Jeffrey Platts

Can NOT Dating Improve Your Dating?

Written by on April 13, 2010

Spring is here. Nine of your friends are getting married in June. You’ve had way too many first dates pick their nose and/or fart in the past two months. Your last five online dates have simply fizzled for no apparent reason. So it’s fair to say your current vibe about dating isn’t exactly positive.

Whatever the reason, rather than trudging through with more dates, you might consider a temporary, yet intentional, break from dating. I promise you, the world will not end and all the available singles won’t get snatched up by the time you decide to get back in the game. And as much as Hollywood would love to have you believe, you WILL NOT DIE without sex. (If anything, you might even recalibrate your brain chemistry.)

“But Jeffrey, I’m not currently getting any dates and nor am I getting any action, so why would I choose to keep that going?” A dating break isn’t about giving up or wanting to perpetuate your current reality. Rather, it’s a period of time where you deliberately take love/sex/dating off the table. It’s a chance to shift your focus for a bit and maybe even reconnect with the areas (spirituality, finances, friends, health, career, family, hobbies) that you’ve been neglecting in your continual pursuit of love and sex. It’s also a chance to take your mind off a subject that might be frustrating you and thereby let your overall vibe improve.

Deliberate intention is a powerful thing and is a very different energy than just reacting to your reality. Let’s say you chug 3 bottles of Diet Cokes every day. You then went on a camping trip for a weekend and you didn’t drink any Diet Coke during that entire time because you simply had no access to it. While that is a great thing to experience, it is much different than if you were to consciously choose to not drink because you have something else you value even more (boosting energy without cancer-causing chemicals or teeth that don’t look like rotting baked beans). With one, you’re letting your reality dictate your actions. With the other, YOU are dictating your actions, regardless of the reality around you.

I’ve had several times in my life where I was single and I felt this pressure to continually put myself out there, keep a profile online, starting flirting with all the cute women I met throughout the day. But that honestly got exhausting really quickly. I felt like I need to be “on” all the time because “you never know who you’re going to meet”. My heart really wasn’t into this constant search. Not to mention that I often let that be my main focus, to the detriment of other equally important areas of my life. But I soon realized that love is not a numbers game, and ultimately, I need to be in full alignment with myself for my life to be truly fulfilling, whether I am single or in a relationship. Also, by me getting involved with different women who I pretty much knew from the start wasn’t going to lead anywhere, that just kept me from being available to a woman who could be a really good match for me.

“Stop thinking that happiness can come from chasing after fleeting pleasures and running away from discomfort and difficulty. Such a life prevents us from discovering the aliveness, tenderness, and beauty that arise when we’re fully here now. If at any moment I stop and ask myself what I really care about, my life becomes aligned. It doesn’t matter what I’m in the midst of doing. If I reflect on what’s important, I’ll remember to pause, relax, and open my heart.” – Tara Brach

Here are three suggestions to help make the most of your dating sabbatical.

  1. Improve your vibrational story about love and dating. Maybe the reason your love life (and bed) hasn’t been rocking is because you’ve got some energy that needs to be cleaned up. Perhaps you’ve got some jealousy in your vibration that potential partners pick up on. Or you need to process through any lingering feelings for previous partners. Or you feel deep down that you’re not worthy of a relationship. A great exercise is to ask yourself: “The reason I don’t have _________ , is because _________.” Whatever comes after the “because” is likely a mental story (a.k.a. excuse, limitation) that is keeping you away from what you want. Remember, taking a dating break but keeping crappy stories in your head is NOT the intention here.
  2. Update your intentions for a partner. Maybe with all these dates you’ve been going on you’ve lost touch with what the hell you really want in a partner. Unless you just want a warm body to sleep next to or someone to remind you to trim your nose hairs, maybe this is a great opportunity to look at what you really want. What qualities are most important to you in terms of health, money, kids, career, sex, travel, spirituality? And of course, whatever qualities you decide you prefer in a partner, make sure YOU are expressing those qualities, too. If you want someone who is reliable and trustworthy, then be reliable and trustworthy yourself.
  3. Be flexible. A sabbatical is not about rejecting love or potential dating partners. It’s about CHOOSING to take a break from dating for your own positive reasons to move toward. Often times, during these breaks, when you’re not desperately looking for love anymore, your resistant state is gone, and you’re allowing other areas of your life to light up your energy, that’s when you’ll meet someone. So if you DO happen to meet someone really amazing during your break, for gosh sakes, hop on that train! This is also a practice in connecting to your heart and following your intuition!

Jeffrey Platts is a men's coach and authentic communication expert who is passionate about helping men create amazing relationships with women. With over 20 years of personal study and transformational training, he has led nearly 200 workshops and retreats on personal growth, dating, and communication. Jeffrey's work and writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, Washington Post, ABC News, Authentic Man Program and the Good Men Project. He brings a rich toolbox of insights and experiences to his facilitation, integrating his adventures as DJ, amateur stand-up comedian, salsa dancer, yoga teacher and world traveler.