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"I'm so sick of dating. There's no one left and I'm never going to meet anyone. All the good guys have already been snatched up. I'm going to be single the rest of my life."
My friend Julie makes these rants every few months and every few months I give her the same advice: run away from the dating scene as fast as possible and don't look back for at least a few months. Julie happily takes this advice each time and then happily returns to the dating scene a dozen weeks later ready to take on the world once again.
Sometimes it's healthy to take a break from dating. If you've been on J*Date for six months and you've been to every single singles event for the past year and you've accepted every set-up your friends and relatives have offered and are getting frustrated, don't worry - it's normal. It also means it's time to take a step back and spend more quality time alone and with the people who already know you and love you.
When you've been too active, people have the tendency to assume you'll be present and you'll actually start to blend into the crowd. Thus, making a timely disappearing act is necessary. Freeze your J*Date account and take your profile down; don't go to any singles events; tell your friends to hold off on the blind dates. If your Facebook profile says "single," or "looking for a date," change it. You don't have to answer those questions at all, so don't. And remember the little trick about going back to your profile page immediately and deleting the change on your Newsfeed so that it's not broadcasted to all of your network.
By changing your status technologically, you'll start to change your status mentally. Stop thinking about yourself as the only singleton out there who hasn't met anyone. Stop thinking that you'll never find anyone and will be single the rest of your life. Stop thinking about finding a husband or wife and concentrate on yourself, right now. When you think about marriage every second of the day it will seep through your pores and actually alienate people. People can smell desperation and boy does it stink! Stop looking at every attractive person you walk by thinking "is there a ring on the left hand?" or "could it be?"
Meet new people because they're nice, not because they're single. If all your friends are paired up then you need to try to find new single friends to hang out with, anyway, because you're certainly not going to meet anyone hanging out with a bunch of couples.
You also need to stop counting backwards from the age you hoped to have children, stressing yourself out as the number of days decrease. You know exactly what I'm talking about: if you want to have kids by a certain age, plus you want to be married a year before you have kids, plus you want to be engaged for a year before you get married, plus you need to date for a while before you get engagedâ€¦ well that puts you at having to have met your mate, when? Last year? When it happens, it happens, and it will happen. But it won't happen any sooner if you're frustrated with dating and emoting desperation or boredom. That's why breaks are not only healthy, but necessary.
CONCENTRATING ON your career, your health and your relationships with friends and family will not only fill your time, but will also make you a happier, more successful and more complete person. And that newly refreshed person is the one who will attract the kind of man or woman you're looking for. But don't do it for your prospective life partner, do it for you. No matter how cute you think that line is from Jerry Maguire, you don't want your mate to "complete you" - you want him or her to complement you.
Of course, things happen when you least expect it, which means that when you're least interested in meeting anyone is when you will start attracting attention, but you have to make sure you're ready first. Dating takes a lot of mental work and you must be strong enough before you get back out there. Think about it: you don't want to date someone whose life is either falling apart or who is dependent on a mate for happiness, so why would anyone else be attracted to that either?
Sometimes taking a break also means getting a new haircut, working out and losing a few pounds or buying a new wardrobe. All of those things will make you "feel" new again and will add to your refreshed attitude when you do make your appearance back on the scene. Whenever it is you make the decision to reappear on the scene, be prepared to be the center of attention. People will take new notice of you and will look at you differently. And you may discover someone new on the scene or possibly even someone you may have seen a million times on J*Date whom you may not have noticed before because of the day-to-day dating doldrums.
By stepping out from the scene, you'll return refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to take on the search with a better mindset, one of someone who is single and happy and makes people feel lucky to be around them.