Put the phone down (Picture: Getty)
Time to pause the apps.
Dating can be tiring when you’re constantly meeting new people… and it’s not working out.
Going through the motions of finding someone you’re interested in, having small talk, establishing common ground, and going on dates consumes plenty of time and energy.
Sometimes it’s important to claw that time and energy back, by taking a break for a while.
Kate Moyle, a relationships expert working with sexual wellness brand Lelo, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Like anything in life, we might need to take a break, refocus our attention and think about the impact that dating is having on our mental and emotional health.
‘Dating can take a lot of time out of our calendars, and we may want to invest some of that time into our existing relationships which are already feeding us, like those with friends and family where we feel loved and appreciated.
‘Sometimes it can be hard to see the wood for the trees if dating isn’t going anywhere and it’s a useful reminder that we are loved in other ways.’
Stepping back to fill your cup up alone means you’ll approach dating feeling refreshed when you’re ready to get back out there.
Disappointing dating experiences can, after all, be disheartening.
Kate says: ‘What can often happen is that we get preoccupied with passing windows or periods of time, and we can feel this even more intensely if we see friends or family going through relationship stages and feel that we are being left behind.
‘We can still be open to finding love without dating by improving our self awareness or understanding of love, developing our understanding of intimacy and connection – for example listening to Ted Talks or expanding our thinking (I personally love Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn, and the book Attached by Amir Levine).
‘We can learn about ourselves by exploring theories like The Five Love Languages and all this is doing is equipping and preparing us for when we next meet someone.’
These are five signs you might need a break from dating.
Don’t go on apps out of boredom (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
You feel like you are on a hamster wheel
Kate says: ‘Often we can get stuck in a cycle of looking for or trying the same thing again and again without introducing anything different and it can feel like we’re not getting anywhere.
‘It can happen with dating too in terms of us focusing on a “type” of person, and sometimes we need to have a break, a step back and a rethink.’
You might also feel like dating has become boring and mundane for this reason.
You’re ‘should’ dating
You’re dating because you feel like you should and have lost the genuine want for it.
Kate says: ‘Society in general is quite couple-centric so many of us feel like that should be what we’re aiming for, but that’s the wrong reason to do it.
‘You should be doing it for your personal happiness not because it subscribes to a common narrative.’
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You’re putting too much pressure on it
This is a common mistake, to approach dating as a key to happiness.
‘Like anything under too much pressure, it’s not the best environment for anything to thrive in,’ Kate explains.
‘You’re also probably putting too much expectation on the date and the person, and there is an irony in the fact that often this means it becomes the focus and goal orientated, and we enjoy ourselves less.’
It’s all you can think or talk about
Kate advises: ‘If dating has become your overwhelming focus, you might find it helpful to give it some space and revisit other things that build you up, interest and bring you joy.
‘Often we can get a bit stuck down the rabbit-hole and coming back up makes us realise that there are so many other ways to enjoy ourselves and make connections with others.’
Your self esteem has taken a big hit
Sometimes dating can be emotionally challenging – and that’s okay.
‘Dating is human trial and error, and whilst we can all be going into dating with that awareness, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt any less when it happens,’ Kate says.
‘Like a physical wound we have to give ourselves rest and healing time.’
Ready for a break? Here's your step-by-step guide
Temporarily take any apps or sites off your phone: Pause your profile or delete it, because in a moment of boredom and out of habit you will start swiping again.
Start something new: Ideally do this with someone like a friend so it’s a shared and invested venture. You’re unlikely to want to take a break from dating and find yourself doing nothing, where as you can flip the use of that time into something positive.
Tell those around you so that they are aware: This way, they’ll stop asking you. It’s important to communicate it to your friends and family so they are clear and know if it’s an ‘out of bounds’ topic of conversation and so that you can enjoy the break without being constantly questioned.
Focus inward not outward: In many ways we often look to others to validate us, when the best way is to learn to validate and celebrate ourselves.
‘Whatever you incorporate into your routine that makes you feel good about yourself, will put you in the best place to then start dating again as and when you want to with more confidence,’ Kate adds.
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