Top Ten Reasons You Need a Dating Break (Dear Wednesday)

Have you ever felt you were running so hard to stay in the same place? That about accurately describes my dating life for the past nearly two decades.

In just a few days I will literally be 39 years old. Seriously 39. While there is a level of excitement in turning 39, there is also a bit of apprehension and some grief, too. I've worked long and hard, schooled a large fraction of my life, and faced significant challenges, as many of you have along the way. I've gained so much in this decade, but I'm grieving the loss of the youth I once knew.

I never imagined 39 to flow into 2020, the year of pandemic, turmoil and change. America, we ripped the bandaid off a festering wound of systemic racism and greed, and now we are facing the reality that the system created years ago must change, as we must all change.

Moreover some of us have realized that the life we hoped to have at this point is not the life we have, and the choices we made both good and bad brought us here. Right now, I would like to be really motivational to you reading this blog, but I also want to be authentic. Perhaps my authenticity will motivate you to move in the direction that fills you up.

While we may feel like time is running out for marriage and kids and family, we have an opportunity to be revolutionaries in a time where we may feel stuck, rejected, left out or simply the lone workhorses of our generation.

So at a time where everything in me would like to date and get married, I am choosing to do the opposite for a moment. I am choosing to defy the laws of age and time for a moment. I have chosen a #Manfast upcoming for July. Care to join me?

Here are 10 reasons a #Manfast may be for you:

1. You're exhausted with excuses. Seems like every time you talk to someone and have a glimmer of hope for brilliant conversation and passionate companionship, the glimmer fades fast when you discover the person lacks emotional availability, time, or integrity.

2. The conversations remain surface level and meaningless. You want more depth and transparency, and the attraction seems to be there; but everything remains confusingly platonic with a "hey friend" and zero discussion of a future or even a simple bite to eat.

3. The texting back and forth gets old and stale. Why does every text conversation begin with "wyd" or end with "what you wearing tonight"? We are getting too old for that. Bring back the air of conversation. Consistent texting without talking signals a significant problem that will haunt you in your relationship, should it get that far. You may need a break when you recognize that human conversation and connection is what you crave... not another pop-up notification.

4. Feeling dry and weary? You probably need a break to re-strategize and recharge. When you're worn down, problem solving becomes more difficult. You've poured out more of yourself than you have to give. Taking time away from dating provides perspective. Your soul needs a hard reset and wayward dating depletes emotional and psychological energy and resources quickly.

5. Every time something ends, you sit and blame yourself. If you've had quite enough of wondering if it's you, then take the time off to explore the beauty that is you and the areas where you can afford to build yourself up (instead of blaming yourself for his ghosting).

6. Tired of feeling like the crazy one? For caring. For giving. For opening up. For sharing. For loving. For trying. You've stayed up late nights attempting to fix a problem that was never yours to fix. If this resonates with you, it is more than likely time for a break from the dating pool.

7. Due to the constant conversations, dating highs and dating lows, you recognize that your confidence has taken a hit. Taking a break to replenish your self-confidence and self-worth tank is worth it. Affirm yourself. Build yourself. Discover talents or rediscover talents that display your strengths.

8. If you find that boundary setting is becoming more difficult as you date, this is a sign that you need some regrouping time. Your boundaries may be outdated or you may not be using the appropriate ones for the situations you're in currently. For example, if he calls after midnight and you miss sleep to talk to him, that's a clear boundary violation. Your sleep is important and the conversation can wait.

9. This one is critical... If you feel like you're constantly auditioning for a spot, you need time off. Auditioning is for plays, not relationships and certainly not for a spot as a girlfriend. Putting your best foot forward is one thing, but auditioning is basically begging in disguise. You're begging someone to choose you. And even if they do choose you, you will keep auditioning to keep your spot.

10. Haven't we discussed this? You can not pour from an empty cup. If you're giving out way more than you're getting repeatedly, then it's time to take some energy and air for yourself. A man doesn't deserve wife privileges if you are not married to him. Period.

Most importantly, your soul needs healing and refreshing from the constant revolving door of people in and out of your life. It gets unhealthy and we can become bitter and resentful from season after season of dating nowhere. Take stock of your life and find time to build yourself up again. It's ok to break, even if you are in the middle of talking to someone. If your soul is unwell you can tell in your thought process, sleep, relation to others, and your relationship with yourself. If you want a soul well, then you must fill it up. In order to fill it up, you must be willing to take a step back from what or whom is depleting it.

You can join me on the #manfast for July if you need a break from dating and mating. For more details, make sure you're signed up on our email list here.

May this blog help any of you who are struggling, crying, angry, numb and disheartened right now. Make the choice for joy in your life and see how your life transforms for the better.

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This Dear Wednesday Letter was hand-crafted by Dr. Joy. Dr. Joy Well, mental health clinician, confidence catalyst, professor, self-sabotage solutionist and avid researcher is one of the quintessential experts on the connection between the mind, body, and immune system. Her doctoral work explored the experiences of women of color living with autoimmune diseases and how they function and experience the medical community and beyond. Once a shy, small-town girl with big dreams, Joy has found peace and purpose working with women of all ages to develop a fierce, faith-filled identity, personally and professionally. She is a clinician and entrepreneur in mental health private practice, seeing all ages, backgrounds, and genders. In her spare time, she enjoys music, movies, writing, and getting into mischief with friends. You can find Dr. Joy on social media @captivatingjoy, @confidentsoil, and on the best podcast on the planet, Challenge Yo Self, available now on all podcast platforms.

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