Which Feels Worse: Dating or Not Dating?

It’s now been a couple of weeks since I made the decision to put attempts at dating on pause for a little while. At first, the decision felt terrific. It was strong and empowering to recognize things weren’t working. Taking a step back to regroup seemed like a reasonable idea.

It was just one date. One date, a few weeks of messaging, and the hope of finding some joy in each other for a while.
That hope is now gone. So it goes sometimes. Time to keep looking and try the whole thing all over again.
I don’t want to do it anymore.

I break for joy

Now, a few weeks later, it isn’t feeling quite as powerful.

Friends have told me that when they were using online dating sites they took breaks now and again. They have assured me there isn’t anything unusual about it.

I don’t plan on reactivating my account anytime soon. But, I am curious to know if those of you who have participated in online dating have had similar experiences.

If you met your partners quickly when you tried online dating, this conversation is not applicable to you (although, of course, I’m terribly happy for you, yay love, you are adorable and awesome together, how wonderful for you that you met so quickly, please do tell me all about how lovely your life is, that’s exactly what will be helpful to me right now).

If you did not meet partners quickly, tell me… Did you need to take breaks from dating once in a while? For how long? How frequently?

And which do you think is worse — the constant disappointment and misery of trying to date or the feelings of pessimism and negativity that accompany taking a break?


  1. I started OkCupid in January. I’ve taken a handful of breaks – two of which I disabled my account for several weeks. I met and was talking with someone pretty seriously which was when I took a break because I liked him. But then I found myself becoming obsessive and thought, for my mental health, it would be better to be off for a while. I take things too personally so I take breaks when I start feeling a lot of self-loathing.

    1. I completely relate to the obsessiveness and the taking things personally/feeling self-loathing stuff. It’s such a relief to step away and limit those feelings. It’s like, suddenly not feeling anxious all the time. It’s hard to want to go back to it!

  2. I did not meet anyone quickly (or really ever) online. Never took breaks…probably should have as I had some spectacularly stupid dates that I probably could have screened out if I wasn’t burned out. (But, now they make for decent retroactive comedy.) In the end, though, I met my Partner the old fashioned way…hiding from people in the corner at an event that was too “peopley,” but we both felt compelled to be at for various reasons.

  3. For my first relationship, it it took me only 5 minutes and one date to find someone online. After that was over within a year, it took me 2 years and 177 dates to find someone ten years ago and alas, that’s over too. I have been on a break (from dating) for almost a year now. Can’t tell you much difference except that I had a lot of sex when I was dating last time and now-a-days, not much. But then, sex has never been my priority in or out of a relationship. Its the relationship that I aim for, everything else is secondary.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Dating right away after a breakup is so hard and painful. It’s completely understandable that you would want to take a break for a bit. During those 2 years (and 177 dates) before meeting your most recent partner, though, did you ever take a time out? If you did, how did it feel? I think that’s where I am right now. Trying to find someone was making me miserable. Not trying to find someone is also making me miserable. I’m so curious to know if you have felt this, too.

      1. You’re welcome 🙂 Regarding your question about the break between serial dating experience of mine, I never had any. It was such a lovely experience (of meeting new people), that frankly I wanted it to continue forever. Unfortunately, sex always complicated such beautiful relationships. And without sex, nobody is willing to give you a serious thought now-a-days I suppose. However, I never attached myself with anybody that much to exhaust my feelings so much that I’d need to take any break. And when I found someone willing to join me in the two-way traffic (i.e. love), I happily embraced her until, sadly when she, too cheated on me, but years later.

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