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q re: dating hiatus (slightly tmi)

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norabird posted 3/26/2014 13:26 PM

A good thing about my awful relationship and breakup is that now I'm finally ready to date mindfully (after the recovery/healing process winds down), and to be alone mindfully as well. Before the recently ended relationship, I dated frenetically and compulsively, and looking back, it wasn't healthy. I don't want that again. I want to be more careful, to only date when I'm ready, to look before I leap, working on my picker and on me and holding out for the right situation.

Reading baggage reclaim has been pretty useful in thinking about some of my old patterns and envisioning what I want in the future. I've read the posts on dating hiatuses there and they really appeal to me right now, 2.5 months after everything ended and not yet healed.

But the baggage reclaim version is also supposed to be a sex hiatus, a seeing exes hiatus, really cold turkey across the board. Part of that (to me) comes from the perspective that women just can't separate emotion and sex. I definitely can't as much as I think I can, but in some circumstances it's not an issue. For instance I saw an ex the other month, and it was nice! I don't have regrets. In fact I'm happy that now the last person I've had sex with isn't someone who caused me so much hurt. Tonight I'm seeing another ex just to catch up over dinner platonically (I've explained I can't get involved right now). Or there's a friend of a friend, who lives out of town, who I have been meaning to continue an email thread with; we met at the tail end of the break-up and got along well.

To me, these are things I don't need for validation, but that I appreciate having nonetheless. But I feel like all of them break the strict dating hiatus rules too, even though I'm not trying to replace the relationship or run from the pain (well, no more than I am when I do anything social--distractions and social obligations/formalities have their place).

I am assuming the dating hiatus is pretty much like advice from SI, IC, etc: take whatever works for you and leave the rest. For me, that would mean that if something comes up organically, something with no red flags, I can take advantage of it (whether a short fling, or just a friendly chat). But just wondering if others have thoughts on taking the hiatus in a more flexible way.

InnerLight posted 3/27/2014 09:40 AM

I took a dating hiatus when I separated from X for a year and a half. I just felt in my gut that I couldn't deal with men and their issues and my issues.

I took another hiatus after I broke up with current SO. We had been together 7 months and hit a wall and amicably split. I was sad and waited a couple months before I went back on OLD. I didn't have sex with anyone, just a few coffee and then dinner dates. After 3 more months of that SO asked me back and we negotiated a great agreement that has served as the foundation for a very sweet and loving relationship.

I did casual sex when I was young and it didn't appeal to me as an older woman. I realize how involved in someone's energy I get when I have sex so for me it really doesn't do me good to get that involved physically when the rest of us is not so involved.

What I discovered was courtship. I didn't have good courtships as a younger woman since I rushed to bed in that era of sexual freedom. Now I have an appreciation for the deliciousness of a good courtship period.

For me dating hiatus definitely cleared my mind so I could be more present and aware and myself when I got back on OLD

I don't know about rules, but paying attention to my gut was my guide.

Williesmom posted 3/27/2014 09:53 AM

I had a "sexual hibernation" for about 18 months after the Divorce.

It's been sporadic since then, but my fwb has been pretty constant since I met him.

better4me posted 3/27/2014 12:15 PM

I haven't taken any hiatuses from dating, I think I've done my work about dating mindfully (love that term norabird) while dating. It has been helpful for me to take a step back from the frenetic activity when it gets that way. To look at my behavior, to see if I'm am treating this as a process etc, and I think I've been able to do that while dating. If my heart got hurt, then I took a few weeks or a month off from meeting anyone new. When I felt ready, I got back on OLD.

For the last month or so, I've made a re-commitment to myself to discover and to change the patterns I kept repeating in dating. I'm reading some books, listening to a series of interviews about dating on the web etc. All while I am still dating...I'm looking at my patterns, mindfully changing them, trusting the process, loving myself, fearing less etc, etc, etc

I think taking a break can be a useful tool to really focus on yourself, but if you don't feel like you need to take a complete break, trust yourself. One size does not fit all in this process and those who say "THESE ARE THE RULES" may be less cognizant of that fact...As one of my favorite tag lines says; "Your milage may vary"

Lonelygirl10 posted 3/27/2014 13:47 PM

I'll respond personally for me and how I look at it. I've never taken a dating hiatus until recently. And I kept making the same mistakes and really noticed a pattern. I tend to get over one ex by the high I feel of dating around. I very rarely get into a rebound relationship. But I think those good feelings that develop from a sexual relationship masks the pain of the breakup, and prevents me from really dealing with it. So personally I took a dating and sex break in order to reset myself, if that makes sense. I wanted to be lonely for a bit instead of trying to fill that void. And I think sex can be just as bad as dating. Both leave you feeling good and attractive, and hide the bad feelings from the breakup. I think you need to experience the pain, go through it, and then start getting that external validation again.

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