Canon-Bailing May Be The Perfect Self-Care Relationship Move

As 2023 comes to an end, it's time to make predictions about what we can expect in 2024. What does that mean exactly? It means it's time to make dating trend predictions, of course! Another year around the sun means another dating trends cheat sheet to learn, possibly fear, and maybe even embrace if you think it fits into your dating style. 

Among the dating trends that will be coming our way is "canon-bailing," according to research by the dating app Plenty of Fish. Canon-bailing is essentially cultivating your identity, personality, and all that stuff that makes you who you are, but doing so outside of a relationship. It's about putting your needs and wants first, completely focusing on numero uno. (That's you.)

Unlike some dating trends (read: a lot) that tend to be negative, this is a really positive one because it involves doing what it takes to be the best you not just for you, but any partner you may have now or in the future. As Plenty of Fish found, 32% of singles know someone who just up and canon-bailed to pursue their own interests in the name of claiming their identity. In case you need another great and mindful way to practice self-care in a relationship, canon-bailing is here and ready to be added to that ongoing self-care list.

How canon-bailing can benefit your relationship

Although cliché, the fact is that we need to love ourselves before we can love someone else. Loving ourselves means knowing ourselves, nurturing ourselves, and understanding just how valuable we are. It takes courage to fall in love, even if you haven't been burned before, and that courage comes from being secure in who you are and what you want — traits and lessons that come with canon-bailing. 

"To focus on yourself instead of others means to do what I call 'choosing you.' It means giving yourself the gift of time, drawing firm boundaries around time spent on yourself and with yourself," licensed therapist Lair Torrent, LMFT told MindBodyGreen. As Torrent explained, space and time alone allow for growth and protect us from morphing into our partners. "People who spend time on themselves tend to be happier and more grounded in who they are and, consequently, tend to be better, more attentive partners," she says. When two whole people who have done the work necessary to be their true, authentic selves come together, they're far less likely to lose their identity as the relationship evolves. That's the result of canon-bailing. 

How to canon-bail effectively

Canon-bailing doesn't necessarily have to involve doing everything alone, because one doesn't have to be alone to cultivate oneself. It just means having the ability to know who and what you are outside of a romantic relationship. It's about not losing yourself to someone else or putting energy into things that don't contribute to making you a better version of yourself. You know you can function and flourish, strive and succeed, and create your own happiness without constantly looking toward a partner to do it for you. 

"Successful, healthy relationships allow for both people to form a bond which lets them not only grow together but also to grow independently as people. It's essential to have your own sense of autonomy while feeling you can depend on each other," relationship etiquette expert Mara Opperman told Bustle. "Spend your time thinking about what is important in your life aside from your relationship. Whatever you focus on will help remind you that there are other things in life aside from your SO. You need to be happy with or without your partner."

Although it may not officially be 2024 yet, you can still get your canon-bailing on now. There is, after all, no time like the present.