Take A Dating Hiatus & Just Do You — It’ll Change Your Life

Whether your dating hiatus is planned out or it’s happening against your will, it can be a pretty awesome time. There’s nothing wrong with being single, and sometimes it’s the best possible thing that can happen. After all, not having a man in your life leaves plenty of time to take care of other life business that’ll make your day-to-day that much better.

Should you take a break from dating?

Having standards is great, but if you find that your dealbreaker list is longer than the list of things you actually like in a guy, it might be time to take a step back and roll solo for a while longer. Not sure if this is you? Check out the following signs you’re better off on your own for now.

  1. You’re afraid of meeting even the best matches. Online dating is great, but it also filters out prospective suitors before you’ve even given them a chance. Of course you don’t want to go out with anyone super creepy, but if you’re generally chatting with some legit guys but are still too chicken to meet up, maybe you just need to stay single for a bit longer.
  2. You turn down dates from the kinds of guys you would normally swoon over. We all have a type and certain dealbreakers, whether or not we’re strict about them. However, if you find yourself super bored at the thought of grabbing a drink with a guy who shares your interests and is just as career-minded as you are, for example, then it’s time to break it to yourself: you need a dating hiatus.
  3. You don’t trust your gut. Following your instincts is an incredibly important part of dating. Your gut tells you that guy who seemed 100 percent perfect online was a total creep on your first date, and your gut can get you out of some dangerous situations. If you go on date after date and don’t even know how you should feel about the people sitting across from you drinking beer, then you’ve definitely overloaded on bad dates lately and need a break.
  4. You’re emotionally drained. Think about how you feel after a rough week at the office. Multiply that by a million and that’s how you feel when you’ve been dating like it’s your full-time job and are getting nothing in return. Maybe you’re not into these guys, it’s mutual, or you keep getting rejected (the worst). It’s hard to stay positive and open to the idea of meeting new guys when we’re tired, so give yourself permission to stop going on dates right now. 
  5. You don’t even know what you want anymore. The longer you stay single, the more comfortable you become with it being just you. You can watch whatever reality shows you want, leave your dirty dishes in the kitchen for a week, and generally live a drama-free existence. When you go on a lot of first dates but it never goes beyond that, it becomes really hard to keep putting yourself out there because you wonder if you’re even interested in a relationship these days. If you’re on the fence, it’s probably a good idea to figure out what you want before meeting more people – it’s only fair to you and to them, too.
  6. Your wishlist doesn’t even make sense anymore. These days, we cross people off our to-date lists for stupid stuff like the fact that they have red hair or are shorter than we’re usually into. Those things don’t mean anything and definitely aren’t valid reasons to not go out with someone and give them a chance. If you keep fixating on the little stuff, you don’t really have any business trying to date.
  7. You’re being picky about everything. We all have off days, and sometimes the feeling that you just need a vacation from life sticks around until you actually get it. When we don’t feel happy and we’re without our usual optimism for the future, of course we’re going to end up being much pickier about the people you like than normal. That’s because we’re being picky about every single thing these days, whether it’s the restaurant that we’re meeting our BFF at for dinner or even the sweater we’re going to wear to work today.
  8. It takes a few dates to even know how you feel. It’s super rare to have one magical first date and realize you’ve met your soulmate. It does happen, but not often. Maybe you’re both nervous and your second date is much better, or it even takes a couple of dates to find your rhythm. If you’re so picky that you never let second dates happen and turn down every guy who sends you a sweet next-day text, then you should probably be alone right now so you can get in the right headspace to try again.
  9. You’re not afraid to be alone. If you find yourself more afraid of going on a bad date than of staying single, then you have your answer. Hey, who could blame you? A bunch of bad dates in a row are enough to make anyone want to embrace their solo status for a month or so.

Things to do while you’re rolling solo

  1. Make your house feel like your home. When you’re in a relationship, you might be bouncing back and forth between his place and yours, but when there’s no one in the picture, it’s a great time to make sure your living space is really working for you. Even if interior decorating isn’t your thing, there are some great home decor ideas even novices can do.
  2. Put your dating profiles on pause. You know it’s not going to hurt to leave them up there, but putting your dating life on pause means that you can stop checking the sites and apps obsessively and get back to doing you.
  3. Celebrate your freedom. It’s not a punishment to be on a dating hiatus; it’s a great opportunity to focus on you and only you. No fighting over weekend plans or whether it’s appropriate to get takeout from the same place every night this week is an added bonus.
  4. Finally unpack all that leftover baggage. Maybe the best thing about dating hiatus is that it gives you uninterrupted time to get over your ex and every other jerk you’ve accepted a date from lately. Taking some time out to roll solo allows you to wipe the slate and head in a new, better for you direction.
  5. Cut off your booty calls. You’re not totally single until you’re not seeing anyone, no matter what sort of labels or lack of labels those relationships have. Cut off the guys who just come around when it’s convenient and be empowered by your choice, as opposed to fearful about losing them.
  6. Sleep. Being in relationships can take a lot of energy, both emotionally and when you’re actually missing sleep by having sex and fighting over the covers. When no was else is around, take advantage of the uninterrupted time for serious shut eye.
  7. Get busy. That being said, you shouldn’t totally be slothing around. Being on a dating hiatus offers the perfect time to focus on your goals and interests. You probably have a whole list of must-dos that your last guy wasn’t super enthusiastic about, so now’s the time to do them.
  8. Apologize. If you’ve done some deep thinking on your hiatus and realize that you’ve done some hurting, it can be a good time to fess up and smooth things over with people you’ve screwed over. This can be good for your exes, but it’s even better for you.
  9. Work on trusting yourself. In the wake of failed romance, it’s easy to point fingers both at the guy and at yourself. But we all make mistakes, but we do the best with what we’re given. Knowing things didn’t go great is a good sign, because it means you won’t make the same mistakes again.
  10. Determine your true values. It’s easy to overlook values or brush off certain shortcomings when you’re in a relationship, but being single gives you the gift of not having that option. You’re free during a hiatus to figure out what you really want, which will prepare you for the right person when you’re ready to get back out there.

Things that happen when you take a long dating hiatus

  1. You lose the will to date. At first, this isn’t such a big deal. After all, your hiatus happened for a reason, so obviously you’re over the whole dating thing. But your goal probably wasn’t to stop dating forever and unfortunately, the more time you take for yourself, the less interested you are in finding love. Oops.
  2. You feel like something is missing. If you’ve been filling up your Friday evenings with first dates, you definitely notice the absence of those. At first this is pretty freeing. You can do what you want, when you want… even if that just means catching up on Pretty Little Liars. But then something funny happens and you feel like you should be doing something but can’t put your finger on it. This is pretty unsettling because you want to chill out but you feel pressed to get back into the swing of things.
  3. Your friends annoy you. Just because you’re taking a time-out from dating doesn’t mean that your BFFs are. They’re still out there and they’re still giving you their bad date play-by-play. You don’t want to hear it though right now, you’re not even thinking about dating. If only you could convince them to follow your lead. Sigh.
  4. You worry you’re wasting time. The thing about dating breaks is if you take enough of them, they totally add up. Suddenly your two weeks of Tinder-free bliss are two whole months. But what if you would have just gone on totally crappy dates during that time period? You probably haven’t missed anything at all.
  5. You realize you can’t meet anyone IRLSometimes taking a dating hiatus means an online dating hiatus, and for good reason. All that uncertainty and frustration and ruined hope can really take a toll. So sure, you naturally think you could meet a guy at a bar or a friend’s party. The problem is, this isn’t as easy as it used to be. So you probably figure out pretty fast that if you want a love connection, you might not find it out in the real world.
  6. You get your sh*t together. The best part about taking a break from going on dates? You have so much time to focus on yourself. So this is the greatest time ever to really figure your life out. If you have a dream you’ve been putting off, this is your time.
  7. You feel unbalanced. Before your hiatus, things were going pretty well. Sure, you hadn’t figured out the whole finding love thing, but you loved your job and friends and you were in control of stuff. Now you feel totally off-kilter, like you suddenly messed up all your future plans. You haven’t. You were totally right to take a step back. You’re not a dating machine and you shouldn’t be one, so chalk it up to a necessity and forget about it. As long as you get back out there, one little break isn’t something to sweat over.
Kate Ferguson is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blog and magazine genres. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce. Look for article links, updates, (and the occasional joke) on Twitter @KateFerg or @WriterKateFerg, or check out her personal blog ThatsRandomKate.blogspot.com