No one really talks about the reality of dating. Often times, dating is associated with terms such as happiness, new adventures, love, hope and anything positive. The truth of the matter is that dating can be the total opposite. It can be extremely draining, hurtful, addicting, and confusing. Therefore, a real talk about dating needs to take place now!
One of the realist things that I have learned throughout my experience with dating, is the power of taking a break from the dating game. With that being said, I have come up with 6 signs to look out for when deciding if a break from the dating game is necessary for you.
1. Being overly frustrated
Dating does require some form of emotional investment and since people are not perfect, every day will not be a walk in the park. However, if you find yourself becoming overly emotional, upset, angry and even bitter because of someone's behavior, do the following two things:
1.) Let he or she go
2.) Take some time for yourself
When you do the following tasks, you force yourself to emotionally simmer down while learning to be your own form of happiness. Dating should not stress you out but too often it has been a trigger of stress for so many people. There are individuals who are crying more than usual for a current love interest or in some cases, the lack of a love interest.
Please do not be that person!
Your level of happiness should not be contingent upon your relationship status so if you are dating to fill a void, you can easily find yourself accepting less of what you deserve for the sake of a relationship. Trust me being single is not as bad as it may sound. It is better to be single and happy than to be taken and hurting.
Testimony: I know this part far too well because I was that overly frustrated girl who would cry when things did not work out. I was the one who would automatically turn bitter and cold when the text messages stopped coming in or if I got the, "I can't give you what you deserve" talk. Instead of taking a break to dig deep into why I would react the way I did, I would just seek out to date another guy. Solitude was eye opening because it granted me an opportunity to explore my emotions in order to become better aware of my weak areas. Plus, I found myself stressing less, sleeping more, and showing off my pearly whites frequently.
2. When it is addictive (regarding dating apps)
Personally, I do not believe that there is anything wrong with dating apps if you do not allow it to be the center of your life. However, becoming obsessed with dating apps is so feasible to do. Think about it, 5 swipes at 10 pm can easily turn into an endless swiping game that can last until 1 am. This concept may humor you if you have great self-control but it is a reality for some people. If you find yourself losing sleep, not getting work done and wasting valuable time due to dating apps, I urge you to take a break from it for a bit. Taking a break allows you to decide if dating apps are the right fit for you and if boundaries need to be created if you plan to return to the apps in the future.
Testimony: I use to spend hours and I mean HOURS on dating apps. It was to the point that I would stay up pretty late swiping and going through messages from guys. I would stay up so late that my morning routine was altered because I couldn't get up on time. I was even using work hours to continue my swiping. I was overly determined to find my "match" during the hours of 9 to 5 and wondered why I was behind in my work. SMH! Dating apps became overly consuming for me. When I deleted the apps, I was less concerned about the virtual world and more concerned about the real world. Now I am not saying that I will never ever go back to dating apps but currently in this moment, I am good without it.
3. Going broke due to dates
If you find yourself struggling to pay your bills, buy groceries and add to your savings because you are making it rain to impress a prospective boo, then take a break to re-up. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a step back from dating if investing in a $20 coffee date becomes financially burdensome on a person. Being honest with yourself in regards to your finances can save you a lot of financial headaches in the long run. Furthermore, once you are back to financial stability, you can fully enjoy the dates because you will not be worried about a possible decline on your card or a possible late payment for an upcoming bill.
4. When you compromise your non-negotiable
Listen you know exactly what you want and there may be some things that you desire that you know you should not compromise for the sake of a boo. Back in September, I wrote a blog, The Case of the Non-negotiable, and it spoke about the importance of dating based on what you unapologetically value. By doing so, you weed out the men and women who will serve no benefit in your life.
When you find yourself, making exceptions for the things you once valued, pump your breaks from dating and take some time to explore why you easily gave up on your value(s). Through exploration, you may realize that your values may not truly be what you value or that you disowned your values due to desperation. When you take a break to explore your why, it will bring revelation.
Testimony: I remember when I met a guy back in May and I sort of knew that things should not progress due to our different views on faith. Yet I stayed. Why? To be honest, I was getting attention and I loved it. Over time, as feelings were growing on his end, mines were at a stand still. As I was getting to know him, I noticed that the things that I once deeply valued, were quickly thrown out of the window. I was faking the funk for the sake of company. Throughout the months of getting to know him, I did not have any sense of peace and so one day, I cut things completely off. It was at that moment that I told him the truth about me throwing out my values for the sake of "trying to make things work" and how negatively it had impacted me. That led to my 2 months break from dating. Those 2 months was a time of exploration, repentance, and re-building. Those 2 months changed my life for the greater good.
5. When you are not over your ex
If you are still head over heals from previous bae, do not date! Heal first! When you date with a heart stuck on an ex, you do not give the next person a fair chance and you hinder your own personal growth as well. Despite what society may say, it is okay to take some time for yourself to be alone, process your emotions and rebuild. If you think that jumping from person to person will make you forget about your past emotions then you are in for a rude awakening.
In fact, jumping from person to person only digs you into a deeper hole of unresolved issues. If you believe that those issues will not impact the next person, think again. Unresolved issues can create chaos, insecurities, drama, confusion, and resentment towards whomever you are with. It may not happen immediately but time always has a funny way of revealing things. If you know deep down inside that there are some unresolved issues that you have with your ex, do yourself and the person you are getting to know a huge favor and take a step back from dating to TRULY heal.
6. When your relationship with God is hindered
If Jesus is Lord of your life but he has become an after thought, a "to-do" list or an inconvenience because of dating, then take yourself completely out from the game. You need Jesus more than ever when it comes to dating and relationships so now is not the time to become disconnected from him. Anything that comes before God is an idol so if you are putting more effort in finding love than in bettering your relationship with God, that is a problem. I am not saying that you cannot desire a relationship or marriage but be very careful about making marriage or dating an idol in your life.
Additionally, if the person you are dating is bringing you further away from God then take a step back. Typically, people will say that you should point all fingers to the person who is bringing you away from God but I say don't! All fingers MUST point to yourself. No one can make you do something that you have not given them permission to do. So if you are struggling in the area of your faith due to compromising on things that you know you should not be compromising, then I implore you to get back on track with God. No one is worth losing your relationship with God for. From a person who compromised lifestyle choices for the sake of a man, I can tell you that it is not worth it!
As I previously mentioned, dating can be fun and all but there are moments that breaks are necessary and very much healthy to do. When I took an intentional break, I was forced to be real with myself as it relates to the good and the bad. I must add, I had to take a real good look at my past and patterns formed and I can honestly say that many of the things I dealt with could have been avoided if I taken some time off from dating to process and establish healthy habits. However, my past has taught me so much about myself and I can say that my mess ups is really positioning me for my come up.
So I hope that if you choose to take a break from the dating game, that you use your time of solitude for self reflection and growth. Even if it is for one week, a couple of months, a year or more, I guarantee that you will come out from that break feeling renewed, empowered, and loving yourself more than ever before!