I’m On A Dating Break—Here’s What I Want To Do Differently When I Get Back Out There

I’m currently on a dating sabbatical, and during this period of reflection and healing, I’m thinking about what I want to be different when I do start dating again. I definitely want to be healthier, and here’s how I plan to do it.

  1. I want to choose people who are healthy. This may seem like an obvious one, but I used to choose people who were a bit toxic, perhaps because I wasn’t in the best place myself. Now I want to take the time to feel out if a person is healthy or not. Hopefully, as I’m getting better myself, I’ll be attracted to those who are in a good place too.
  2. I want to refrain from getting so invested before anything even happens. I don’t know how I’m going to make my feelings smaller than they are but I’m going to try. I get obsessive about people very quickly and develop feelings for them abruptly. It scares most people off, so I’m going to try to learn to chill out, letting things unfold as they may and not being so attached to the outcome. Wish me luck!
  3. I want to date someone who will meet me halfway. I’ve dated too many people who either couldn’t or refused to meet me halfway. Whether it was me driving to their house all of the time or me doing all the emotional labor, it just wasn’t equal. I’m now going to refuse to be with someone who won’t meet me halfway. I’d even like someone who will go a little more than halfway sometimes because lord knows I will.
  4. I want to bring mindfulness into my relationships. I want to be more present on my dates and more focused on what’s happening. Sometimes I went on dates when I was having a bad day and I totally wasn’t present. Part of being mindful is also knowing when I need to cancel a date.
  5. I want to wait longer to sleep with people. I’m used to jumping right into bed with someone. I’d get super excited about them, get overwhelmed by my feelings, and not know how to process them in a healthy manner. Now I want to give it some time. I want to treat us both like human beings who are deserving of respect and dignity. I want to actually get to know someone before I get physical. I’ll wait to sleep with them.
  6. I want to stop oversharing so much. I’ve had times in my life where I thought that oversharing was a good thing. I don’t really feel that way anymore. In fact, I think it’s unhealthy to unload everything on a first or second date. I’m still all for being vulnerable, but some things can wait (like my mental health diagnoses or my trauma).
  7. I want to listen to red flags when they appear. I used to be kind of lax about red flags. I’d hear something and I’d say, “Well, maybe it’s not that big of a deal. It’ll be fine.” For example, a guy said to me that he had to drink because of his job. As a recovering alcoholic, I just can’t have that kind of energy in my life. Moving forward, I’ll believe people when they say things like this and listen to red flags.
  8. I don’t want to settle for less. I spent too much time in relationships where I wasn’t getting what I needed. I was with someone who hardly texted or called me and that just didn’t fly with me. I stayed in the relationship anyway. Now I’m going to remember my worth. I’m going to keep in mind that I deserve someone awesome and I don’t have to settle for anything less than awesome.
  9. I only want to go on dates with people I want to be around. This may sound obvious, but I went on so many dates I didn’t really want to be on. I thought I’d give someone a chance even though I wasn’t attracted to them or they gave me a weird vibe. In the future, I’m going to stop going on dates with these people. I’m going to let myself be pickier and not feel bad about it. There’s someone for just about everyone, it’s OK if some people aren’t for me.
  10. I won’t argue with people on dating apps. I sometimes debate with people (usually men) about politics on apps like Tinder. I often get into it when they ask me what “being body positive” means on my profile, then they begin fat shaming. It gets me fired up! Anyway, I hope to stop arguing with people so much. It’s just not worth it. I’ll save my energy for someone who will actually have an open mind.
Ginelle Testa's an avid wordsmith. She's a queer gal whose passions include recovery/sobriety, social justice, body positivity, and intersectional feminism. In the rare moments she isn't writing, you can find her holding her own in a recreational street hockey league, thrifting eclectic attire, and imperfectly practicing Buddhism. Follow her on Insta!