3 Reasons Dating Burnout Is Actually A Good Thing, Because It Can Make You Feel More Like Yourself
After 10 days of heavy antibiotics (thanks to an impromptu trip the ER), when my friends suggested margaritas on a Friday night, I happily obliged. We went through our usual catching-up work — craziness, what exercise class we’re planning to go to, the awesome event we should all sign-up for — and then we turned to the most entertaining topic: dating. The two ladies I happened to be snacking guac and downing tequila flights with that evening were single like me. And though we’re all at varying levels of singleness, we all settled on one little fact: it’s hard. But while they stayed mostly optimistic about it and at least somewhat excited about the prospect of new dates (that could hopefully, turn into more than happy hour partners) — I was on an entirely opposite end of the spectrum. I'm tired of dating.
I didn’t really notice how jaded I’d become until my friend pointed it out. Our second stop was a bottle of rose outside (because that’s a smart decision after margs, not), where I decided to show them the ‘ridiculous’ messaging conversation I was having with someone on Hinge. It went a little something like this:
“Could you believe that he asked me out without basically asking me anything? He’s a terrible communicator and frankly, I’m not sure how I’d stomach one date with him,” I said.
“Um, Lindsay. You said you didn’t want to go out with him until you knew more about him, so he asked you what you wanted to know…” my friend questioned, confused.
“I guess. But he was rude about it. And not even, like, proper grammar or anything. He’s not making an effort,” I replied.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but, I think you sound very angry about dating. Maybe it’s time for a break?” she smiled, pouring more rose for me.
As much as I hated to hear it — she couldn’t have hit the nail on the head harder: I am angry. I’m also upset, frustrated, cranky, annoyed, super judgemental, super sensitive and super against any sort of anything that resembles a date of any kind. And maybe the sadder truth is that I have no idea how I ended up here, when generally speaking, I’m an optimistic person.
But for the sake of my own sanity and to not waste any more of my (or dudes’) time, I’ve deleted all apps, taken one hell of a deep breath and I’ve tried to see what I can learn from being this burnt out from dating. I’m not sure quite yet, but here’s what I know so far:
It Means You Notice Your Patterns
You ever have that Hump Day crazy feeling about dating? Since I’ve been single for several years, I have this fear (irrational or not, I can’t decide) that I’ll never meet someone I’ll actually connect with. On the flip side, apart from finding a partner, I’m pretty damn happy. But when Wednesday rolls around and I think of the things I’ve done: rocked it in the office, worked out, cooked dinners, grabbed drinks with friends, taken my dog on long walks — and then I remember the other thing I should be doing — dating — I get nervous. Then I frantically swipe online until someone somewhat piques my interest and I go out with him.
It should be a no-brainer that those dates aren’t great — I didn’t screen them, didn’t get to know then, didn’t find myself aching to meet them, but rather, just needed to check a box so I felt like I wasn’t giving up on the dating game. It’s a nasty little pattern that’s been detrimental to the whole process of scoring a loving relationship, and probably a huge reason why I’m single.
By putting a pause on this behavior, I’m able to see it clearly and realize that maybe, just maybe, I need to give less attention the last-minute date jitters, and more effort into meeting men I actually want to connect with.
It Means I Have The Chance To Focus On Me
I’m in the process of redecorating my apartment, and because I’m approaching my late 20s, I decided I wanted to invest more in things I like, instead of things that are cheap. In an odd twist of priorities, I’ve felt a satisfaction in looking through rug samples, finding the perfect gold pillow cover and creating the writing nook I’ve always dreamed of.
In fact, I spent this past Saturday making the trek to look at furniture with my roommate, then putting it together, then measuring my windows for new curtains. We might have split a bottle of vino, but we mostly relished in the fact that we had a night in for ourselves. I’ll admit I had a little bit of FOMO — what if my future husband is lurking at that bar I usually go to on Saturday night and the one time I decide not to go, he’s there?! —but I reminded myself that sometimes, you need to center your energy on what makes you happy…
...even if it’s an oversized white chair to write this article in.
It's Making Me Feel More Like Myself
The worst part about feeling exhausted by dating is that I don’t feel like the hopeful, optimistic person that I really am. Being continuously frustrated, disappointed and let down by dates that never turn into anything, men that are far from what you want and others that just aren’t interested in you, can wear and tear on your self-confidence.
It can also make you feel like dating is this never-ending road that doesn’t lead to what you ultimately want — a loving relationship that lasts, complete with a shared Netflix queue and morning sex.
When I was in the depths of the wheel of un-fortune, I started to get really down about myself: am I not attractive? Am I took picky? Is there something I’m missing that other women have? What is wrong with me?
By excusing myself from the race — even for just a few weeks or months — I’m starting to come back to terms with not only what and who I want, but I’m remembering all of the things I have to offer someone.
Do I still feel burnt out? Yep. Am I interested in going on a date anytime soon? Nah, not at all. But I will say — I’m happier. And when I do put myself out there again, one day when I’m ready, I bet I’ll be much better company. Plus, who knows? Maybe I’ll get that hope back that reassured me that sure, there’s someone (or many someones) out there for everyone. Someone who this burnt-out feeling is worth having to find. Maybe.
Until then, I’ll be busy buying a rug on Wayfair and meeting my friends for rooftop drinks, and dutifully ignoring the men around me.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.
Images: paultarasenko/Fotolia; Giphy