I hear this all the time. "I am so over the dating scene. I'm taking a break from dating!"
Then, a week later, you're back on Eharmony, Christian Mingle, Match, Plenty of Fish, or whatever Christian dating site you're currently using. It's like an addiction. It may make you feel better that you're taking yourself out of the game for a minute or two. If you need a breather, that's fine! But if you want to have a little more purpose with your break, keep reading.
I'm not going to tell you whether to take a break from dating, but what I will do is outline what a good break looks like and how to do it well if you really want to take a break.
Decide the purpose for the break.
Why are you taking a break? What do you hope to accomplish? Do you want to give time for more people to join on the site? Are you looking for a personal breakthrough? What is the goal of this break?
Depending on the purpose, set aside enough time for the purpose to come to fruition. Personal goals don't happen overnight. They take time and effort. Take into account how much time your goal might take to complete and give yourself a window of time to complete it.
Give the password to your dating sites to a good friend.
Have her change the password for you and don't get the new one from her until A) You've hit your goal and achieved your purpose OR B) The allotted window for your break has passed. Bonus: If you want extra accountability tell her your goals and have her keep you accountable to hitting them before logging back into the online dating scene.
Decide what you'll do with your extra time.
This goes a little more specific than the overarching goal. Figure out how much time you spend on the dating sites, and then picture yourself doing other things during that time. Will you take up knitting? Or piano lessons? Do you have a book you've been trying to finish? What do you want to do with this small bit of extra time? Picture yourself doing those things. Celebrate the fact that you are taking this time for you, and really soak it in!
Set the rules for your break.
You're a grown up. You know your weaknesses. Decide what your rules are and stick to them! Will you allow yourself to be set up on blind dates during this time? What if you meet someone randomly, will you go out with them during this time if they initiate? What if an old fling shows up and you think it's worth giving it another try, do you have to wait til your break is over? Think through these scenarios, but more importantly, come up with your own. What issues do you expect to have? Playing out your decisions ahead of time will help your brain to actually relax during your break (because the decision has already been made, you just have to carry it out.) This is way better than overanalyzing and second guessing every little detail. You don't have to follow the rules that you set, but if you don't, what does that tell you about your follow-through? Think about that!
Finally, PRAY ABOUT IT. Christians need to stop talking about praying and start actually doing it. It's hard. It's not glamorous. It requires being quiet. But it is so worth it. Tell God what is in your heart and in your thoughts. See what He has to say back. Maybe you won't hear anything clearly, but maybe you will. It is up to you to keep asking, seeking and knocking.
How do you want to spend your break- with self-doubt and questioning, or with a sense of purpose and joy? I hope you choose the latter.
Remember when we were in school and breaks were fun? You can get that feeling of freedom back by following the guidelines above.
Until next time- take care,
P.S. If you want to talk with someone about this stuff- shoot me a text: (480) 771-0942 I'd love to help! I have appointments available.