If you’ve been in the dating game as long as I have then it’s likely you’ll have experienced feeling demotivated or as I refer to it ‘dating fatigue’ at some point or another. Until recently I was totally fatigued with dating and this feeling lasted for quite a while. I can report I’ve recently felt motivated to go on dates but if I’m completely honest, there was a point where I wondered whether I’d ever want to date again. There can be various reasons for why we decide to take a step back, including not truly being over someone, repeatedly meeting and going on dates with people for it to end up going nowhere or just having to entertain endless idiotic conversations. It’s natural to get frustrated and there are many who would tell you to keep going or that you just need to get back on the horse. However I firmly believe that forcing yourself to keep going isn’t always in your best interest and it’s perfectly fine to take a break and re-energise yourself.
Why it’s OK not to want to date
You don’t have to compromise
Even if you’re only in the beginning stages of dating someone new there’s always some level of compromise (aka accommodating) you have to make to nurture the embers of a newly ignited courtship. Whether it’s sacrificing your limited amount of free time outside of work, or squeezing yourself into appropriate (albeit uncomfortable) date wear, or biting your tongue when they do or say something that irritates you. All interpersonal relationships require compromise and if you’re in a place where you don’t want to date not having to do something or go somewhere you don’t want to can be a huge relief.
Romantic love is not the only goal
At the risk of contradicting myself, I’ll admit that I absolutely love Disney classics and although there’s a small part of me that’s cringing as I write this, there’s another (equally small) part that is still waiting for my Prince(ss) to ride in on noble steed and kiss me awake from the nightmare so that we can live happily ever after. But there is a much larger part of me that wholeheartedly knows while there is huge value in attaining healthy love there are other important things to strive for too. Such as (say it with me) nurturing self love, figuring out who you are, making as many meaningful connections as possible and doing whatever good you can to leave the world a little better than you found it.
You get to put YOU first
As women, especially if we’re mothers or carers, it’s often expected that we will and should consider other people before we think about our own needs and wants. Sometimes, pressure is even applied outside of these social expectations. In our excessively busy modern lives we’re often spinning so many plates we don’t even have time to put ourselves first. And dating is an additional demand on our time and it can be very time consuming. We’ve been made to feel that putting ourselves first is selfish, and perhaps it is but I believe being selfish doesn’t always have to be viewed as a bad thing. Being someone who de-prioritises themselves then wears their martyrdom as a badge of honour does not necessarily make them a better person (or indeed happier) than someone who sets and maintains healthy boundaries.
You’re actually being kind
When we force ourselves to do things we don’t want to do because we think we should or we have to we often approach those things from a place of resentment. Bringing resentment into any interaction is incredibly damaging particularly to a fledgling romance and not only is that unkind to the other person as you may hurt them without intending to if they become more invested in you than you are in them. You’re also being unkind to yourself by creating situations where your resentment could be allowed to build, and you’re the very last person you should be unkind to.
You’re protecting your mental peace
I don’t believe that everyone on dating apps are: crazy / just trying to hook up / trying to scam you (delete as appropriate) although I’ve got to admit it definitely seems that way sometimes. Regardless of whether the people you meet have similar motives to you, it doesn’t mean that those people are meant for you and even as a self confessed extrovert it can be incredibly draining going through the ‘getting to know you’ phase. Especially if you happen to meet people who just aren’t on your wavelength. It’s important to spend time with people who nourish your mind, heart and soul and not every stranger you meet on an app will be able to do that for you.
While it’s definitely OK to take some (or even a more extended period of) time away from dating it doesn’t mean you can’t still be proactively preparing yourself to find love (if that’s what you wish to do).
What should I do if I don’t want to date?
Figure out what you want
As I mentioned before we often spend so much time rushing here and there, or doing this and that that we don’t take the time to pause to get to know ourselves and really hone in on our wants and desires. If you’re in a period of not wanting to date use the time to self reflect and get to know yourself in this moment. As humans we’re constantly evolving and as crazy as it may sound we often don’t know ourselves as well as we think we do. And the best way to meet someone who is truly the right person for you is to know yourself so wholly that you can show them exactly who you are and communicate precisely what you want.
Focus on your interests
The most interesting people are those who are interested in something. Even if I’m not naturally interested in a particular subject I always find it more intriguing when someone communicates their interests and passions in an engaging way. If someone can demonstrate passion for an activity it shows they have the ability to be passionate about you too (in theory). And often shared interests are how people meet and connect so sign up to that photography course, join that football team, make time for that Salsa class. You never know where your hobbies may lead you and we all know the best ‘meet cutes’ happen off the apps.
Although you may decide to take a hiatus from actively pursuing dating, we never know what life has in store and so I would urge you to stay open as often lightning strikes when you least expect it. When we ‘stop looking’ that’s usually the time when God / the universe (or whichever deity / source of cosmic Power you believe in) likes to send unexpected gifts and as long as we stay open to life’s many possibilities we won’t miss or block our blessings.
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