I Stopped Dating For A Year & Realized Some Important Things

I was feeling drained and totally over the dating scene so I decided to leave it for a year. During that time, my whole life changed. I had more money, more time for my friends and hobbies, and I even experienced a lot of personal growth. I also spent plenty of time on self-reflection and realized some important things.

Shopping alone is the best.

Before I stopped casually dating, Saturday mall trips with my beau of choice were almost standard. It wasn’t until I went to the mall alone, circled the same store three times without interruption, and speculated the same distressed jeans each time that I realized how much fun I was having all on my own. Having no one there to rush me or push me to try on something outside of my typically dark palette was refreshing.

I was forced to become a better driver.

I’ve never really been that great of a driver, which meant most of my dates had to chauffeur me around time to time. Once my dating prospects were out of the picture, it involuntarily caused me to get back on the road, even driving to places I wasn’t the most comfortable or experienced with. Luckily, fight or flight kicked into gear during those intense highway expeditions and a much better driver emerged from it.

I actually made serious progress on accomplishing my goals.

Focusing solely on my needs caused me to dial in on more goals I set for myself and actually accomplish them. When I date, I tend to get engrossed in the person I’m dating and our relationship, which can cause a temporary shift in priorities. Learning likes and dislikes, the dynamics of your new dating buddy’s friend group, or even if his dog will like you can cause unnecessary pressure from multiple directions. Taking a potential love interest out of the equation caused me to worry about what was best for me and only me. I loved how much I started to get done because of it.

I actually don’t like rom-coms.

I don’t know where in the dating handbook it says rom-coms are date night essentials, but once I stopped dating I realized I never was really into them. Ice cream, my favorite blanket, and the latest Netflix horror are my favorite dateless date night combo.

It’s OK to eat at nice restaurants alone.

I love going out solo for a nice dinner, like steakhouse status—they always have the best cocktails anyway, I was always worried about what others would think if they saw me eating alone, especially on the weekends, but after going one too many nights without my favorite pasta, I decided to take the plunge. I think the food tastes even better when I’m alone. I’m able to savor every bite in peace without anything or anyone trying to steal the moment.

Sleeping alone has a lot of pros.

When you’re dating and getting to know someone, it’s natural to try and be as accommodating as possible. Now without anyone in my bed, I can stretch out as much as I want, lay on whichever side I’d like, and blast the heat as high as I see fit. Sleeping alone is the best.

I actually don’t care for roses.

Most guys usually don’t know a whole lot about flowers. The fan favorite for first dates, romantic holidays, or even just “thinking of you” gestures always seem to be roses. Of course, receiving any type of thoughtful gift from the guy you’re seeing is greatly appreciated, but once I ditched the dating scene, I became a bit more aware of what I actually like flower-wise, and I’ve been obsessed with lilies ever since.

My mood was a lot more stable. 

How crazy does that sound? Because I stopped dating for a year, the highs and lows that came with it were no longer a part of my life. In no way did that mean my life was instantly perfect, but dating isn’t easy and the emotions that are invested in a sometimes unpredictable situation can cause more turmoil than I’d usually like to admit. It feels good to have my sanity restored.

Self-pleasure is the best pleasure.

My lack of dating also coincided with lack of sex—that is, with another person being involved. My masturbation skills reached new heights during my journey of no dating. I was able to learn new things about my body and became very crafty with different ways to please myself. Now, when I get in a relationship again, I’ll be able to help my partner get me off way better.

Guys will always be around.

Whether you want to take six months off from dating or even six years, there’s no need to worry. The male species will still be out there and ready to mingle. There’s really no need to rush, and taking the time for yourself may help you discover more about who you really are. I highly recommend it.

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