Relationships

How to take a break from dating

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Relationships

How to take a break from dating

The road to finding the right mate can be long and fraught with emotion. It's important to know when to take it easy on yourself and when to take some much-needed time off from dating.

Stepping back from the dating world can be helpful if you want to refresh your attitude and outlook -- and especially if you're feeling worn out from too many unsuccessful dating experiences.

We turned to Anna Toth, a registered marriage and family therapist, to learn more about when to take a break from dating: "If you feel cynical, despairing or hopeless about your possibilities of finding someone, it might be helpful to take a break," Toth advises.

Here's how to take a highly constructive time-out from the dating world so you can return with a positive attitude.

1. Embrace alone time
Learning how to be happy on your own is crucial when it comes to taking a constructive break from dating. Instead of resenting your loneliness, change the way you think about it.

"Recognize loneliness as a part of life and find a way to be more comfortable with it," advises Toth. "Being alone is not a sign of personal failure -- it's a way to nurture, replenish and restore, and to get to know yourself more deeply." Rather than hampering your happiness, loneliness can actually be an important component of your greater spiritual journey.

2. Combat isolation
Trying to achieve that balance between enjoying your solitude and spending too much time alone can be tricky, which is why having a plan helps.

"Make a mental or actual list of the people who care about you and make sure you go out into the fresh air at least once every day," suggests Toth. "See family, friends or a therapist regularly, join groups in person or online, and lose yourself in books, music and movies."

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn how to repair your self-esteem and reconsider your dating strategies on page 2.
3. Repair your self-esteem
Arriving at a place of self-confidence may take some time, but taking a break from meeting new people and putting yourself out there offers a great starting point.

Remind yourself how happy you can be by spending time with the people you know and love the most, advises Toth.

"Use the break as an opportunity to be with the people who have a high regard for you," says Toth. "Reconnect with friends, family members and others who accept and inspire you, and ask your friends to make a list of all the things they love about you and why you're such an awesome catch."

You can also jump-start that much-needed confidence boost by delving into an activity you'd like to get better at. "Pursue your own interests and hobbies. Think about something you have always wanted to do and start doing it," says Toth. You might be surprised at how empowering a new hobby can be.

4. Reconsider your dating strategies
Understanding your dating habits will help you avoid going down the same futile paths in the future. Take this time free of emotional distraction to ask yourself questions about your past relationships and honestly look inside yourself to find the answers, advises Toth.

"What kind of people are you choosing to date and how are you meeting them?" she asks. "Is this the best forum for you to meet people you genuinely click with? What might a better forum be?"

You can best correct any unconstructive dating habits when you have a good grasp of what works for you and what does not.

5. Find out what you truly want
A dating detox is an ideal time to assess where you currently are in your life and where you'd like to be. You can't expect anyone else to make you happy if you don't know what makes you happy yourself.

"Reflect, either with others or on your own, and ask yourself what you really long for. Not so much a list of what attributes you want in another, but what you really want in your life," advises Toth. "Ask this question over and over again. The answer may deepen as you continue to ask it." In fact, there may be no firm answer right away, but what's important is that you begin to understand your priorities.

Taking a break from dating can refresh your outlook, boost your self-esteem and, ultimately, deliver the dating results you want. It's important to keep in mind that being happy being single is the crucial first step to having the dating experiences you truly want.

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