As someone who helps people find dates and meet the people they are meant to be with, my (rather biased) short answer to this question would be “Absolutely not! Date On, my friend!” However, as tempting as it is to throw this answer out, the reality is that some of us may actually be better off hitting the proverbial pause button and taking a time out. Whether it be for psychological reasons, reasons relating to work and business, or the fact that we just haven’t quite gotten over our exes yet, there are some real, legit reasons to scale back our dating pursuits, at least for the short term. Today we’re going to look at a few of those top reasons. Starting with:

Reason #1- You just got divorced/broke up/ended a long term relationship

This is a very common occurrence that has happened to the best of us at least once in the course of our lives. We thought we met the person of our dreams. We made plans; we thought about marriage, a house, kids, Golden Retrievers, the whole nine. We may have actually gotten married and had all that. Now that the routine of day to day family life has set in, we have slowly begun to realize that we are living a life of quiet desperation, and we’re looking for a way out. Or, conversely, we met someone who simply drove us fucking wild. We met, and there was instant chemistry. We had wild, passionate sex every night, we may have experimented with new and interesting positions, and now we’re thinking of taking it to the next level, beyond just sex. Whatever the situation, sometimes things don’t work out, and that can leave us feeling emotionally destroyed, like a sudden typhoon that sweeps in and destroys all that we have built in an instant. 

When we finally face the fact that we’re alone again, our first instinct is to go out and find someone else. Find a new partner to fill the emotional void that our ex has left behind. On the surface of things, this seems logical. After all, the goal here is to feel better, and eliminate the pain of our breakup, so why not just go out and find someone to take that pain away? The problem though, is that at its core, this is a selfish act. You are allowing yourself to potentially rush in to a new relationship blindly, in order to find an emotional bandage to stop the proverbial bleeding. However, we need to keep in mind that relationships are about the feelings and well being of multiple, real human beings. When we rush into things and try to skip all the necessary steps of getting to know the other person, finding out about their idiosyncrasies, their likes and dislikes, and their core values, we are setting ourselves up for further disappointment when this new partnership ultimately ends up not working out also. 

Like it or not, when we exit from a particularly long and emotionally fulfilling relationship, we can’t expect to erase the pain immediately by selecting a new partner without allowing ourselves to let things develop organically. The only way to maximize our chances for a future successful relationship is to allow ourselves to sit with the pain of our ex, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes us, and work through the grief, letting it pass through us, just like any other physical illness. Once it’s gone, and you can think clearly and rationally again, you will be able to approach dating with a much clearer head, and you won’t have the tendency to select the first warm body that shows you interest. 

Reason #2: You continuously select the wrong people, and you don’t know why

Attraction is not a choice. At a base level, we can’t help who we’re attracted to. When we see a  body and a face that we like, most of us don’t analyze why, or think about the mechanism behind it, we just allow ourselves to be turned on and go with it. Humans are animals, so naturally it follows that we maintain a great deal of our animal desires and drives, especially when it comes to mating. However, humans also have another level of psychological and mental complexity beyond the instinctual baseline, and this is where things end up getting complicated. Oftentimes, we will base our decisions on who we date primarily at a physical level. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, in fact I argue that these desires MUST be satisfied in order for a relationship to be truly complete and whole. However, when we set out on a quest to find the perfect set of traits in a potential partner we often forget to look for common values.  When we prioritize one area, in most cases the physical, so much that we neglect to consider the other person’s values, this is when things get out of balance. It’s why we hear so many examples of men complaining about how, even though he’s attracted to his girlfriend physically, he’s inherently unsatisfied because of the way she treats him. It’s why we hear so many cases of women saying how they were instantly swept off their feet by the “alpha” bad boy, yet after an amazing night of wild sex, he still has yet to call her back. If you don’t screen potential partners for common values, then you will always run the risk of ending up in the same types of dead-end relationships that you had in the past. 

Reason #3: You (Still) Don’t Have Your Shit Together

Many of us feel that once we have found our partners, then life itself will instantly become exciting and exhilarating. It doesn’t matter how much we are struggling in other areas, or how far we are from living our purpose and doing what we love, the moment our prince or princess comes along, all is right with the world. Sadly, though, this is hardly the case. Many of us get so caught up with dating, meeting potential partners, and getting approval from the opposite sex, that it becomes our purpose, at the expense of most everything else. This is a trap we need to avoid at all costs. When we choose to prioritize dating and sex over everything else, we become clingy, needy and un-confident, constantly over-analyzing, comparing, wondering, and doing all sorts of not-so-sexy behaviors. Not only does this distract us from our true purpose and calling in life, but it makes us appear as a much weaker and less confident version of ourselves. 

What this all comes down to is that we are focusing on getting validation from outside ourselves vs. getting it from within. When we are “chasing girls” or “reeling in guys” we are almost always approaching it from the position of searching for validation in some way. We are placing ourselves in the position of “the pursuer,” and this makes it much harder to showcase our strong, confident selves. When we learn to receive validation from within ourselves, we are no longer concerned with pursuing, because we are finding ways to feel good about ourselves regardless of outside approval. How can we learn to validate ourselves internally? The easiest and best way to do this is to “do you.” Be unapologetically yourself, and go after what you want in life. Spend some time with yourself, and figure out exactly what it is you want out of life. Think about your career, your finances, your hobbies, your interests, your hopes, your dreams. Think about all of the impact that you can make in this world without the external approval of the opposite sex. Figure out how to make that impact and then go do it. When you start to make headway with your pursuits and your passions, you will naturally start to feel better about yourself, and the opinions of others won’t matter as much, because you now have experiences that are showing the world that you’ve got a lot of value and worth. Nobody will be able to take that from you. 

When you think about it, the idea of self-validation can be applied to all three examples above. When you are able to fit your own cup, you become less needy, less desperate and infinitely sexier. Most importantly, you are not relying on someone else in order to feel worthy and good about yourself. Ironically, once you make this shift, this is when you’re going to start seeing members the opposite sex taking longer and more frequent glances in your direction.

-M

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