We all subconsciously have a timeline of our lives mapped out in our heads, whether we like to admit it or not. Almost like a list of standards, you have the ages we feel you should be done with school and fully employed, then x number of years you want to be dating someone before getting married, and then x number of years married before having kids or before your eggs self-destruct.
It’s overwhelming to say the least, especially when you’ve had your heart broken more times than you can count and settling down doesn’t even seem like an option right now. So when dating feels like a chore, maybe it's time to take a break from love.
When you’re burned out, dating is a waste of time. Apathy has replaced curiosity. Your heart is not available. The love of your life could have hired James Taylor to serenade you at your favorite wine bar, and you’d still wonder if you should skip the second glass so you could get home and binge watch Netflix.
It doesn’t matter why you need to take a break, whatever the reason may be, your soul needs a reboot. The key is to do it constructively that way, you don’t end up like your forever date-less girlfriend – you know, the one who’s been “taking a break” for the last six years.
1. Give yourself time restraints
That way you’ll be able to give yourself permission to really enjoy your time off. If you anticipate that your break will last through the holidays, maybe you can plan your own little “Eat, Pray, Love” romp around Costa Rica over Thanksgiving. You can then capitalize on the January rush of all those guys who suddenly realize they’d like someone to warm up their cold winter nights.
2. Set clear and concise goals for yourself
How many women do we know who say they’re going to get serious about dating “when they lose weight” or “when their work schedule slows down?” That kind of talk will keep you in break purgatory indefinitely. Make concrete goals that fit into your timeline. For example, if you gained a muffin top during the summer that hangs over your jeans, join a weight-loss program, such as Weight Watchers. If you feel overwhelmed at work, resolve to get back out there after your deadline.
3. Learn how to make yourself your #1 priority
Breaks give you time to tend to projects that you might have previously ignored. Maybe you want to binge-watch “Breaking Bad” for the first few weeks. Go ahead! But also use the opportunity to engage in activities that make you feel grounded, such as cleaning out your closet, painting your hallway, making Thanksgiving decorations with your niece or learning to make mole sauce. You’ll feel as if you’re taking care of yourself and moving forward in other areas of your life while your romantic life is on pause
4. Teach yourself to be flexible and roll with the punches
Sometimes life doesn’t cooperate with your timeline. You might be dealing with layoffs, illnesses or family issues, and you need more time off from dating. But it can be hard to relax, if you’re worried about your biological clock. You might consider freezing your eggs to give yourself more baby-making options in the future. Both dating and break-taking will be a lot more satisfying with a little less stress.
5. Be your best self and prep for the dating world again
When you decide you’re ready to date again, jump in with renewed energy. Post new photos to your profile. Get a new haircut or new highlights and put together a few outfits that make you feel good about yourself. You’ll signal to yourself – and others – that you’re fully present and ready to find a partner.
You got this when your heart is ready, you’ll know and you’ll be better than ever.
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