Therapy Dr. Jenn Mann:

"If you feel exhausted, frustrated, or disillusioned by the dating process, it may be time to take a break. If you find yourself feeling like you're forcing yourself to date or not having fun on dates, it's a sign that you may need to step back and take some time for self-care. It's important to listen to your intuition and honor your needs, even if that means taking a break from dating for a while."

Not having fun when out dating? It's okay to let yourself off the hook.

Unclear Goals

Without a common goal in mind for dating, relationships become complicated and someone often gets hurt.

It's okay to go with the flow and see how you connect with someone but it's unhealthy to be constantly stuck in situations that make you feel lost. Perhaps you also keep dating people that are not good for you and you need to figure out exactly what you want in a partner. Take a break to align your goals for dating and figure out what you are looking for in a partner.

Girl hugging self

Not Being Yourself

If you find yourself putting on a persona to make sure your dates like you, this is a huge red flag that you’re dating the wrong people.

The right person for you is going to want to see an authentic version of you. Perhaps someone loves the actress version of you, but this is not sustainable for a real, long-term connection. Plus, it's exhausting to pretend to be someone you're not! The facade is going to come crumbling down eventually.

You don't need to work too hard or be someone you're not to find someone that likes you. If you aren't yourself on dates, take some time off to figure out exactly who you are and what you want in a relationship. Show up again as your authentic self and feel at peace that the right person likes you for who you truly are.

Recent Break-Up

Feeling heartbroken after a breakup signals that it is a good time to take a break from dating.

Give yourself time to heal from the failed relationship and hurt feelings before trying to build a connection with someone new. Reflect upon why your committed relationship went south and overcome your feelings for the person. Take your time before jumping back into the dating scene to avoid rebound relationships and unresolved feelings.

Damaging Behavior

Damaging behavior in dating takes many forms and harms both you and your partner. These actions lead to emotional pain for both parties and toxic relationships. It takes courage to recognize that you are acting in a damaging way, but it is the first step in overcoming this cycle.

Take a break from dating when you realize that you are in an unhealthy relationship or acting in damaging ways. Manipulating your partner to get your own way or make them feel guilty is one example of damaging behavior. Trying to dictate or control your partner in any way is toxic behavior that you must learn to stop.

If you find yourself lacking respect or communicating violently, consider why you are doing this and take time to heal yourself before engaging in another relationship. This includes name-calling, insults, lying, and passive-aggressive behavior. These behaviors impact the trust in a relationship and the emotional well-being of both people.

When you recognize that you’re in an unhealthy relationship – especially if you’re acting in a damaging way yourself – take time off from dating to see a therapist and heal your wounds. People acting in a damaging way to others are most likely experiencing hurt feelings or trauma within themselves. Find a way to heal this before you start dating again for your own well-being and assurance you're ready to be a good partner.

Man dancing alone

Seeking Validation

If you go on dates or have casual sex in search of personal validation, you’re hurting yourself and others — especially if you're not being honest about your intentions. This is typically due to low self-esteem and causes individuals to put on a front in hopes of feeling wanted.

Dating to seek validation allows individuals to feel desirable romantically or sexually by others. When dating for external validation, people are deeply insecure and do not feel good about themselves. They use external validation and acceptance from partners to avoid the insecure feelings they have about themselves.

Take time off from dating to gain a sense of self-worth and feel happy with yourself. Read a self-help book or utilize a workbook that focuses on insecurity and external validation. Consider seeing a therapist to get to the root of your trouble and work through this personal issue.

Only start dating again when you feel secure with yourself to avoid hurting yourself and the people that you date.

Get Back Into Dating

When to start dating again after taking a break is a personal choice without any type of golden rule attached. However, consider the amount of closure you have from previous breakups, your self-confidence, your emotional availability, and what you want out of dating when deciding if you are ready to get back into the dating world.

Closure From Previous Breakups

If you took a break from dating after a recent break-up, only start dating again when you have fully processed your hurt feelings. After working through lingering emotions from this relationship and feeling satisfied in your life without this person, consider dating again. Wait until you are no longer consumed by thoughts about your ex and feel closure from the breakup.

Be in a place where you won't compare new partners to an ex before you begin dating again. If you are constantly looking for a previous partner in a new partner, you face disappointment and unfair standards for the new boo. Only date when you are truly over your ex to avoid comparing new partners to them.

Self Confidence

When you feel confident in yourself and happy in your life as a single, this is a good sign that you’re ready to engage in a healthy, new relationship. Self-worth is essential in fostering a healthy relationship.

When you’re confident in yourself, you attract healthy partners who also have a sense of self-worth. This allows you both to create a healthy bond and attachment to one another without becoming codependent. Self-worth allows you to set healthy boundaries and recognize when someone is not treating you with respect. You don't rely on others to make you feel good about yourself when you make yourself feel good, without external validation.

Having a sense of self-worth prevents you from settling for partners that do not treat you how you want and deserve. Be aware of how you expect a partner to treat you and do not accept anything less.

Facing rejection is easier when you are confident in yourself. If you lack self-esteem, it is difficult to experience rejection from a love interest. Insecurity causes you to internalize negative feedback or even simple rejection from others. Resilience to rejection comes when you are comfortable with yourself and have a sense of self-worth.

Feel fulfilled in your own life and have a sense of self-worth before engaging in a romantic relationship.

Know What You Want

Be aware of what you’re seeking in a new relationship before you begin dating. Reflect on your values and priorities in dating to be more efficient in your hunt for a happily ever after.

Without knowing what you want from a relationship, there is no point in dating. You waste your own time and the time of people you go on dates with. When you have a clear image of what you are looking for, you can date objectively and search for what is best for you.

Emotional Availability

Wait to date until you’re open and ready to engage in an emotional relationship again. Be ready to openly communicate and be vulnerable with someone. Have the capacity to invest time and emotionally connect with a romantic interest.

You are only able to build trust with someone if you are honest about your emotions. This allows you to create an emotional bond and connect with a partner on a deeper level. Intimacy is essential to an emotionally healthy relationship but only possible if you’re emotionally available.

Conflict resolution is attainable when both parties are in tune with their emotions and willing to talk about them. Avoid misunderstandings and escalations of conflict through healthy and open communication.

Make sure you are ready to invest your time and energy into a relationship before engaging in one. Remaining emotionally available allows you to build trust and intimacy, two key aspects of a healthy relationship.

Desire To Date

Don't begin dating again because you think it has been too long or other people are pressuring you to put yourself back out there. Experience the feeling of fun and fulfillment in dating. It’s not a chore – and shouldn’t feel like one!

If you start dating before you’re ready, you risk undoing the improvements you did on yourself during your break. You are likely to start dating someone that is not good for you and engage in another unhealthy relationship.

If you date because you feel obligated, you are unable to engage in a relationship built on real connection. Only date again when you have the desire to build all types of intimacy with a romantic partner. It's impossible to have a positive dating experience if you don't have an interest in dating.

Single girl in landscape

Do Your Own Thing

Deciding to take a break from the dating world is a healthy and constructive coping mechanism to improve yourself and your relationships. When you have negative views about dating, are heartbroken from another relationship, or just need some time to yourself, make this a priority and find the beauty of the single life for a while.

Backpack through Europe, take a cooking class, pour your heart out into your journal, and find a therapist to help you dive deep into your emotional history. When you feel emotionally available and excited to date again, you’re far more likely to find a good partner and build a healthy relationship.

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