I Gave Up Dating For Lent & Seriously, You Need To Try It Too

Every year, Lent rolls around and I decide to take on a challenge that would somehow simplify my life. Two years ago, I gave up taco Tuesday. Last year I put my Instagram addiction to a halt. This year, I gave up dating — and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

  1. My health has improved tremendously. Since I wasn’t going out for drinks three times a week, I used this new dating-free lifestyle to go to bed early. I went hiking and even took up cooking. I never realized how much time and effort dating required until Lent. Having hangover-free mornings, meant so much more quality time. After about 30 days free of alcohol, I had a ton of energy. I dropped a few pounds and my skin cleared up. When I resume dating, drinks will be swapped for a movie, hiking or a cooking class. After all, we all deserve people who have more interests than small talk over a beer and awkward make-out sessions outside the bar, right?
  2. I realized that I’m superficial when it comes to dating. That’s partly because I employed the same dating routine with everyone. In the words of Ed Sheeran, “the club isn’t the best place to find love,” and that’s totally true. Using my new dating strategies, I can surpass the superficial attraction to blonde, fit guys in crowded clubs. Instead, I’ll really listen to what guys have to say, even if they aren’t my ideal type. During Lent I learned to put appearance second and look for a man who genuinely respects women.
  3. Lent taught me the value of a good conversation. When you spend over 30 days date-free, you really learn to appreciate the time you spend with new people. I used to be a major space cadet on dates. I constantly looked at my watch, wondering when we’ll go to his place or when  I could ditch him. All in all, I was a terrible date. Abstaining has taught me to actively listen to what my date is saying and fully engage. Communication is just as important as sexual chemistry.
  4. My confidence increased.Going on a dating detox really made me pause and take a look at myself. I used to be on the shy side and never thought that I had something interesting to contribute. After politely declining dating invitations, my time became such a valued resource to men. I finally recognized the qualities I bring to the table and started owning them big time.
  5. No more booty calls.If someone had told me that the “you up” texts at 5 a.m. would stop, I would have gone on Lent long ago. I weeded out all the jerks and only kept those decent guys who invited me out at a reasonable time.
  6. I got so much respect.I told a bunch of my friends about my little experiment and got a ton of respect for it. Turns out, lots of people wish they could just not go out with anyone and do their own thing. Dating serves as validation we seek from society. When you stop doing it, you begin marching to your own drum and not conforming to society.
  7. I became a low-key Oprah.I became something of a mentor for those who wanted to take a break from the dating roller coaster. As a practically “veteran” at the Lent game, I gladly support friends who need a little help saying no to yet another blind date.
  8. No more toxic guys.The more I dated, the more I got into the habit of going for the same type of guy and regretting it. While on a break from dating,I figured out why I was attracting toxic guysand changed my game plan. I now choose carefully who I spend my time with instead of going out with everyone just to get attention.
  9. I quit one-night stands.Most of my former dating experience revolved around one-night stands. Though it was fun in college, it’s not enough anymore.I don’t judgepeople for sleeping around, but it’s not my thing. I want to snuggle with someone and go out for breakfast. I don’t want to frantically try to put myself together while fearing he’d wake up any second. “No, thanks” to the awkward small talk with me. Guess Lent showed me what I really want after all.
  10. I learned self-love. If you’ve been navigating the dating scene for a decade, you’ve most likely felt totally exhausted at some point. Taking a break from dating allowed me to focus on my work, friendships, and hobbies. This helped me love myself much more. I no longer need the attention of a stranger to feel important. Dating is fun, but it can also be draining. Try taking a break and see what you find out about yourself.
Dayana is a passionate traveler who's been navigating foreign lands and confusing relationships since she was 16. You can read more of her work on Matador Network and her blog, Dee Across The Sea.