How To Date Smarter If You’re Feeling Burnt Out

Originally posted on Bustle 

If you’ve been dating for a while — especially online dating — it’s totally normal to start feeling dating burnout at some point. If you’ve been there, you know how frustrating it can be. “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.”

Once you get to that place, then every date can feel like a total drag — no matter how great the other person is. You might get snippy or lose your interest or feel like dating is like a chore. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, you can do yourself a lot of good by taking a step back. For some, it may mean taking a break from dating completely. “This will help you get a firmer sense of self, and a stronger feeling of self-esteem,” Boykin says. “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.” And for others, it may just mean starting to date smarter.

Rather than getting lost in an endless stream of swiping, stressing, and interview-like first dates, try to put a little more thought into what you’re doing and what your ultimate goal is. It can make the whole process feel more manageable — and make it more efficient. Here’s how to start dating smarter, according to experts.

Be More Mindful

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You may be use to making quick judgements, but try to be a little more mindful when you’re meeting someone IRL or online. “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 instead of just swiping away, really take a moment to look at the person and consider if you would actually want to go out with them if you matched and started chatting. If not, you might just be clogging up your inbox and making yourself overwhelmed, so feel free to swipe left. Every step of the way, from swiping to replying, ask yourself if this is someone you’d actually want to meet up with or just white noise that will ultimately make you feel more stressed.

Change Your Tactic

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If dating apps aren’t working for you, that’s totally fine — try something different. “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.” So if you always use the same app, same line, same first date spot, and none of it is working, then it’s time to mix it up.

Focus On IRL Time

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If you use dating apps, it can feel like all of your time is spent swiping and having the same damn conversation over and over because YES MY WEEKEND WAS NICE THANKS HOW ABOUT YOURS. It can get frustrating. Keep your frustrations to a minimum by trying to move to meeting in real life as quickly as possible (as soon as you feel comfortable, obviously). Putting more focus into meeting someone IRL — whether it’s at the gym, a volunteering or asking your friends to invite their single friends out — may be just what you need. If online dating wasn’t working, you may find you’ll have a better idea of whether or not there’s chemistry after 30 seconds of real life interaction than you did from weeks of messaging.

Change Your Approach To First Dates

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Finally, when you’re actually on your dates, try not to take it too seriously. It can start to get too routine — like a series of boxes you have to check. “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,” dating expert and matchmaker Sarah Patt tells Bustle. “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.” Don’t treat it like a job interview and inject some fun back into the dating process. It doesn’t have to be joyless.

Dating can feel like a rat race, so make sure to take a step back and make some adjustments if you’re feeling burnt out. By dating more mindfully, you’ll be able to bring some of the fun back into dating and drown out that white noise.