Dating Coach Ashley Kelsch on Taking 90-Day Break from Romance
“I regret even putting this in writing, which is precisely why I’m doing it”
By Ashley Kelsch
Ashley Kelsch is Austin’s top certified, professional dating and relationship coach and former owner of Teddies for Betty’s, the lingerie boutique on 2nd Street that she ran for a decade. She offers one-on-one life-coaching programs to help clients acknowledge and understand limiting beliefs, to set boundaries and to learn how to change mindsets so they can get what they want in their romantic lives and feel empowered. Ashley helps men and women of all ages, single and married. She has a weekly podcast called Modern Renegades, and you can follow her on Instagram @AshleyMKelsch.
Expect the unexpected, dear readers. I have decided to hit pause for 90 days on any interaction with men that might be or could be anything remotely close to attraction, flirtation, romantic connection or the like. But wait, there’s more: I’m taking it a step further with 90 days of celibacy.
I regret even putting this in writing, which is precisely why I’m doing it.
In my adult life, I’ve always had at least something going on when it comes dating. But even when I’m not being sexual, my needs are never not met. Desire, sexual well-being, orgasms, what have you – these have been a part of my life for a very, very long time.
At the same time, I’ve gotten my life really tidy when it comes to romantic relationships. I don’t wander into Whole Foods for eggs and wonder if this the day that I find The One on aisle six.
I’m a far cry from this headspace, but that doesn’t mean the thoughts don’t pop up. Listen, the social conditioning and subliminal messaging runs pretty deep in this department. Even when we are happy and content to be self-partnered, there is a part of the brain that still offers those thoughts. Companionship is how humans continue to evolve. We are designed to seek others and procreate. It’s in our nature. If you’re not mindful of it, it can be incredibly consuming.
When is the last time you went out with your friends and you didn’t talk about dating? When is the last time you didn’t have someone in your life? It tends to be a major part of the conversation.
As for orgasms? I think of them like lunch; you can’t skip lunch today and eat twice tomorrow to make up for it. This could be difficult…
But my love life has never been better. My interactions with men and dating have dialed way down over the years as I’ve taken a more intuitive, mindful approach. It’s not a priority in my life. Which is why it’s a good time to take a break. I’m able to give it a good goodbye.
Unlike my feeble attempt in 2018 after an explosive break up where I vowed to not live a life that was always about a man. I declared a “mens-cleanse,” which only lasted six days. That’s exactly how many days I made it on The Whole30, until I found myself toasting sourdough bread and licking the butter and cherry jam off the knife at 2 a.m. My kids saw the plate in my room early that morning before school and knew what had happened. I can still remember the shame I felt hearing them say, “Mom, I thought you couldn’t eat bread on the Whole30.”
A few things have come up that inspired the idea of taking a break for 90 days:
1. Each week, I listen to clients talk about wanting an “All about me April” or “No Man May.” Although I can understand what it might be like to abstain and I can guide them on ways to dial it down, I can’t speak from experience. I want to know what it’s like to be “all about Ashley” when companionship and sex aren’t part of the environment. What kind of mind drama will come up? Will I crave touch? Miss the texts? Want to hear his voice? Will I physically need in a way my body hasn’t experienced before? Will I explode?
2. Napoleon Hill writes about sexual energy in Think and Grow Rich, and says that sex can bring us into a “being state of mind” and that it’s the most powerful desire. If you can harness this energy and channel it to creative areas of your life, he adds, you will achieve genius status. I find this to be intriguing.
3. And most compelling: This summer is the last one before my youngest moves to New York City for college. I have 90 days to soak up being a mom, doing all the things we love to do in Austin and being present for them before they move. I really don’t want anything or anyone distracting me from our time together.
And so, here I am. I’m putting it in writing and making it public for massive accountability. I do have one slight obstacle to figure out before June 1st … I’ve had the sweetest, most thoughtful companion in my life the last nine months. Does this mean we don’t talk at all for 90 days? Can I mindfully move him into the friend zone? More to come on this front…