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We’ve all made the emotional “I’m swearing off dating!” announcement after a particularly bad night, but is it actually a good idea to take a break from relationships? In the March 2014 issue ofSELF,Julianne Hough says she made a pact to stay single for a year after her breakup with Ryan Seacrest last March, and well, she almost made it. TheRock of Agesstar is now reportedly dating hockey player Brooks Laich, according toUs Weekly, but hey, it was close enough.
Apparently, Hough’s strict hiatus isn’t exactly a rule that she (or you) needed to follow through on anyway. One of the best ways to heal post-breakup is to define your solo time by goals or emotional milestones, not time limits, says relationship expert and therapist Rachel A. Sussman, L.C.S.W., author ofThe Breakup Bible. So a better plan would be something like “I’m not going to date until I get my confidence back” or “I’m not going to date until I’m totally over my ex.” We all heal at different rates, so there’s no use trying to hold out for some arbitrary day on the calendar.
Sometimes, though, a dating hiatus actuallyisnecessary; the question is when. Sussman shares her thoughts on when taking a break from dating is definitely a do:
If you had a messy breakup or divorce
Long-term relationships lead to lingering feelings, and there’s no use trying to meet someone new when you’re still stuck in the past. “I definitely feel after a major break-up or divorce, you should take a hiatus from dating,” says Sussman. That being said, there isn’t a set period of time to aim for here. She sees a lot of people who take six months or a year to themselves, but even they aren’t always 100 percent ready. “If you’re doing a lot better, you can get out there and date again because sometimes what you need to get over that hump is the excitement of meeting someone new or falling in love with someone else,” says Sussman. “But you need to be about 80 percent healed before you put yourself out there.” So if you’ve still got strong feelings for your ex—of the puppy love, crushing betrayal, or rage variety—then you probably need to put the brakes on your love life while you work things out solo. And try these 6 ways to get over a breakup the healthy way.
MORE:What Guys Really Do to Get Over a Breakup
If you’re having a hard time emotionally
When you’re going through a rough period—whether it be depression, a substance abuse problem, or a body image hang-up—you might want to focus on yourself rather than a new relationship. “When you get out there and date, you always want to put your best foot forward and be your best possible self,” says Sussman. “When you’re in a really good place and you’ve got a lot of confidence, that’s when you'll attract a quality partner.” So if you’re going through a rough patch, check out of the dating scene for a while and tune into yourself. May we suggest some soothing yoga, calming foods, and a few Ryan Gosling flicks to help the pass the time?
MORE:11 Tiny Life Changes That Will Bring You Major Bliss
If you’re having bad luck with dates
If every single date you’ve landed in the last few months has been a dud, you might be more motivated than ever to keep looking (seriously, it can only go up from here,right!?). But according to Sussman, this is a sign you need to slow down. You’ve probably heard the phrase that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, and that principle applies to dating, says Sussman. “So if you have a period where you feel that you’re going on the worst dates, instead of continuing to do it, that’s a good time to say, ‘OK, I’m going to take a break.’” Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a long dry spell. Take the time to ask yourself a few questions—like why these dates aren’t working, if you’re meeting people the right way, or if you’re putting your best self out there. The goal is to assess the damage before you reach serial dater status and lose way too many weeknights to failed OkCupid dates.
Video: 10 Signs A Guy Wants You To Kiss Him | Brian Redmon
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