5 signs you might need a dating break, according to experts

There's no shame in taking a (dating) break, folks!

collage of Asian woman blowing love hearts with landscape in background, dating break
(Image credit: Getty)

Romance can feel challenging, and sometimes, a dating break is not only encouraged, but necessary. 

Now that summer has arrived, singles are taking full advantage of the gorgeous weather and people's willingness to mingle. We're untyping, wanderloving, diving into the relationship effect, etc., etc. The trends keep coming and the swiping is at an all-time high. Truthfully, it can be overwhelming, so there's no shame in taking some time for yourself. 

"If you decide to take a break from dating, you should view this as an exciting opportunity to rediscover yourself and what you really want right now," says Maria Sullivan, vice president of Dating.com. "A break can be as long or short as you need it to be, and there is no “right” amount of time to take a pause from dating."

Here are some warning signs that mean you should hit "pause."

Five signs you need a dating break, according to experts

There's no need to make dating a chore. Do what works for you and go at your own speed—even if that includes some time off the apps. 

“Dating can be a positive part of your life that gives you energy. By being more mindful and setting boundaries, like a time limit for stepping away from the dating world, you can become more proactive about your dating experience," says sexologist and Bumble dating expert Dr. Caroline West.

1. Your time is not your own

Sometimes we treat swiping like homework and overbook ourselves. This should not be the case—it takes the pleasure right out of the experience. According to Dr. West, "Over half (52%) of people on Bumble have recently established more boundaries in their lives, meaning they’re putting themselves first in order to find a fulfilling relationship.” 

You should also remember to take time for yourself—it will make the process of finding a significant other a lot simpler. 

"Don't overbook yourself and schedule dates with yourself in the midst of dates with others," intimacy expert Brenden Durrell previously told us. "Every time you meet somebody, you have the mirror coming back to you, you learn things about yourself. So every date, even if it goes badly, you come back to yourself and that's wisdom to use for yourself. You get stronger and clearer for your next date."

2. Things feel disingenuous

If you want something long-term, be clear. If you are only interested in something fleeting while you're traveling this summer, that's okay, too. Just make sure you're looking for what you want, and not what you *think* you should want. 

"Dating with intention is also a trend seen globally, with the majority of people on Bumble saying that they are now more upfront with partners about what they want, otherwise known as 'hard balling,'" Dr. West notes. 

3. You're dealing with past issues

If the past won't stay there, perhaps it's time to address the issues that are holding you back so you can move forward. We totally understand—getting over a breakup isn't easy. Jump back into the dating pool when it's a good time for you. 

"Allowing yourself time to heal is crucial to your own mental health and to the success of your future relationships," Sullivan notes. "If you don’t allow yourself to heal, you can expect anxiety to follow you as you attempt to meet and connect with new people."

4. You're Too Dependent On Another

"You should avoid approaching dating as seeking happiness from a partner; that happiness should come from within and should be enhanced through a healthy relationship," Sullivan says. "Spend time doing any and all things that help you find your own happiness and peace before you put yourself back out there."

5. You're plain ol' exhausted

If you're tired, take some time to enjoy a few self-care activities solo. (We're never ones to deny ourselves a mani-pedi, to be honest.) 

"Dating is a fun and exciting experience, but that’s not to say it’s without its challenges," notes Eva Gallagher of Plenty of Fish. "If even that is wearing you out and you’re finding yourself less interested in returning messages, it may be time to focus on yourself and take a temporary break."

Make sure you're refreshed before encountering someone new. And while you take that time to focus on yourself, Gallagher suggests enjoying that Main Character Energy

"It's all about being the best version of you, so prioritize spending time with your friends, exploring new hobbies or even traveling," she says. "Once you’ve had a chance to take a breather and spend a little time on yourself, you’ll likely feel ready to jump back into the dating pool, and may even find it more fun and enjoyable than it was before."

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Maria Sullivan

Maria Sullivan is a dating expert and the vice president of Dating.com, a site that has global reach and helps you foster a connection with someone, regardless of their location. 

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Eva Gallagher

Eva Gallagher is a dating expert at Plenty of Fish, a Match Group dating app with personalized connection options that help "create the same magic online that you would IRL."

Dr. Caroline West

Dr. Caroline West is the host of the Glow West podcast and a relationship expert for Independent.ie, the Elaine Show on Virgin Media One, and Bumble Ireland. She's a writer, lecturer and media commentator with a focus on sex, feminism, and the body.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.