It's easy to be a human yo-yo when it comes to dating: One week, you're all in, and the next, you're footloose and fancy free, totally "off" dating, only to start the whole process again the following week. But there are some signs that point to the possibility that it may be time to stop dating altogether. It may come as a surprise, but people do meet other people out in the real world, nary a dating app in sight. It does happen, and I'm here to say that you might want to give dating a break if you're, say, experiencing dating burnout. Or rolling your eyes at the idea of going on dates. Or just altogether over dating, period.
If you've been going on a lot of dates with unworthy types — the mansplainer, the type who just wants to string you along, mad ghosters — it is especially wise to hit pause, or at least slo-mo, on the whole dating thing. Don't worry: Tinder will still be there when the dust settles, along with Hinge, Hitch, Align, OkCupid, Bumble, Happn, The League ... you get the point. If you're dating lots and loving life, disregard this. But if you just might need a moment to catch your breath and regroup, here are 10 signs that you might need a dating halt.
1. You're Becoming A Flake
If you're like, "Gotta go, bye," every time you have plans with your gals and some rando on the internet asks you out, bad news: You, my friend, need a dating freeze. I'm so sorry to be the one to break it to you, but someone had to.
2. You're Investing Too Much Time Online
Call me crazy, but I don't think anyone should spend more than an hour per day, tops, on dating-related swiping, stalking or messaging. The other 23 give you ample time to do other vital things, like sleeping, eating, working, reading books, taking walks — you get the idea. Point is, if you're glued to your phone or computer screen for more than an hour a day, you're squandering important living time. More IRL, less URL. Or at least that's what I always say.
3. You're Pretty Much Always On A Date
I have a friend who lined up dinner dates on OkCupid every night for a while to supplement her meager grad school budget. If this describes you, props, because that is just crafty enough that I deem it totally brilliant. That said, if you're going on more than one or two dates a week, you start losing out on all of the other socialization of a week: friend brunches and dinners, group exercise classes, long solo nights of dancing alone in your underwear — that kind of thing. Slow and steady wins the race.
4. You're On Every App Ever
Theoretically, you can sign up for and maintain profiles on 10 different dating apps at once, but that may not be the best strategy. When dating, a certain amount of plucky faith in the universe has to prevail, along with a sense of serendipity — seeing the right person at the right time on the right app, etc. — and, of course, a healthy dash of quality over quantity. Did I just compare dating to baking? Yes. Am I sorry? No.
5. Your Friends Make Jokes About Your Dating Life
No one wants to be the butt of a joke. If your pals are like, "Oh, hey Julie, how was your millionth Tinder date last night?" you might want to give it a rest. Even if it's all in good fun, jokes like these are usually based somewhere in the realm of reality (thanks, Freud!). If you're known as the serial dater among your friends, pause.
6. You're Bitter
Bitterness is not a good accessory. Trouble is, it follows you around like a little raincloud. Or like Pig Pen's dirt cloud. Like it or not, you take it everywhere with you. If you've gone on one too many dates, take a break. Bitterness is usually paired with its ugly stepsister, negativity, and with those two nipping at your ankles all the time, fat chance you'll get anything done, much less be a good date.
7. You Have A Penchant For Bad Boys/Girls
If your dates are always taking you home and then "forgetting" to text you ever again, and you're looking for a relationship, I have news: You're going to the laundromat for orange juice. In other words, as fun and crazy and wild those nights with all of those hot handsome lunatics may be, you're not going to whip one of them into boyfriend or girlfriend material. If you're OK with swinging from one to the next like a bumble bee, more power to you. But if you're playing for keeps, it might be time to change your game.
8. You're Dating Halfheartedly
Maybe you're convinced that there's no one out there for you. (Not true.) Or that everyone online is a psychopath. (Also untrue, but closer to the truth. JK, JK, not true.) Whatever the case may be, if your heart isn't in it, nothing good can come of it. This goes for everything. Dating included.
9. You're Over It
If you're rolling your eyes every time a message pings in, it might just be time to call it quits. For now, at least. Maybe in a few months, you'll be excited again, and then you can resume business as usual.
10. You Met Someone Amazing
Call me a romantic (no, really — call me a romantic, because that, folks, is exactly what I am), but if, at long last, someone truly awesome comes down the pike and you're both on the same page, it is totally OK to stop dating and just focus on one person. Like, get into a relationship. I know millennials are all billed as serial monogamists at best and career one-night-standers at worst, but that doesn't apply to all of us. So if you are on Date Five or whatever with a real Romeo — not a Casanova, an actual Romeo — you're allowed to get excited and throw in the dating towel and commit to a relationship. And stop dating.
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