I am in a dating dry spell.
Being a native Southern Californian, dry spells are something I’m familiar with. The hills are dry, fires are quick to catch. Neighbors are replacing their lawns with synthetic grass or succulent gardens. Cracks creep through the dry ground.
Unlike the looming water shortage during which I can still (for now) turn on the water and get what I need, finding a partner in a dating drought isn’t so easy. We can’t just turn a faucet or hit an “ON” button and suddenly receive an outpouring of potential partners.
But let me first start by saying that a dating dry spell can be a great gift. We can use the silence to explore what’s going on inside of us.
Although I believe we learn most about ourselves through relationships (with friends, family members and partners alike), and that I tend to think staying single can be a defense mechanism for many, being alone can also be an amazing time to reflect. When are aren't with a partner, we can get in touch with what we really want. We can also explore what might be unconsciously preventing us from receiving love.
Here are some tips for how to turn a dating dry spell into a time of rejuvenation.
1. Get quiet.
I write this from a sleepy little town in California called Ojai. I am here on a mini-getaway by myself. I felt like my spirit needed a little down time, some nourishment that only silence and stillness can give.
I’ve been pretty good about resisting Facebook, email and texts, but also surprised at how hard it has been. I thought the silence I’d been craving would come without resistance. I was wrong.
Because my resistance has been so strong, I know that this quiet time is doubly important. You see, when we feel resistance toward certain feelings, it’s usually a good indication that there’s some emotion or insight we unconsciously want to avoid. For me on this trip, those emotions are loneliness and unworthiness, two human universals.
There’s a major part of me that wants to avoid diving into the loneliness and sitting with it. Part of me fears that if I move toward the loneliness, it will swallow me and attract more loneliness (this is not true, by the way).
I’m also coming face-to-face with my own questions about how worthy I am of love. When we’re single, these two emotions are all-too common. After all, it's very common (and natural) to wonder why we are single, as if singledom necessarily means being unworthy of love.
But what I’ve learned about emotions is that they deserve to be expressed, explored and honored. They are not evil. They simply ARE.
2. Get honest.
During this quiet time, get honest with yourself. Your relationships (or lack thereof) always hold some jewel of knowledge about your unconscious mind. Sometimes our love lives mirror our commitments in other areas as well. Our go-to response is to look externally for reasons why we are in a dating dry spell, but use this time to get really honest with yourself and how you might be contributing to it, consciously or unconsciously.
Here are some questions to ask yourself: Why do I think I’m single? Am I protecting myself from something? Are there parts of my life that I’m avoiding looking at? Am I lacking commitment in other areas of my life?
Check in with your commitment levels, fears and degree of openness and use this break to get really honest with where you are and address anything that’s holding you back.
3. Get clear.
A dating dry spell is the perfect time to get clear on what you want in a partnership. Notice I didn’t say what you want in a partner. What I want you to get clear on is the feeling of your ideal relationship.
Making a list of the qualities you want in a specific person can limit you from opening up to potential partners. For example, if you have "successful" on your list of attributes and you meet someone who might be living comfortably but not as successfully as you’d hoped, you might not give that person the chance you would have if you had focused more on how you want your ideal partnership to feel.
You certainly don’t have to settle. On the contrary, getting clear on how you want your relationship to feel will not allow you to settle for less than that. This might even prevent you from dating someone who doesn’t feel quite right even though he or she meets your list of criteria.
4. Get connected.
Not only can you use this dating dry spell to get more connected and honest with yourself, you can also use it to get more connected to your future partner. Once you have anchored yourself to the thought what you want your partnership to feel like, spend time connecting to that feeling. This will help quench your thirst during your dry spell and help you recognize that feeling faster when you finally experience it.
During this time of love drought, remember this: as I drove up to Ojai, it rained. It always does eventually. It’s hard to remember that when we’re in the middle of the drought. Have faith, beautiful. Your drought is not permanent.