I recently heard a great analogy (for guys, at least): dating is like shaving. See, when you start it's super exciting, because of what it means (as sign of manhood/adulthood) and because of the newness. After a couple months or so (no, I don't mean dating the same person for two months, I mean dating bunches of people), it starts to become a chore. Pretty soon after it's a downright pain.
At least the date was fun. Taking time away helped in that being on the date felt refreshing rather than jaded. Kind of like how guys often have fun shaving after the three weeks or the Omer, making all kinds of designs, patterns and crazy beards before going baby-faced again.
During my long "break," in random moments when I had some time to breathe, I reflected on my dating experiences, what I enjoy and appreciate and what I really don't like.
I found that I enjoy having time and space for myself, that I like to be more laid back and relaxed about dating, and that formality, pressure and stress just get in the way of being myself and actually experiencing the other person. I found that when I feel the dating is pressured or formal I become a lot more self-conscious and focus on myself instead of getting to know the woman. I become preoccupied with protocol and all of these things rather than just spending time swapping stories, building rapport and flirting.
As much as I've learned about myself through dating, the things I like and don't like about it, I wonder about my on-again-off-again relationship with it. I spent some time dating intensely when I started, and then found I had to back off quite a bit. Perhaps finding a balance, something more laid back with less pressure to keep going out with women back-to-back may be more ideal for me.
Either way, though I love to get out there and meet people, I'm finding my heart isn't always into it. I have to balance listening to my heart with persevering through the chore and pain of