It’s no secret that dating takes a lot of energy. Those of you who are currently engaged in it know that meeting new people, making yourself vulnerable, and finding ways to relate to someone new all take an amount of energy we are never really prepared for. There’s always a point where we step back and say “Enough for now, it’s time to rest”. For some this is the deleting of the app, the hiding of the profile, or just the decision not to go out on the weekend. Knowing when to recognize this is good! Being aware of what your body is going through is a level of awareness that is uncommon these days. Knowing when, where, and how to practice self care is just as important as finding someone you want to be with, so why don’t we put more emphasis on it?
It isn’t a surprise that the focus comes on dating and finding the right person. Some of us are taught that a relationship will solve our problems (and for those of us with anxious attachment styles, we KNOW about all the problems relationships solve for us). Why wouldn’t we go all in and play ‘personality trait bingo’ with our hopefuls trying to win big? This kind of thinking sets us up for disaster, allowing us to get to that ‘overextended’ stage where we are emotionally burned out. This can be dangerous for a number of reasons.
For one, this emotional burnout can effect us in other areas of our lives. How often have you felt like you didn’t have the energy for a task at work or at home? It’s true, it could be any number of factors, but getting that burnout in one area of your life is bound to lead to other areas. You might notice that your diet has started to slip, or that you’re not working out as often, or that you’ve stopped talking to your friends as regularly. If this is the case, you might want to see what areas might be causing the burnout for you (as it isn’t always relationship related). Some well deserved R&R might be just what you need.
Another reason you might want to avoid this emotional burnout is because it creates an opportunity for the wrong people to move in. When this exhaustion is present I am more vulnerable to those who would seek to soothe it. This, in and of itself, may seem benign to some people. To my fellow anxious attachers (AA) this can be a death sentence for our ability to think clearly. We tend to elevate and ruminate over the meaning of individual events, and the last thing I want to do is put myself in a situation where I can fall down a ‘do they or don’t they’ rabbit hole that results in me wondering whether or not they want to get married. This isn’t the fault of the other person (usually, there are still those who look for that weakness and vulnerability as a way to lay a foundation of control over someone’s feelings), I’m aware that this is due solely on my ability to think rationally about the meaning of a particular event. But the best way to prevent these types of occurrences is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Finally, catching yourself and allowing time for your body and mind to rest is the ultimate form of self respect. There is no greater judge of what’s going on with your body in the moment (outside of sought advice from physicians and other body experts) and knowing where to draw the line is the best way to say ‘I love you’ to yourself and mean it. So many of us struggle with self esteem, but this can be a healthy way to start combating that.
As a side note, not all of dating has to be about finding the right person. You can find people who may have little permanence in your life and enjoy the time you spend with them (whether it gets physical or not). Some of the most rejuvenating times in my life where short spells with people who were exactly what I needed at the time. For my AA peeps, we need to hit a certain level of acceptance and awareness of what we tend to do before we try something like this, because if we allow ourselves to attach to something non permanent we can end up doing more harm than good. It’s another one of those things that you can test out for yourself (as long as your strong enough to stop yourself if it goes bad). With so much pressure on dating, it’s easy to forget that life is supposed to be fun. If we treat it as such, everything becomes a lot easier.
As a disclaimer, this is advice and perspective that has worked for me. It doesn’t mean it will work for you, or that it’s guaranteed to help you (in fact, for some it might even make it more difficult). If you feel like you can use it, take what I’ve said here and tailor it for yourself! You know yourself the best, it’s time to start living like it 🙂
Better days ahead everyone!