How To Avoid Dating Burn Out

Terri asks:

I find myself having "dating fatigue" and just wondering how you deal with it? I've been actively using dating apps like Tinder and Bumble for a little over a year with a handful of short-term relationships within that time. I haven't gone on an obscene amount of first dates, most have lead to something lasting anywhere from 1-2 months. I can't seem to get past the 2-month mark. To be honest, I have found myself feeling a bit anxious during those first couple of months...maybe these guys can sense it, I don't know. I try not to let on about any insecurities I may be feeling and just enjoy the moment.

I'm not ready to give up on dating because I would ultimately like to meet someone to build something long-term with. Guess I'm just in a bit of a dating funk mentally right now and wondering if the same happens to you (and others)?

What you're experiencing isn't just common, it's quickly becoming the norm. In fact, making it two months is a feat. For many singles, it's become near-impossible to transition from an online match to an offline date, let alone find a relationship. Between an unprecedented number of ways to meet people without ever leaving your sofa and a distorted perception of our options, the Fear Of Missing Out is real. While messaging with one Tinder match, many singles are still swiping left and right, curious to see who else is out there. It's too tempting not to. The profiles are right there, just a finger flick away. We're too easily distracted, our attention spans growing shorter and shorter with the creation of every new app.

The trick to successful online dating doesn't involve writing a stellar profile or posting eye-catching photos. Those things help, of course, but they are not the thing that will get you that relationship you seek. The key to reaching that goal is conserving your energy and protecting your self-esteem. That means not internalizing rejection; avoiding other's negativity towards online dating; and remembering it only takes one match to turn everything around. You're going to want to uninstall all the apps and commit to a life of celibacy but don't. Instead, when you're feeling a little bruised, go do something - anything - that makes you feel good. Take a run, cuddle with your dog or cat, listen to a podcast you like (not about dating). Engage in an activity that will distract you. I suggest this because the absolute worst thing you can do is give the doubt and inner-criticism more attention than they deserve. The more often you revisit the negativity, the more encoded in your brain that thinking will become until just the thought of opening up a dating app triggers anxiety.

I've mentioned my love of cheesey rom-com/Hallmark channel-type movies before. Sure, the plots are interchangeable and pedestrian, but they almost always involve the lead character meeting someone special out of nowhere or when they least expect it. Because that can happen. It really can, as long as you keep putting yourself out there. When I would lament to my father that I didn't think I'd ever find anyone, he used to say, "He's out there. He just hasn't found you yet." That's why I'm not an advocate of dating breaks. They make it too tempting to remain shut down and isolated. That person you hope to meet can't find you if you're hiding.

Everything you experience - the lack of matches, the ghosting, not getting responses to emails when you first contact a match, the herculean task it's become to meet offline - is part of the overall process. As tough as it sounds, you have to learn to shrug this stuff off and not dwell on it. When you begin to feel overwhelmed by it all, close the app, take a breath and say, "It's not me."

Keep saying that until you believe it. Because it's not. Truly, it isn't.


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