Finding the right balance when you're dating can be tough. If you want to meet someone, going on a lot of dates can seem like the next logical step. But if you go on too many dates or spend too much time on dating apps, you can definitely burn out.
In fact, Mel Schilling, psychologist and consultant for eHarmony and the dating show Married At First Sight told 9Honey, an Australian women's network, says there is such a thing as overdating — and it could be hurting your dating life.
"I find that sometimes people who are 'overdating' are trying to hide from something," Schilling told 9Honey. "It can be a great distraction from everyday life. So maybe if you notice yourself doing this, take a little time out, reflect, and really think about what it is you want."
There are some people who keep their calendar booked with a different date every day of the week, but end up in very few longer relationships. They're constantly going on first, second, and third dates — but rarely beyond that. It can be absolutely exhausting — and keep you from getting to where you want to be.
Of course, as Schilling points out, dating around can actually be a really helpful tool — when use the right way. As Schilling says, going on dates is a great way to learn what you're interested and to get a better sense of what works for you and what doesn't.
But if you get too invested in the "dating" portion, it actually be keeping you from being in a relationship. Of course, some people aren't dating around to get into a relationship, but if you are, you may want to rethink your approach. She explained that if you're putting too much effort into short-term things — first dates or people that you only see two or three times — you could miss out on potential partners for long -term relationships. Plus, you might just get overwhelmed.
How To Know If You're Overdating
So how do you know if you're playing the field or just burning yourself out? Well, it all comes down to whether you're enjoying the process or not. If you find yourself dating in a chaotic way, trying to fill up your calendar and be busy every minute of the day, that's not a great sign. And if you're going through a process determined to find a partner, like an endless stream of interviews, there's a good chance that you're setting yourself up for burnout.
"If you are are dating three or four different people a week you never have the opportunity to get to know someone and have something blossom," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "You are much better off meeting a few people in a month and given each one more of a chance.
Another sign of overdating is if you feel like you can't focus because you're always looking around the corner for someone better. "Dating apps are in many ways a good things," Hartstein says. "They give people many more choices than they ever would have had by just hoping to meet someone randomly in a bar. However, the overabundance of choices also has a negative side. People start to look like they are 'disposable'. Dating becomes less about meeting someone who you are compatible with and more about waiting to see if there’s someone better out there." It can take all of the fun out of it if you're always wondering if there's a better option out there.
Dating shouldn't be a joyless process, so if you feel like you're treating it as a job it's time to rethink how you're doing things.
What To Do If You've Been Overdating
What can you do if you find yourself overdating? Well, give yourself a break — literally and metaphorically. Take some time off dating to regroup and, when you do get back into it, see if you can go in with a different approach. "We can be better daters when we take the pressure off," clinical hypnotherapist, author and educator Rachel Astarte, who offers transformational coaching for individuals and couples at Healing Arts New York, tells Bustle. "Go on dates as though you are meeting new, interesting people. Forget the goal of finding 'The One.' Look at dating as a way to connect to like-minded people." Don't be so hard on yourself — or so determined to make dating go a certain way.
You can also keep from overdating is you mix things up a bit, rather than doing the same thing over and over. "Diversify your dating approach," Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and author of the relationship blog, You’re Just A Dumbass, tells Bustle. "Don't just rely on the typical dating apps as the only methods of meeting someone. That will create online dating fatigue quickly. To mitigate those feelings of fatigue and frustration, diversifying your approach can actually maximize your efforts to find love. Include in your strategy both online and offline, because love is a complicated process and has no formula. We can't create the exact 'when' and 'where.' We just have to be there."
If you want to find a partner and that's a big priority in your life, that's totally OK. But make sure that you're not overdoing it, because it can actually stop you from being with someone. So if you find yourself overdating just take a step back and cut yourself some slack. Remember, with dating it's about quality, not quantity.