Happy Love Month! As we head into Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share my experience not dating for over a year. Last year, I shared that I had been ghosted by the last man that I had dated and after that experience I decided to stop dating. I made the decision because I felt that I needed to stop trying to control my dating life, and for a long time I felt that God was telling me to let go and let him handle it. So, I did. My last date was October 2020, and that was also the last time I entertained or was talking to a man. Now I’ve gone periods before without dating, but this was probably the first time in my life where I have intentionally stopped dating. And I’ve learned some interesting lessons along the way:
- It’s given me the time to focus on myself: Not being distracted with dating or entertaining anyone has allowed me the time and space to focus on myself. I started exercising consistently, focusing on creative outlets, and finding out more about who I am. I saved money which I then spent on myself, and it allowed me to focus on my own healing both physical and emotional.
- I have a deeper understanding of my dating needs: Not dating has helped me to understand how I view dating and relationships as well as helped me to learn what I want and need from a partner. It’s given me clarity into the ways that I caused my own heartbreak in my life, and how I was not staying true to my own boundaries. I now know my non-negotiables. I know what type of life I want to create for myself and how another human being would help me to create that life. It’s completely changed the way I view relationships and the way in which I hope to date in the future. I want to date from a place of want and not from a place of need. Meaning I want a partner, but it’s not a requirement for happiness in my life. Nor should it be a way to fix or hide broken places within me.
- I had to be my own cheerleader: For many of us, dating is an ego boost. Meeting people and being affirmed that we are attractive or desirable helps us to feel better about ourselves. But what happens when there is no one there to tell you are beautiful? What happens when there is no one there for you to turn to for comfort? You must learn to comfort yourself. I don’t think I realized just how much I enjoy feeling desired. And not having someone there when I’m sad or lonely is still probably the hardest part of not dating, and I do look forward to that day when I have someone I can turn to, but until then it’s just me. I think not dating has helped me to stop relying on outside opinions and has deepened my relationship with God and with myself.
- My life is peaceful: This might have been the biggest surprise, but probably the best part of not dating. My life has never been so peaceful. You do glow differently when no one’s dusty son is stressing you out. Dating is hard, and many people date from a place of brokenness and with the wrong intentions. This break has allowed me to the chance to heal from past heartbreak, and given me an actual break from dating. No small talk, no lies, no excuses, no nothing. I’m sometimes a little worried about having to give up my peace to start dating again, but I know that the right one will match it.
As women, we are constantly told that our worth is defined by those around us. If we have a partner or children. So, what happens if you have neither? You are still a whole human being capable of living an amazing life. And yes, I look forward to the day when I do have a husband and children, because that is what I want for my life. But I refuse to settle for a life that is less than the one I am currently living or less than what I want. I spent all my twenties dating. it’s been nice to have some time to myself. If you’ve been thinking of taking a break from dating, give it a try. You might just be surprised at what you learn along the way.