How To Spring Clean Your Dating Life

The change of seasons is a natural moment to take stock at your current life and choices and decide what needs to transform to bring you to a happier, more fulfilling place. If a source of discomfort — and OK, extreme frustration — is your love life, experts agree that spring cleaning your dating life, past relationships, one-night stands, or friends with benefits will help you push forward into the season with new hope and excitement.

It's not always easy to take a step back and analyze what the last season (or seasons) of going on dates and swiping aimlessly on your apps, but consider this: more relationships happen in the springtime than any other time. Sure, it may be chemical — those endorphins caused by sunshine aren't joking around — but if you're not able to truly open yourself up, you may miss the opportunity to find what you're really looking for.

Perhaps you're not being honest about what's really making you frustrated or maybe it's your mindset that's standing in your way. As you take out those sweaters you didn't wear and those boots that need to be reheeled — take these measures to spring clean your dating life, too:

1. Be Honest About What's Really Making You Unhappy

A few months ago, I couldn't stand the thought of being on yet another dating app, much less actually participate in one and start fielding through randos, most of which I'd never meet (or want to meet). So ya know what? I deleted my dating apps. Relationship expert Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC says pin-pointing sources of your unhappiness in terms of dating will help you see the things that bring you joy more clearly. "It is the time of year when people look around at where they are at, who is in their life, what is making them happy, and what is making them miserable," she says. "They often want to change or remove the things that are making them unhappy, or make them feel unsettled."

2. Write Down What You Want

When it comes to dating, what do you want? No seriously — what exactly do you want? Is it a relationship that will lead to marriage? An adventure partner and seeing where it goes? Licensed clinical psychologist, Rudi Rahbar says now is the time to get real with yourself about what you're looking for. "In order to find what we want, we have to first figure out what it is," she says. "Sounds simple enough, but many people have no idea what they're looking for.

3. Consider What You're Thinking — Even If You're Not Saying It

You've heard it before, but we'll say it again: you are what you think. Even if you put on a big grin around your friends and act like everything is fine, it matters more what words you use when you're thinking about dating more than the ones that you verbalize. If your mindset is always "I'm never going to meet someone" — then why would you?

Life coach and author, Sarah Stewart says that while ditching old dating habits are key, the biggest factor in detoxing your dating life is starting with your mind. "Clean away past relationships you may be hanging on to that are not doing you any good. Ditch old dating habits that do not serve any purpose," she says. "And most importantly, say good bye to old resentments or negative thoughts that get in the way of a healthy relationship."

4. Do Things Because They're Fun

Is there a cooking class that you've been meaning to take for years and you've never signed up? Or what about that outdoor run club that tries local pubs after logging miles? Whatever it is that you've been interested in, use the change of the seasons as an excuse to change your routine. "Spring is a time when we start shedding layers and more and more of us are spending time outside. Expand your social circle by joining a new gym or club. Volunteer. Be adventurous and spring into action," Stewart says. "Think new, outdoors and outside your comfort zone. Have some fun with dating!"

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

Images: Fotolia; SmileThroughTears/Tumblr; Giphy; RingsofMary/Tumblr; FuckYeahDancingGIFs/Tumblr