I’ve never been the poster child for long term relationships. On the other hand, I haven’t exactly been the epitome of twenty-something singleness either. As I’ve explained before, throughout my dating life I have found myself in and out of three month relationships and even shorter psuedo-ships. Many people would argue that at my age this is the way to do it—play the field until you figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Part of me loves this concept! After all, what fun loving, twenty-something girl doesn’t love a guaranteed date Friday night, dressing up and eating free food (just being honest!) But the other, wiser side of me has always whispered, “Girl, if you’re always with a guy, you’ll never figure out you!”
Before I go any further, I will say I realize not ALL girls have the same dating tendencies as me, but if you are anything like me, please keep reading… I’m the kind of girl who goes all in to whatever relationship she’s in…oops… When I start dating a guy, I forget who I am–their friends become my friends, their favorite music becomes my favorite music and my mind forgets to ask what I want and is instead, glued to the new entity known as “us”. A couple of weeks ago I started reflecting on my dating tendencies; my habits seemed more clear than ever. I have always been a firm believer in Dr. Les Parrot’s philosophy, “Until an individual has done the hard work to become complete on their own, every relationship will be an attempt to complete them and it will always fall short.”
I have realized that over time each relationships I pour myself into has led me further away from my own fairytale-believing voice that says, “There has to be a better way”. I don’t think this voice is telling me there are better guys as much as it is telling me there is a better method—an order of operations to relationships that when followed maximizes our chance of finding the love of our lives, and entering a happy, fulfilling and sustaining relationship. I am not sure what that order of operations is, I’m still figuring that out, but I am convinced that the first step to a healthy, happy relationships is a healthy happy you. There are lessons that can only be learned in a relationship but there also lessons that can only be learned in singleness. The world of dating can feel like a whirlwind, leaving all in its path feeling disoriented, exhausted and a little turned around. Whether you have been in this whirlwind of dating (like me), single for more than you care to say or recently out of a serious relationships, a Dating Detox can be exactly what the doctor orders to get you back on your feet with your head on straight. Here are a few reasons why a Dating Detox can help:
1. We remember who we are—Singleness is great because it’s all about you. Women, by nature, nurture. When we are dating all of that love and nurture is poured into our mate. Although this is great in a healthy relationship, why not take that energy and put it into yourself? Listen to your heart, slow down long enough to hear and love YOU enough to listen to what you really want. You give love to everyone else, why not give it to you?
2. We learn what we want in a guy—Sure, you can go on miserable date after miserable date hoping to eventually create a list of deal breakers; or you can be the observer. The observer has a chance to create the idea of what she wants in a guy by watching other relationships she admires and some that aren’t so hot. The Dating Detox also gives us the time needed to reflect on the relationships we have had and truly learn from them. Our failed relationships are goldmines filled with wisdom about what works for us, what we want and what we can do differently next time. I recommend writing out the likes and dislikes of all prior relationships and using that list to create the picture of what you want in a guy after the Dating Detox is over. In addition, it gives us the time to truly heal from past relationships that may have left us a little bruised. It’s not always easy to heal when we are constantly distracted by someone else, but during the detox, healing can truly begin.
3. We focus on friendships—When there is no guaranteed date on Friday night, we are forced to get out of our comfort zones, hang out with friends and make new ones. Keep in mind, down the road, when Prince Charming has arrived, it’s those same girl friends that will be around in the wedding and after the wedding… not the sexy guy at the bar who asked for your number. Dating Detox gives us time to treat our girlfriends like the jewels they are.
4. We Explore, explore, explore—When you put your whole life into perspective, singleness is only a small portion of life. EMBRACE IT! Do things now that may not be so easy to do once you are married and have a family. Have you always wanted to study abroad? DO IT! Wanna be a flight attendant? Go for it! Cross country road trip with the girls? Sign me up! We have our whole lives to be committed, so for now, commit to your heart and what it’s telling you too do.
The Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stranger, recommends doing the Dating Detox for thirty to ninety days depending on how long your last relationship was. I personally think the answer is different for every person, the important thing is that you commit to a reasonable amount of time and stick to it. Listen to your heart, it will tell you when you’re ready.
Dating is such a fun part of the twenty-something experience. Unfortunately it can be equally confusing and painful. But I believe that with a little detox, we can all regain our ground, remember what we are looking for and prepare for an even more fulfilling dating life in the future.
The Fairytale starts with you (and me!),