in: dating + single

The Dating Cleanse: When it’s Time to Take a Break

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Melissa Maher

If you feel like you’re bogged down by the thought of dating rather than energized, it may be time to take a break. Treat yourself to a dating cleanse!


I once worked in an office with a free M&M dispenser down the hall from my desk. I started out having a few just here and there. But before I knew it I was hooked on a handful or two of those little sugar pills at 3pm every day like clockwork.

It didn’t matter that they made me feel sick and energy-crashed-out every afternoon. Once it got to be a true habit, I didn’t feel like I even had the choice to do it differently.

The same thing can happen in dating and relationships.

If we keep repeating our same patterns on auto-pilot without ever pausing to assess how things are going, clear out what’s not working, or make changes when appropriate, we might just keep adding layer upon layer of stuff we don’t want.

If we’re constantly filling the relationship space, we can lose the forest for the trees.

Sometimes pressing pause is just what the doctor ordered to clear the space for your next great relationship to enter.

So if dating has started to feel like an awful lot of hard work these days, it might be time for a break.

Here are a few clues it might be time for a dating cleanse:

  • You’re feeling burned out. 

Pushing through some resistance in dating may be an occasional part of the process, but have you passed that tipping point? Tune in to your gut and your energy to feel when a rest is calling.

  • Logging into your online dating profile(s) is feeling like a “have to” rather than a “want to.”

If dating has become drudgery, some space-clearing may well be in order.

  • You’re getting cynical about ever finding a good match.

That energy seeps out on dates whether you think it does or not. A dark perspective may be a flare for a pause.

  • You’re feeling like you’ve worked through every potential match in the dating pool.

Maybe it’s time to find a little more balance in your approach.

And if you’re thinking, “But if I stop dating, how will I ever meet anyone?”… fear not.

Here are some benefits of a dating cleanse to keep in mind:

  • You have to clear out the old in order to make room for the new.
  • You need time to integrate all you’ve learned in this last round of dating and to reassess what you want now. What you want now might be quite different than what you thought you wanted before the last batch of dates you’ve been on or the last relationship you were in.
  • Taking a break refreshes you to get back in the ring with fresh eyes and energy. Seriously, this whole dating thing can be exhausting, can’t it? Give yourself some time and space to refill your reserves.
  • You can’t get clear on what you really want while you’re swept up in 101 emotions and anxious thoughts around this guy or that girl. Pressing pause can clarify your dating reality and most authentic desires.

So how do you actually do a dating cleanse?

  • Decide how long you want to realistically commit to. Twenty-one days to one month tends to be a nice starting point.
  • Hide, pause, or delete your online profile(s).
  • Let people you’ve been chatting with online know you’re taking a little dating hiatus.
  • Set an intention for why you’re embarking on this hiatus. The clearer you are about what you intend to get out of this pause, the more likely you are to receive it.
  • Enjoy reconnecting to yourself through this integration and reflection space.

Give a dating cleanse a chance and you just might find that you dive back into the dating pool with more open eyes and heart than ever on the other side.

Happy dating (and not dating)!

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About the Author:

Melissa Maher Melissa Maher

Melissa Maher is a Certified Professional Life Coach who takes a mindful approach to helping busy-brained women live in the moment, express their desires unapologetically, and love the bodies (and selves) they’re in today. She created the soul-supportive Joy Surfers Club in her mission to help women live a life full of possibilities and love on their own terms. Melissa is also a Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Nutritionist, and dedicated Vipassana meditation practitioner. She lives in beautiful San Francisco with her boyfriend. Connect with Melissa through her website or on Facebook or Instagram

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