By Callie Beusman
There are a lot of reasons you may consider taking a break from dating. Maybe you’re feeling burned out, or you’ve had a few conversations fizzle out in a way that left you frustrated, or you’re just busy right now and focused on other things. Whatever the case, if you feel you’re not in the right place to date, stepping back for some amount of time—be it a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks—can be really beneficial.
Here’s how to make the best of your time off so that you can return to dating feeling refreshed, optimistic, and ready to meet new people:
Don’t stress out about what you might be missing
When you decide to take some time off, try not to worry about missing out, and resist the urge to check out what old matches are up to on social media. “That fear of missing out or worry that you’re going to miss some nebulous window of opportunity is part of why so many people burn out on dating,” explains dating coach Harris O’Malley. “It’s important to remember that you can go back when you’re ready, rather than feeling like you need to get back to it ASAP.” Don’t be afraid to take your time if you need to.
If you don’t want to lose existing Bumble matches and conversation, you can activate Snooze mode, which lets you set an away status so that your connections are able to see you’re taking a break. Snooze mode allows you to hide your profile from potential matches for either 24 hours, 72 hours, a week, or indefinitely, and get back to making connections whenever you’d like.
Focus on what makes you feel fulfilled
Above all, taking a dating hiatus is a way to prioritize yourself and put your energy into the things that bring you joy and boost your confidence. “The best way to maximize your time off is to focus on the things that feed your soul and make you feel good about yourself,” says O’Malley.
Throw yourself into activities that you love: Revisit an old hobby, reconnect with your friends, plan a trip somewhere exciting, take yourself out on a solo date, or start a new exercise routine. Spend time doing anything that makes you feel nourished, fulfilled, and confident in your own skin.
Get in touch with what you need from this pause…
“Taking a break from dating offers a huge benefit,” says Dr. Grant Brenner, a psychiatrist and author, “because it gives you the psychological and emotional space to work on your relationship with yourself.” But what it means to “work on your relationship with yourself” will vary from person to person. A good first step is to reflect on whatever led to you wanting to slow down in the first place. It could be that you’ve been putting so much energy into dating that you’ve ignored your own needs, it could be general burnout, or it could be something less heavy, like wanting to prioritize time with your friends.
… and make a practice of putting those needs first
Once you’re clear on why you wanted a break, you can make a conscious effort to address that area of your life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with other obligations, that could be a sign that you need to figure out a better work-life balance; if dating is giving you anxiety, maybe you need to work on feeling more confident on your own. Or it could just be that you just need a bit of space!
No matter what, it’s helpful to view this period as a time for actively getting in touch with yourself, and for establishing healthy routines around your emotional needs. “Be sure to rest,” says well-being coach Shula Melamed, “but don’t just binge TV shows and hide the whole time.”
When you’re ready to go back to dating, you’ll know. There’s no need to rush; as long as you genuinely take the time to relax and focus on yourself, you’ll be able to return feeling recharged and excited to make a meaningful connection.