The Challenge: 6 Months Without Dating

My good friend from Europe recently called and told me she plans to visit in the spring. I was delighted, of course; I miss her every single day. As we began to talk about what was going on with each of our lives, I mentioned I was taking a bit of a break from seeking out dating. If I should happen to meet someone in the course of my life, I won’t shy away from it. However, online dating sites are something I’m avoiding. Laughing, I commented:

“Unless, of course, I start to freak out and only make it a couple of months.” She laughed along with me, then challenged: “Can you make it until my visit in April? Can you agree to not try to date and just focus on yourself for six months?”

Six months without seeking out a romantic partner: Can I do it? The prospect is both exhilaring and terrifying to me! The longest I’ve been single since my divorce is 5 months. It’s such a dichotomy, because I truly want a relationship and feel I have a tremendous amount of love and value to give to a partner. Yet I wonder if I took that love and turned it inward for awhile, what the results would be. There is some place within me that is needy, lonely and afraid of being on my own; my history of putting up with actions (or a lack of them) that make me miserable just so I won’t lose the person I love is evidence of this. Why don’t I love myself enough to refuse to accept bad behavior from my lovers? The decision to not date isn’t about my ability to be in a relationship. I’m really good at giving to and loving others. It’s my inability to be without one and give love to myself that I need to explore. If I can answer the question of why it’s so important to me, perhaps I’ll feel more comfortable saying “No more” to people who don’t bring their best to the table. Hopefully, this will attract someone who IS willing to bring their best.

So, the challenge has been set. Can I stay off online dating sites and not seek out a partner for six months? In the last month to six weeks since I’ve been single, I’ve already done things I feel really great about. I’ve joined a gym and been working out regularly. I’ve actually started writing my book. I just confirmed a trip to hike Mount LeConte in the late spring (which will require a bit of training!). I’ve taken on more responsibility in my career and am trying to stretch myself. What could six months bring?

Still, if the right person materialized, I wouldn’t say no. With that caveat, I think I’m going to give it my best shot. Now if only all my former dating sites would stop sending me men…


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