If you're single, and have been for quite some time, you likely are starting to get bored with dating. It's all too exhausting: Swipe right, swipe left. Happy hour drinks after work, coffee date on Sunday. Third date should-we-have-sex tango, why-aren't-they-texting-me-back anxious group message discussion with your friends. Having another round on a Thursday, trying to decide if you can rally on a Sunday for a second-date brunch.
While dating can be a very exciting period where you’re not only meeting new people and learning new things about what you want and what you can’t stand, it can also be exhausting to continuously go on a string of bad, or not-so-bad dates without much success. There is no magical way to make dating an always-positive experience (sadly), there are some pretty clear signs that you’ve burnt yourself out of the whole process.
“Dating burnout is a lot like job burnout. What was once fun and exhilarating has become exhausting, frustrating, and overwhelming,” Esther Boykin, licensed love and relationship therapist, tells Bustle. “Over the course of normal dating, people will experience moments of frustration or exhaustion but when those feelings become the primary response to even the idea of a date, burnout has definitely set in.”
When you think about opening up a dating app and your heart races and your stomach turns — and not in the falling in love way but the, I had too much wine way — it’s time to take a break from dating. But even if your fatigue isn’t quite that advanced, here are some other warning signs that you’re headed toward a burnout, stat:
1. Your Last Four Dates Were Just Bad. Plain Bad.
Maybe he showed up drunk on the first date (hey, it’s happened to me). Or she was constantly checking her phone and didn’t have anything to add to the conversation. Whatever it was that left a bad taste in your mouth, Boykin says that a streak of dates that weren’t even the least bit enjoyable can make it tough for you to muster up the courage — or desire — to go on another one.
2. You Think There's Just Not Anyone Out There For You
Though experts recommend taking a break from dating when you’re getting totally fed up with it, if you genuinely just want to throw in the towel and call it a day, you’re burned out. “If you decide after many sour experiences that there is no point in continuing to try and that no one is out there for you, you’re headed toward a breakdown,” Boykin says.
This is the time to really get real on what you want and reconsider your defeatist attitude: "After years of dating and having casual flings and relationships that don’t work out, you’re burnt out and over it. It’s easier to be alone and call off dating for good, but is that really what you want?," says dating expert and matchmaker Sarah Patt. "Just because it can be emotionally tolling doesn’t mean you should call it quits, you really never know where you might find your true love if you keep the possibilities open."
3. You’re Staying Home Instead Of Seeing Your Friends
Even if you don’t have dates planned for the weekend, staying home instead of going out with your friends can be a sign that you’ve had enough. “Spending more time alone at home, and less with other people is a clear indication that you’re extremely frustrated by dating,” Boykin notes. If you were always someone who enjoyed certain activities — dancing, trying new foods, taking classes — and you find yourself just wanting to be at home, it’s a sign that your hopelessness with dating has spread to other parts of your life, too."
4. You’re Jealous Of Your Friends In Relationships
Do you have a friend who, in your eyes, has the very best partner in the whole world and doesn’t appreciate what they have? Or, do you not respond to your friend when they’re telling you about their wedding planning or detailing something sweet their boyfriend or girlfriend did? Jealousy can pick apart friendships if you let it.
If you’re separating yourself from your friends in relationships, it’s time to tame your envy: “This comes from your own struggle with resentment that you have been unable to find someone at this time,” Boykin says. What becomes even more dangerous is if you start to cause trouble with your coupled-up friends: “If you are so unhappy you may unconsciously want others around you to be unhappy and single along with you,” Boykin says. “This is when you have hit a point where you have become self-destructive and risk ruining friendships.”
5. Your Mom Is More Excited About Your Dates Than You Are
If your friends, your dog, your next door neighbor, your co-workers, and your journal are way more into the whole dating thing than you are, it’s a big sign you need a break. Dating expert and matchmaker, Sarah Patt, tells Bustle this means you’ve lost the magic that can come with dating or you’re just plain tired of going on dates. Whatever the reason though, don’t give your family or friends a hard time for trying to get your spirits up. (Even if you roll your eyes in private.)
6. You Feel Like You’d Really Just Date Anyone At This Point
If you’ve reached the point of desperation where you frankly, just want someone — anyone! — to call your own, Patt says it’s dangerous territory because you’re losing your standards and values in a relationship. This may have the opposite effect and actually turn people off: “If you are going on three or four first dates a week and letting each one know you are ready for a relationship, you’re in trouble,” Patt says. “It can be easy to fall into this cycle, but in the long run, no one winds up happy. Make sure you give off the right first impression that you are looking to meet someone new but they have to earn your respect and admiration, too.”
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