I’m Taking A Break From Dating & I’m Terrified

Dating is glorified these days. It’s seen as socially acceptable to spend hours on Tinder and to go lots of dates seeking out a mate. There’s nothing wrong with all of this except that it started to take a toll on me. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted out of dating, so I’m taking a damn break. Honestly, I’m kind of freaking out about it.

I burned myself out.

I went on over 60 dates last year. I was looking for love like a maniac, not knowing that I was probably pushing people away in the process. I took dating so seriously and I made it my number one priority. As a result, I really burned myself out. By the end, I was absolutely exhausted with dating and didn’t know where to turn to.

I realized I don’t know how to take a break from dating.

When my friend suggested strongly that I take a step back, I was dumbfounded. I genuinely didn’t know how to. I couldn’t even fathom where to start, nevermind think about how I’d stick to a break for an extended period of time. I know my problem is a big one when I’m so addicted to dating, love, and sex that I can’t even step away.

I went to a sex and love 12-step program.

I know that my problems run deep. Just taking a break on my own wouldn’t work—I need some serious supports. I need something as extreme as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous to help me sort out my issues. They’re helping me face my fears, giving me tools to make different choices, and providing me with a wonderful community.

I’m now enjoying my own company, date-free.

No dating apps, no dates, no kissing, and no casual sex are just some of the rules I’m following right now. I’m completely taking a break from romantic and/or sexual engagement. As I’ve been saying, this is very hard for me, but I’m dedicated.

I’m actually terrified.

All I know is dating and being in relationships. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. I’ve very rarely been alone, so naturally, I’m totally terrified. My fears range from fear of being alone forever to missing out on someone great. Being by myself is scary, but it means that I can look inward and start taking care of issues I’ve ignored for years. Here’s to walking through the fear!

I worry I can’t do it.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve started my break from dating and that’s longer than I ever thought possible. Still, I struggle to imagine taking off anything like a year. This amount of time seems utterly undoable for me. I guess the good news is that I only have to take things a day at a time, I don’t have to tackle all days at once.

In a way, I feel broken.

I know it’s not true, but sometimes I feel like I’m fundamentally flawed, like there’s no fixing me. I feel like I am so messed up in this area of my life that there’s really no hope. Feeling broken fed into toxic dating, so I know this mindset isn’t helpful. Instead, I’m trying to remind myself that I’m a lovable human being who’s wildly capable of change.

Others seem to refrain from dating with ease.

I’m probably comparing backstage to other people’s main event, most people struggle with dating in some way. It’s difficult! Plus, we’re all human. Nonetheless, I can’t stop my mind from sometimes telling me that I’m just messed up because other people actually get it. I’m learning not to compare, though.

I’m drawing hope from good examples.

I have a few women in my life who have remarkable dating lives. This isn’t because everything’s perfect, but rather they work hard to be healthy. They have excellent boundaries, they know their worth, and they learn from their mistakes. They’re quite graceful. Instead of comparing myself to others, I can draw strength and hope from their examples.

I hope the future will be better.

I’m learning and growing during this period of no dating. In a way, it’s like an investment in the future of my dating. I’m getting well now so that things can be better later. I really have hope that this can happen. I’ve made big changes in my life before, this one is doable.

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