Every New Year’s I detox with a raw food cleanse. I’m not really that big on New Year’s resolutions or diets, but I strongly support healthy change. I believe breaking negative cycles is a great first step. I can remember when I decided to take a break from dating after a couple of terrible relationships and broken hearts. For six months or so, I decided to “do me.” In other words, I knew I needed an emotional overhaul for my next dating opportunity, so I gave myself one.
There are approximately 124 million singles in America. The dating industry is worth $2.2 billion. Annually, singles spend roughly $80 billion on dating. With so many dating options, a dating hiatus can give a person the opportunity for a dating detox. So if you dare to embrace a dating hiatus, you may benefit from emotional clarity, emotional independence, and emotional healing. Here’s why and how.
“Emotional Clarity” rivals the “Emotional Intelligence” skill set. It is your ability to read the emotions of others and respond to them in an appropriate manner. In addition, you can understand and read your own emotions to manage them accordingly. The six basic emotions to begin with include anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise.
When working with my clients, I explain that it is important to understand the basic emotions and to recognize primary versus secondary emotions. Several of my clients who find themselves in failed relationships share that they are angry. I explain that anger is a secondary emotion that masks other primary emotions, like jealousy, envy, hurt, sadness, rejection, unworthiness, etc. Once they identify the primary emotion, then that’s when they are well on their way to emotional clarity.
“Emotional Independence” is the opposite of codependence. Codependency is an emotional and behavioral state that ultimately impacts one’s capability to engage in healthy relationships. When taking a dating hiatus, you will learn very quickly if you rely on others for emotional stability. You will become aware of your ability or inability to thrive independently of your partner.
If you find that you “need” a relationship to be happy and/or content with who you are, then you clearly do not know who you are. It is time for a dating hiatus.
Bad relationships, painful heartbreaks, humiliating rejections, and other unpleasant experiences have probably left you emotionally fractured. At one point in our lives, we’ve all experienced the disappointments of failed relationships. “Emotional Healing” is one of the greatest benefits of taking a break from dating.
During your dating hiatus, explore situations and circumstances that have caused emotional distress. It doesn’t have to be specific events related to your most recent relationship. But with the right counselor, you can explore the emotional fractures that have left you damaged. Emotional blockages should be addressed for you to come to terms with the events and let go to heal. Letting go is a key component of Emotional Healing.
3 Tips for When You Take a Dating Hiatus
When I decided to take a dating break, I realized that I had to detox from a couple of my previous relationships because I held on to emotional baggage. During that time, I read an article about emotional management. Its author suggested that betrayal is the one emotion that most of us struggle with the most because we are devastated that someone we trusted would deceive and manipulate us. Needless to say, I eventually walked away from what I thought was the perfect guy for me—and I soon found myself wrestling with bitterness, resentfulness, and hatred. I had a problem. While I stewed in my misery, he was off starting a new relationship with someone else.
Here’s what I know about negative emotions like anger and bitterness: they only eat away at me and not the person I’m angry with. As a mental health counselor, I’ve had to go through many of the challenges that I work with my clients on. Forgiveness is sometimes difficult to attain, but it is not impossible.
So what should you do? Here are three tips to jumpstart your dating detox. I recommend you go through these stages to help forgive and let go under challenging circumstances.
1. Embrace the process.
You may tell yourself that you want to forgive, but actually embracing the processes of forgiving that person is another thing entirely. Allowing yourself to embrace forgiveness is the first step because it can sometimes be the hardest. Having to let go and give yourself permission to be vulnerable in a situation you were once hurt by can be scary. But it can build courage and self-esteem knowing you can get through some tough experiences even if the situation does repeat itself. Knowing that you can handle whatever life throws at you can also build your confidence. After all, if you hold on to resentment and anger, it won’t make the situation any better—it will only hurt you.
2. Tune into your feelings.
Tune into your feelings and identify your primary emotions. Avoidance never works, as all that negative emotion bottled up inside may come out in other destructive ways. Stay true to yourself. Acknowledge your emotions and resist the temptation to run from the problem or wallow in self-pity.
3. Be honest when something is bothering you.
You have lines you don’t want other people to cross, but the only way they can know what those lines are is if you communicate it to them. So, let them know your boundaries. Practice setting healthy boundaries with everyone around you.
When you take the journey of a dating hiatus, I encourage you to be very intentional. Set your goals and strategically create a plan to attain your objectives. If you’re up to the challenge, find a counselor or life coach who can support you and assist in your emotional healing process.
Dr. Jada Jackson LMHC, LPC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor – State of Florida
Licensed Professional Counselor – State of Texas
Author, Talk Show Host, Life Coach, Communicator
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