No matter what advice you read, tips you follow, online dating profile habits you adopt or ways you try to change your mindset, sometimes, you’re just plain burned out from dating. You may feel like you’ve tried everything, been on every possible type of date, met potential partners through every avenue you could explore and now, you’re tired. You’re ready for a break or more favorably, a solution that leads to love. And well, the first step, as in with anything that causes you trouble or makes you unhappy, is to accept what’s going on.
“Your friends, family and co-workers have set you up, you have a handful of online dating profile and you have even gone out with the people you’ve met at the bar. The idea of dating has lost its appeal, but you haven’t reached your desired outcome!,” dating expert and matchmaker Sarah Patt tells Bustle. “You are ready for love and it feels like you’ve attempted everything to find it. Dating itself has turned into a chore, and what was once a fun, promising and exciting adventure has somehow turned into a long, grueling process that has resulted in ‘dating burnout.’”
So if you find yourself burned out of whole process, don’t worry. As exhausting and daunting as dating may feel right now, experts say there are many ways to get your head back into the game with a positive outlook and a new excitement for meeting new people. Here’s how to overcome dating burnout before it takes over:
1. Give Yourself A Break. Literally.
If you weren’t spending all of this time swiping online, going out with your friends to pick up possible dates or actually physically meeting someone after work for a drink, what would you be doing? Find something that you’ve always wanted to do — a cooking class, an adult language course, a volunteer activity — and sign up for it, just by yourself.
Don’t do it with the intention of meeting someone, but to do something that fulfills you and takes your attention away from dating. Look for a six-week program that will give you the time you need to not go on any dates, not actively pursue anyone and clear your head.
Licensed love and relationship therapist Esther Boykin says taking a break can help you see the silver lining you’re missing. “This will help you get a firmer sense of self, and a stronger feeling of self-esteem," she tells Bustle. "Be honest with yourself about what you are looking for in a partner, and only look for this when you go back. Be selective and take your time.”
2. Do Something More Casual For A First Date
If you’re always going for a cocktail at a lounge or a beer at a sports bar for your first dates and it’s starting to feel like the same-ole thing over-and-over again, shake it up. And more importantly, Patt says, make it more casual. If you live in a city, suggest going for a walk around town and getting coffee. Or maybe there’s a free concert or art gallery opening that would be more interesting on a date than trying to hear each other in a noisy place. “Keep the pressure low on the first date, both on your date and yourself. You’re still figuring out if you like them or not,” Patt says. “Wear something comfortable that makes you feel good. You don’t need to overdo it on the first date, so relax and stay true to who you are by putting in the amount of effort you would to make any type of good first impression.”
3. Create A Vision Board
After having a string of not-so-awesome dates that don’t turn into second dates or anything of significance, you may have lost sight of what you actually want at the end of your dating road, whether that's a long-term relationship that makes you happy, fulfilled and secure or something else. Take the time to think about all of the things you want out of a future partner and write down, draw or cut/paste from magazine clippings what they may look like. “We have so many expectations and variations of the perfect relationship in our minds, so take a step back and create a mental vision board of what you really are looking for and visual your ideal partner, best date,” Patt says. “Then, allow the universe to answer.”
4. Ditch The Interview
Often times what causes dating burnout can be the fact that every single date feels exactly the same. You go through the same conversations, the same rhythms, the same back-and-forth and you miss that special spark that magnetizes your attraction. “Getting to know someone on a first date shouldn’t feel like you are being interrogated. Don’t roll through a list of questions and requirements within the first half hour of meeting someone new – get to know someone like you would get to know a new friend,” Patt says. “Have a fun conversation and keep things light. The more fun the two of you are having the more you will want to see each other again.”
5. Stop Following The Rules and Follow Your Heart
Even though modern dating is often about instant gratification, it can also feel like you’re mastering the fickle balance between being too eager and not eager enough. Patt says if you feel like you’re playing the game and you’re ready to reach the end already, ditch the rules and stop overanalyzing and dissecting every detail of the dating process.
“It’s nerve-wracking leaving a date and not knowing what is going to happen next. Without fail you begin to overthink every detail of the date and replaying it in your mind over and over again,” she says. “If you liked your date then make a move…ask them out again right away. Showing interest in getting to know them better may be putting yourself out there, but isn’t better to know they are interested in getting to know you too than waiting around hoping. Either way do what you are comfortable with, but one way or another do not allow yourself to sit by the phone waiting.”
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