At the end of 2018 I decided to take a break from dating (which eagle-eyed readers may remember). And during that period of downtime I connected with New York-based dating coach, Clara Artschwager, who helped me gain some perspective about what I’m ultimately searching for.
Clara will actually be joining Monica and I on the podcast tomorrow, to discuss ghosting. But – as I have her to thank for coaching me through what ultimately turned out to be a very productive dating pause – I’ve invited Clara to share her dating detox formula below. So, if you’re also in need of a little break, read on for Clara’s tips…
The Art of a Nourishing Dating Detox
Hi gals! Clara, here. Modern dating and relationships coach, oat milk lover, and aspiring dog-owner. I have the great honor of helping badass, career-driven women take an empowered and nourishing approach to partnership, whatever that might look like for them.
And much of my work when it comes to locking in that nourishment begins with a proper “dating detox.” I’ve yet to come up with a term that doesn’t elicit visions of doing a juice cleanse or living on a SoulCycle bike, so brownie points to anyone who can!
But the truth is, that’s what we most often think of when we envision a break from dating. We delete the apps in a huff, decide we’re swearing off men indefinitely, and take on the attitude of a sullen teenager.
My journey to becoming a dating and relationships coach started as a personal journey to do things differently in my own love life. Following a harrowing breakup in my late 20s, at which point the mere thought of dating was enough to make me want to run and hide. Even then, I knew there had to be a better way. A smarter way. And, many mistakes and missteps later, I discovered that there was.
And not just in how we meet people, but how we go about the hard parts, too – the bad dates, the ghosting, the general let down of not forming meaningful connections. I quickly learned it was how I handled those periods specifically that was the linchpin in my entire dating approach. And the good news is, it really only consists of two steps.
Feel the Hurt
We strong-willed women have a tendency to power through many things, not excluding our pursuit of love. We want to get in, get out, and if that guy doesn’t work out, be done with it. Not dwell. Not feel the hardness and sadness of it all. That’s all too often not what we do.
Ironically, that’s where all the good stuff is. That’s where the learning lives. That part about doing things differently? It starts there — in sitting with what is. In sitting with the hardness. In actually feeling your damn feelings around why dating feels so shitty. And that’s not just me saying that — it’s SCIENCE. Studies have shown that when patients experiencing anxiety or depression simply say, “I feel anxious,” it actually lessens the intensity of the emotion. In allowing yourself to feel the hurt, the lesson of the hurt then becomes accessible to you.
Have you ever felt like you needed a really good cry? Or had the urge to pound your feet into the pavement, sweat your heart out, and run until your legs couldn’t carry you any farther? And then once you do it’s as if suddenly a huge weight has been lifted? That’s the experience that becomes possible when you feel into the hurt. That’s what becomes accessible when you don’t utter “men are bullshit” in response to someone treating you poorly and look more deeply and critically at the scenario.
Explore Where You Played a Role
And while you’re down there looking around… you’ll want to also explore where you played a role in how things shook out. Because even though it may feel like there are a lot of forces working against you, we’ve played a role, too. Clients often bristle or squirm when I tell them this, but this is actually good news! If we’ve played a role it means we have more control because once we can better identify our actions. We can gain clarity on how we can change them. This is about putting you back in the driver’s seat of your own dating experience, and the first step is understanding the role you actually play.
The real growth happened for me when I took a good, hard look at how my actions had created my own reality. How my actions had played into, even brought on, the ghosting, the bad dates, the shitty behavior, the “same guy” showing up over and over again. It was in clarifying the nature of the role I’d played that I came to see both the power and agency I had over my pursuit of partnership. And once I saw that power, my GOODNESS did the act of dating become a whole lot easier. Which is ultimately the feeling you want coming out of a detox period.
A detox is loosely defined as a “a process or period to rid the body of unhealthy substances.” In that way, if we look at a dating detox as a period to understand what those “unhealthy substances” (in our case, unhealthy patterns) actually are for us as individuals, we then arm ourselves with the ability to rid ourselves of those patterns. Because now you know what they are! Easier said than done… patterns are linked to habits which often take some effort to break, but it’s mostly definitely a start. And at the very least, an extremely worthwhile break from dating. Far better than any clarity you’ll gain from a juice cleanse, but if that lights you up, too, go for it!
I hope all of this was helpful! I work with women all over the world, so if you’re interested in dating and relationships support, feel free to explore a complimentary session with me or shoot me a message on Instagram. Dating can be hard, but not as hard as you think. Much love. xx