One thing I definitely don't miss about being single is that endless dates with zero results can seem to drag on and on and on. Sometimes, you just have to accept that it'll take a while before you meet the right person. But eventually, getting out of a dating rut is possible. And there are some concrete ways you can speed up that process.
First, know you're not alone if you rarely get responses to your online dating messages, rarely get dates out of the few conversations that do happen, rarely get second or third dates once you've been on a first one, or get ghosted just when you think things are starting to go your way. Whether you blame it on Mercury retrograde, lopsided gender ratios, or the dating apocalypse, it's not you.
Obviously, though, that doesn't make it fun. Going on date after date that doesn't go anywhere can get really tiring. Maybe it's even time for a break. "Maybe you started dating with one goal or purpose in mind but when you take a break you realize that some things have changed," life coach, Carmen Parks tells Bustle. "For example, life perspectives, life goals, career goals etc. may have changed. Taking a break gives you time to reevaluate and determine what you really want now... which could be different than what you thought you wanted one, two or five even years ago.”
So, here are some ways to end this exhausting rut, making dating fun again, and finally get your love life back on track.
1Narrow Your Criteria
It might sound contradictory, but being picky could actually expand your options, says Rhonda Milrad, founder and chief relationship advisor of Relationup. You'll be less burnt out from directionless conversations and waste less time with people you see no future with.
2Take A Break
Taking a hiatus from dating will help you return with a new perspective and more energy. Milrad recommends three months free of dating apps, texts to love interests, and everything else that goes along with the dating game.
3Forget About The Goal
Go into your dates aiming to have fun rather than to find a partner, and you're less likely to end up disappointed or frustrated, says Milrad. Trying to find "the one," she says, "puts too much pressure on the dating process and is mentally exhausting for you."
Milrad recommends taking time to recharge by exercising, meditating, having a spa day, or whatever helps you put the focus totally on yourself, at least temporarily.
5Set A Quota
Psychologist Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman, author of Dating from the Inside Out, suggests setting a goal for the number of messages you send on a date site per day or the number of dates you go on per week. "Dating is a numbers game, so you need to get your target audience in front of you."
6Give People You're Iffy About A Chance
That person who didn't seem all that great a fit for you at first could surprise you down the line, says Sherman, so consider going on a second date even if the first one was lackluster. You just might find that what you wanted was there all along.
7Make A Vision Board
Collect magazine cutouts, draw pictures, or write words that represent what you want out of a relationship, Sherman advises. It can be something concrete, like someone who shares an interest of yours, or something abstract that captures the feeling you want when you're together.
Mentally remind yourself of what makes you great, or even write it down, says Sherman. That way, you'll be less likely to take your lack of luck personally, your standards will stay high, and your confidence will attract the right people.
Pretty much everyone who's been on the dating market has been there, so don't let a dating rut get your confidence down — you'll get back on track soon enough.