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The past month has been a roller coaster of emotions. While I can honestly say I have enjoyed this much-needed break from dating, I've also found myself still thinking about the last guy I was involved with. So much so, that I still find myself getting excited whenever he reaches out.

Sometimes I'll casually respond and convince myself it's NBD, other times I'll ignore him, but most times I still hope that one day the funny, jokey texts would suddenly turn serious. Like instead of asking me to come over on a random Thursday night he has off, that he'd say, "Hey Jo, I've missed you. Let's go grab brunch Sunday in the city." And yet every time my phone vibrates and his name appears on the screen, I get everything BUT that. And it's made me realize, this is exactly why I've needed this dating cleanse in the first place.

I don't judge him, though, regardless of his intentions. I've always recognized that's where he is in his life and it's also not his fault that I developed feelings from what many would have considered a casual relationship or an extended fling. During my dating sabbatical I did some soul searching and figured out why I've refused to put myself out there again: because I've been terrified of finding myself in another situation like this again.

Related From Vivala: Why I'm Taking a Dating Sabbatical

Listen, he's a great guy. I honestly have nothing but good things to say about him. And I think one of the reasons why I liked him, is because behind our inside jokes, the great sex, and his obvious distance, I could still see who he really was. He's a warm, gentle, passionate person who goes into this entirely new world when he talks about his writing and whose face lights up whenever he mentions his family. I see a man who's capable of loving fully and completely but just isn't ready to do that again and that's okay.

The problem was that for the longest time I judged myself for it. I interpreted that distance to be about me. I took my own trauma from my previous relationship and allowed myself to believe that the lack of progress in our relationship had less to do with him "not being ready" and more to do with me "not being enough" for someone.

Related From Vivala: My Dating Detox Is Teaching Me Self-Love

After taking myself out on enough dates and really getting to know myself on a much deeper level, I can happily say that I've finally let go of those thoughts and fears. I'm no longer afraid to put myself out there or use my career as an excuse to hide from dating — just because the last situation didn't turn out the way I wanted. I know now that I am absolutely capable of having a real and fulfilling relationship with someone. I can love someone fully and completely without running away every time shit gets real.

This dating sabbatical was just what I needed to fully heal. Heck, next time I write this column I might have opened an account on Tinder — you know, if I haven't already. So stayed tuned! As for the last guy, I thank him for the valuable lesson and send him nothing but love and light.