A woman carries a basket of laundry across her living room

Your 4 stage dating detox plan

by Fran Creffield - January 16, 2013

If you are starting 2013 as a single the temptation may be to up your efforts on the dating front but maybe its time to do the opposite and embark on a dating detox?

If your current efforts at dating keep falling flat it may be time for a dating detox – time to clear out and make the necessary changes to help ensure that your dating future is different from your past

According to Patti Stanger, author of Become your own Matchmaker, this phase should last between 30 and 60 days depending on the length of your last relationship ‘If your most recent relationship lasted less than a year or if you’ve never had a serious relationship, detox for thirty days. If your last relationship lasted for two years, detox for sixty days. If it was a marriage or a relationship that lasted three or more years, detox for ninety days’.

Here are the four stages necessary for a good detox.

Stage 1.  Get to know yourself.

Stop dating; put your dating profiles on hold; postpone any singles events and bring all the attention that is usually focused on other people onto yourself. Your relationship with yourself is the only relationship that is guaranteed to last your entire life so you need to take time to develop, nurture and maintain it – something most of us rarely do.

What makes you happy? What activities do you enjoy? If you have been struggling through a painful break-up – or been totally focussed on getting a date – it may be that it is a long time since you have actually stopped and asked yourself what you want, or need, in order to feel relaxed, happy or inspired. It is too easy to fall into the trap of waiting for someone else to come and make us happy or fulfil our needs but unless we take responsibility for doing it ourselves any relationships we develop will usually be shorted lived because we won’t have laid the necessary foundations to give them the best chance of survival.

Become your own best friend – treat yourself to the things and activities that make you feel good about yourself. Take time to read a book, watch a film or go to the theatre – you don’t need to have someone with you to go on a fantastic date. Ask yourself at least once a day what you would like to do just for fun. Life is often too full of the things we ‘should’ do rather than the things we ‘want’ to do. Use your detox time to really get to know what makes you tick and put yourself at the top of your list of priorities in terms of time and attention. The investment will be well worth the effort and you will help ensure that you go into your next relationship because it is something you really want rather than because you are terrified of being on your own.

Stage 2. Get fit

According to the group Action for Happiness daily physical exercise is a vital component to feeling good about ourselves.

Imagine you are in training for the perfect relationship – you want your new beau to find you looking and feeling good about yourself not emerging from a winter slumped in front of the telly with a tub of ice cream. No matter how busy, or how unfit, you are, devote half an hour each day to physical exercise in a form that suits you – a brisk walk is very beneficial physically and emotionally.

Stage 3. Spring clean

Nothing new can come into your life until you have let go of the old. If you are holding onto old love letters, photos, gifts and belongings of an ex then it is unlikely that you have really let go of the relationship.

The same is true emotionally. Bitterness and resentment about past relationships can block you from moving on and will stifle your ability to trust and commit to someone new. Clear it all out, including your heart – writing it all out in letters you never send and then burning them is a very effective way to release hurt feelings.

Imagine every hurt and heartache was a stepping stone necessary to take you to the relationship you deserve – then you begin to feel grateful for the past rather than hurt.

Stage 4. Dare to dream

During your detox phase allow yourself to imagine the future you really want – how you want to feel – the things you want to experience in a relationship. Allow your imagination to soar and enjoy the feelings of excitement it brings when you really believe these dreams (ignore the cynical internal voice that says it will never happen).

Dare to dream but let the dreams go and focus on being happy in the here and now and trust that by being fulfilled already the relationship you desire will be drawn to you – you won’t have to hunt it down.