The wisdom of taking a break from dating

Is this another one of those books?

I’m working on a profile of Stephen Arterburn, a Christian counselor who has written a number of relationship books, including the recent Is This The One? Simple Dates for Finding the Love of Your Life.

Fatigue for consuming dating and relationship books is starting to set in, frankly, but I think it’s because I feel wounded by a lot of the dumb media and books that I’ve consumed about relationships. I’m learning to guard my heart against things that don’t serve me, which includes a lot of these books.

The refreshing thing about Arterburn’s approach is that whether you’re single and content or you really want to find the love of your life, it just hasn’t happened yet, his approach seems wise. The other thing I realized reading the book is that I haven’t seen that many books from a male perspective that aren’t douchey. This is one of a handful of titles that are starting to emerge that isn’t demeaning or judgmental under the guise of trying to help its audience.

What I love about Arterburn’s book is that he writes with empathy and humor about taking a break from dating after a brutal divorce. By taking a break, his friends encouraged him to meet as many people as possible, and to do everything from hang out with a lovely friend at the Opera to having a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Without knowing it, I have been doing exactly some of the things he talks about in his book – just getting out and about, meeting people, volunteering, running or walking around the lake in Austin with my dog, making an effort to work at coffee shops that I frequent and getting up off of my couch more. This is good even if you’re not looking to date someone, he noted, because it will make your life more fulfilling as a single person. I concur.

I was just telling a friend this weekend that there are enough messages and voices in the world who will try to scare you or pressure you without you adding to the noise. Part of reconnecting with my community in real life and online has been about learning how to exercise self-care, but also practicing showing up for people without wondering if or when I might meet “The One.” It’s been a nice journey.

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