Dating is really hard sometimes. It's amazing that something that brings you so much fun and excitement can also make you feel so flat and disheartened. So why is dating so difficult? Well, dating is about putting yourself out there — and that means being vulnerable.
“Being vulnerable is one of the hardest things we have to do in life,” life coach Kali Rogers tells Bustle. “It's tough to put yourself out there on display for people to view, judge or pick apart.” And, even if your dating life is going well, making yourself vulnerable over and over again can be emotionally exhausting. Your dates don't have to be horrible disasters — enough dates that are just "meh" can leave you feeling rejected and wondering why nobody's interested. I've been there. In fact, so many people have.
So how do you make it better? Well, it's not about settling and jumping into a relationship, it's about understanding that dating an be exhausting, and preparing yourself for that. If you know that dating can be tough, you can keep that in mind and prevent yourself from feeling pushed to your limit. Here's how to making dating a little easier.
Manage Your Expectations
First, make sure that you're not making your own life more difficult by setting expectations that can't be reached. "Erroneous expectations create all the havoc in dating,” certified relationship coach Rosalind Sedacca tells Bustle. “When we approach dating with a bunch of ‘should’ rules, we set ourselves up for disappointment and stress.” Instead, let yourself — and your potential partners — off the hook. Try to take things as they come, rather than riding an emotional rollercoaster of high expectations and disappointment.
Know Your Limits
Dating is tough, but it's way tougher if you let yourself get burnt out. Dating burnout is a real thing — and it can totally wipe you out. “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.”
The best thing to do is, if you feel your frustration growing, take a break from dating. And if you're already feeling burnt out, you should definitely take a break. “A break should be as long as it needs to be for you to fall back in love with yourself or fall in love with yourself for the first time," life coach, Carmen Parks tells Bustle. "You can establish a contentment in life when you love who you are inside and out. Take the time you need to become the partner you want to be and make room for the partner you wish to attract." Once you feel yourself again, you can get back into it — but make sure you do it at a pace that isn't going to wear you out.
Finally, when you do date, date smarter. Don't just fill up your calendar with as many dates as possible or clog your dating app inbox with hundreds of messages. Take a breath and really think about the people you're looking at or communicating with — be mindful about whether they're really someone you want to pursue.
"Mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment, with openness, curiosity and without judgment," Jamie Price, Wellness Expert and Co-Founder of mindfulness app, Stop, Breathe & Think tells Bustle. "When you bring the quality of mindfulness to dating, it can open up a world of relationship possibilities." So make sure that you're not just on autopilot. Put a little more consideration into every interaction and it will keep you from overloading your love life with things that were never going to work out anyway.
Dating around can be exhausting. But if you date smart, know your limits, you can make it easier on yourself. It's supposed to be fun, after all.