Well Being

The Manbbatical: One Woman’s Year Without Sex, Dating, Or Even Flirting

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Sometimes, I flirt and I don't even realize it. I'll be sitting at the long-bar, talking to a friend, or even on Twitter, and suddenly I'll catch myself in a flirt. Whether I do it to relieve some tension, to have some lighthearted convo, or because I find the person attractive, it is rather hard to abstain from flirting on a daily basis. Claire Brosseau, 34, a Toronto-based comedian, found that her obsession with flirting, sex, and men was drawing the focus away from her goals in life, and actually increasing her sadness, rather than her happiness. So what's a gal with a funny streak and a blog to do? Brosseau decided to go on a one-year “Manbbatical,” as she called it, in order to get her life, her priorities, and her sanity back on track. The rules were simple: no sex, no kissing, no texts, no dates, no hand-holding, no suggestive tweets (I would have broken that rule several times over), no getting smashed around handsome fellas, and she had to keep this up for 365 days. The girl's got gumption!

She blogged about her journey, which just ended last week, and took the time to answer some questions about the reasons behind her “manbbatical,” how it affected the direction of her life, and what learned about herself.

What was the impetus behind your manbbatical? Did you have a heartbreak? Or did you find your job/life was suffering from obsession with men?

Heartbreak doesn’t begin to describe it! I was constantly heartbroken, from choosing the wrong kind of man (for me), to making bad decisions with my relationships. I was completely focused on men, and letting all of my priorities fall by the wayside. It struck me like a bolt of lightening one night- I HAD to start focusing on myself, or I would never find happiness. It had little to do with the men in my life, and everything to do about me. It wasn’t their fault- it was mine. Not that I want to crucify myself over it, but I needed to take responsibility.

What were some of the difficulties you encountered during the year?

It was much more difficult in the first few months, as I am very flirty by nature. As the project wore on, I realized how nice it could be to simply speak to people without seeing them as potential lovers, and just as people. I was able to really listen, and develop relationships in a whole new way. I’m not much of a goer-outer to begin with, as I work most weekends telling jokes around the country, so my social life really didn’t change in that aspect. I hate FB chat because I have too many random creeps as friends! I wasn’t innocent with the flirting rule, but I really tried my best, and I’ve really changed as far as my flirtatious behavior goes.

Did you meet someone during the year that you wanted to pursue but couldn’t?

I fell in love pretty hard-core at the end of October with a mutual friend of my best friend. Between him living in LA, and me being unable to peruse anything, it was doomed from the start. There were several red flags I chose to ignore and shouldn’t have. After a while I realized I was indulging in all of the bad habits I had been trying to escape throughout this year. He lost interest in me, and the whole thing fell apart. It’s really for the best- it was what taught me the most within the confines of this project- but it hurt my heart. A lot.

How did your friends and family react to it?

My family has always been incredibly supportive with all of my crazy endeavors. Because the project became bigger than any of us expected, they are thrilled. Mostly, they’re happy that I’M happy. I think they were as frustrated with me as I was with myself that I wasn’t concentrating on my career or my health as much as I cared about dating. They are thrilled that I’ve turned things around.

Do you feel happier having done this?
Absolutely! I’ve learned and accomplished SO much. In the past year I’ve lost over 30lbs, did my first gala/televised comedy special for a major comedy festival, I got management in the US, started headlining as a comic, and I feel more driven and determined than ever. It proved to me that I can do anything, if I REALLY want to. I know for some, one year going sexless is no big deal- but it was for me, and I was able to turn my life around.

What did you learn about yourself?
I grew a thicker skin. Apparently a woman taking a year off from dating men offends many people. Every time I do press about it, people respond sharply, and often meanly. People have called me a slut, a bimbo, useless, etc… I used to get really hurt and upset, but I honestly don’t care about them anymore. I have awesome, faithful readers & bottom line- I’m so happy with what I did!

You can read Claire Brosseau's Manbbatical blog at http://www.clairebrosseau.com/ and you can follow her on Twitter at @ClaireBrosseau

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