What Happened When I Stopped Dating for Four Years

For about four years before I began dating my husband, I didn’t date.

Previously, I hadn’t really thought that much about dating.  I wanted to work on getting my degree and wasn’t thinking about marriage yet. So I dated even though I wasn’t really looking for anything long term.

I dated just for fun, but that ended up not being very fun at all. As I’ve written before, dating just for fun left me feeling used, broken, and like my spirit was at an all-time low. Going through so much pain made me question whether non-committal relationships were the best thing. If one or both partners is only looking for some temporary fun, they may not be concerned about what’s in the best interest of the person they are dating. So I stopped dating until I was ready for something more.   

Being single gave me the opportunity to rethink what kind of life I wanted to lead. I wanted to live fully and deeply and perhaps more slowly. I didn’t want to rush into dating and rush into sex. I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing because it not longer really made sense to me and even felt damaging to me.

As my spirit began to heal, I began to really focus and pursue my own goals. I could fully immerse myself in that good book and really enjoy it without the thought clouds of a man hanging over my head.

To be honest, my grades had really slipped when I was dating. My new focus meant I could not only power through my homework but also experience the intellectual pleasures of my studies. Even though I transferred to a harder and more prestigious college, my grades soared.

More importantly, I began to nurture my spiritual life, which was always important to me even though I neglected it for a few years. I began to feel more whole as my lifestyle began to reflect my values. When I did decide that I was meant for marriage, I knew what I wanted from a relationship.

Eventually I met my husband. Our relationship started as a friendship, and the path to dating was slow. I’m glad that I stopped dating before I met him. I needed to take the time to reflect on who I wanted to be and what I really wanted in life and love.

Those four years paved the way for me to choose a great guy, who is with me not just for a whirlwind romance, but for life—no matter what it may bring.

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