I am currently enduring a 30-day dating detox. If you have never heard of a dating detox it is a phase where you cut out all forms of dating for 30, 60 or 90 days depending on the length of your last relationship. It is to make necessary changes to your life so your future dating life is different from your past experiences.
I decided to take this detox upon myself because I kept falling flat and getting myself hurt by every guy I ever came across. My last dating experience left me with a sense of worthlessness. I realised that I did not want to feel like this anymore and this felt like the most effective way to try and remove my old habits.
I have always been a serial dater. I seldom get into relationships and have only ever had 2 serious ones. Dating is something that I have always been somewhat addicted to. I liked attention, I liked having people to talk to and get to know romantically. Little did I know I spent so much time getting to know other people, that I didn’t really know myself.
The first step of my dating detox was to put my dating profile on hold. I had never really been one for Tinder, but I had always put my Snapchat and Instagram username on there so people could contact me elsewhere as I would be constantly downloading and deleting the app. I redownloaded the app to delete this information, deleted anyone I didn’t know from my Snapchat ‘friends’, and then deleted the app yet again. It took me a bit of time to realise that the only relationship that was actually going to last was the relationship with myself. Everyone else is able to come and go as they please and you can’t do anything to stop them. This detox gave me the time to prioritise myself. To do things I want to do and not rely on an excuse of a date to do it.
I had always been a sucker for meeting people in a club. I would be approached in the smoking area and I’d end up talking for the rest of the night and plenty of kissing until I left in the taxi with my friends. This is something that had become habit when single. It would be difficult at first to say “sorry I’m not interested”, but soon enough it has become second nature. Sure, when I walk away I get called a “slut” by the guy because I didn’t show interest (which really doesn’t make sense). I started going out to enjoy being out and letting my hair down with the girls. My best friend and I have the best nights now they are not tampered by the temptation of men. We are purely there to enjoy ourselves, and get absolutely mortal of course.
The hardest part for me so far was the stage of “spring cleaning”. Getting rid of anything that was from previous relationships. I couldn’t delete all the photos permanently because I’m a strong believer of looking back on things when you have moved on and can appreciate the past and not dwell. I downloaded all the photos on my phone onto my laptop and put them in a folder and hid them in a file that I will not see every time I turn it on. I then deleted them off of my phone, deleted the messages, everything. I got rid of the letter my ex had written me before his holiday which I’d kept for some bizarre reason. Removing these from my life meant that I was able to let go physically and emotionally. I burnt the photos I had in my room, which sounds crazy but it was extremely effective. It was letting out some sort of release that I couldn’t do from a simple “delete” button. It is something I would encourage anyone who is starting a dating detox to do. It was the step forward that I had never taken before.
At the end, you should have now understand and know exactly what you want from a relationship. If, like me, you have always been drawn to toxic people who you know are no good for you then you will now be able to see the warning signs. Someone said that I am attracted to people who are controlling and emotionally unavailable – I could never see it until now. It is a case of telling yourself no. Something I have learnt is that just because you are attracted to a certain type of person, doesn’t mean you have to act on it. I have always been attracted to military guys, otherwise known as “squaddies”. My past experiences have never ended well, but now I know that I wouldn’t get involved in someone like this again without extreme vetting.
My advice for anybody who is feeling stuck in a rut within the dating sector of their lives is to take a break.
You deserve to take time for yourself. You deserve to love and enjoy yourself. Fact of the matter is, nobody needs to know you’re on a dating detox. You don’t have to explain to anybody why you don’t want to date them. You just need to do this for yourself and know that’s why you are doing this. After all, the only person that can define your happiness is yourself.