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Should You Go on a Dating Hiatus?

Sometimes we need a hiatus from dating. A "hiatus" is a break in something that normally has continuity. You may have heard this term used in conjunction with television shows: "The show is going on hiatus until shooting starts for next season." That means the actors and crew are taking a break until work starts again.

The Brick Wall
So how do you know it's time to consider a dating hiatus? It's when you've been dating for many months or years and still seem no closer to meeting the right person than when you started. It's when you've been dating a succession of people but nothing of substance develops with any of them. Are you beginning to feel like you're just beating your head against a brick wall? It will feel better if you simply decide to STOP.

You've gotten yourself in a rut. You keep doing the same things to meet new people but every relationship just peters out and goes nowhere. You're starting to feel so frustrated that's it's affecting your relationships with family and friends. You're just grumpy and negative much of the time. You're losing hope of ever finding someone to love and becoming cynical and sarcastic about your future. Instead of moving forward you're going into a tailspin.

Before you let this state of mind deteriorate into a full-blown depression, there is something you can do to change it: go on hiatus! If you're on a losing streak and it keeps getting worse instead of better, then do what any smart coach does for a player in that situation. Take yourself out of the game for a while.

Break the Pattern
When what you have been doing just isn't working, it's time to stop, break the pattern and do something different. If you are sliding into a state of misery and frustration, this may be the time when you are unhappy enough to consider doing some personal growth and spiritual work. Sad but true, most of us do not take steps to change until the pain of changing is less than the pain of staying the same.

This is the time when you are most motivated to find a connection to God or Spirit or Higher Power or whatever you call the unseen force that created our world. This is the time when you are most open to learning a new way to think and a new set of principles to believe in and live by that will take you out of your misery and put you back in charge of your life.

If this is where you are today, don't beat yourself up because you haven't found the love relationship you so ardently desire. Even the best boxer in the world sometimes has to go down for the count before he can get back up and start fighting again. Give yourself a break and take a break from the dating scene.

Going On Hiatus
Once you make up your mind firmly and decide you are going on a dating hiatus, you will immediately start to feel a little better. That's because you have taken control of your life again and have stopped looking for someone else to make you feel okay. Next time some well- meaning friend asks you who you're dating you don't have to feel like a loser or a second-class citizen because you're alone. You can just say, "Oh, I'm on hiatus right now. I've decided not to date for a while." It's a choice you have made, not an unwanted situation you found yourself in. You are in control and you're feeling better!

Now's the time to take that class you've been meaning to take, start going to church, find a therapist or counselor or support group. Read a book or two about spiritual principles, study the bible or other scriptures that interest you. Go back to your religious roots or explore some different philosophy that intrigues you. Try a yoga or meditation or dance class. Take the hours and hours you used to spend online at the dating sites and invest them into yourself instead.

Before I met my husband I took a two year dating hiatus and did just what I'm suggesting you do. That's why I know it works. What a relief it was to get myself out of the mindset of most singles: "looking, looking, always looking." I pulled in my "singles antenna" that was always on the lookout for any man that might be a possibility. I stopped making decisions about whether to go to any event based on how many single men might be there. I accepted my state of singleness and enjoyed all the good things about it.

Making Changes
I delved into the universal spiritual principles taught in Religious Science and Unity churches and discovered that I actually had the power to change how I think and what I believe. I created a whole new life for myself and learned how to be happy and whole as a single person. I let the old feelings of "not good enough" drop away and replaced them with believing and knowing that my happiness did not depend on having a partner.

Also, I came to realize that holding on to resentments from the past can block you from attracting good things into your life today. Learning to release bitterness and resentment is a necessary step, but one that many people are unwilling to take. If you are having difficulty finding and keeping a good partner today, chances are there's some anger over a past hurt buried in you that's part of the cause.

You don't have to "forgive" and pretend that whatever they did wasn't wrong, but unless you release those angry feelings, and stop giving them your attention, you'll never be free of their influence. Doing this emotional work may not be much fun and you may resent the fact that you even have to do it! But if you have the courage you can find a way and it will make a tremendous difference in your next relationship. I can vouch for that.

When I was secure in the knowledge that I am enough and don't need anyone else to be happy then I was able to go back into dating and attract a great mate in less than a year. Turns out that the solution to the problem was within myself. Once I released my old resentments and learned to appreciate all the good things about my life, I attracted some really good men into my life. Now I'm happily married a man who is a perfect partner for me.

This dating hiatus idea may seem too radical and extreme to you right now. However, the more people you date and the more unhappy you get, the more it will start to make sense to you. If all you do is take a break for a while, but don't do anything to make needed changes within yourself during that time, then you can't expect to get better results when you start dating again. A dating hiatus works only if you work it!

How Long?
How long should it take? There are no hard and fast rules about this. It all depends on how much change and growth you need before you are able to produce a different outcome for yourself. My guess would be a minimum of six months to an average of several years.

Does this sound impossible for you right now? If you can't stand the thought of not having a date for six months, then you are in a precarious state of mind, depending way too much on being in a relationship to make you feel okay. A dating hiatus could be just what you need, but you may not be ready to accept that yet. It requires patience and the determination to stick with it for however long it takes. In our culture of instant gratification and the quick-fix, people don't like hearing this, but it is the truth.

Let these ideas sink in and roll around in your subconscious for a while. Few people will joyfully jump up after reading this and shout, "Yes, I'm going on a dating hiatus tomorrow!" Give it some time and when the time is right for you (or when you are sufficiently miserable and frustrated), you will know. When it's done with the right motivation, a dating hiatus along with some personal growth work can be your ticket to a better future. You'll go back into the dating game with a real possibility of winning next time.

Barbara Wright Abernathy, Modern Goddess, speaker and workshop leader is the author of Venus On Top: Women Who Are Born To Lead And The Men Who Love Them. Get a free report from Barbara, "3 Biggest Mistakes People Make While Dating" at http://www.venusontop.com

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