Have you ever spent a long period of time intentionally avoiding sexual or romantic entanglements? We’ve all had cold streaks when we haven’t met anyone we liked for a while, but we were still trying to meet someone, so that’s different. But have you ever set aside a specific period of time when you would intentionally stay away from any sort of fling/relationship/hookup? A time when you took yourself off the market, and when you sensed flirtation starting with someone, you diffused it right away. You weren’t dating. Have you ever tried it? Very few people have. It’s only human nature to keep searching for “The One,” after all, and nobody likes wasting time. Taking a long time off of dating can feel like wasting time. What if you miss your chance? What if “The One” passes you by? Realistically, if you have never, ever, taking a clean break from dating, the only person who is passing you by is…yourself.
Just like rushing relationships usually turns out to be a waste of time, failing to ever dedicate a period of your life to just you is also a form of wasting time. Any efforts to find a partner before finding yourself are all a part of wasted time – and will likely result in codependent relationships. After a slew of failed min-relationships tied together by flings and hookups, I took a year to quit dating entirely in my twenties. What I learned, I’ll never forget, and always cherish. Here’s what happens when you quit dating cold turkey for a year.
You realize it’s harder than you think
You might first scoff at the idea. “I can quit dating – no problem,” you’ll say, with plenty of confidence. But then, you’ll quickly realize that every instinct in your body sends you in the other direction. You’ll quickly realize how much flirting, and a search for connection, are a part of so many of your daily interactions. It will become apparent that you’ve always gone about your life – whether you’re just grocery shopping or at a party – putting out this certain vibe that welcomed potential romantic entanglements. Only once you need to shut off that switch do you realize how very on it has been, for a very long time. And it’s difficult to shut off. Curating a set of behaviors, from the tone of voice to body language, to facial expressions, that says, “I’m closed for business” goes against every fiber of your being.