Whether you’ve been going on dates for one month or one year, chances are that you’ve encountered a mix of feelings along the way, from excitement and giddiness to frustration or sadness. Let’s face it: Dating is an emotional journey!
After dating for a while, you might become tired or experience what is known as dating fatigue. And that’s quite normal. If you think about all of the societal pressures, spoken and unspoken, and combine that with humans’ constant search for companionship, it makes sense that dating can become, well, exhausting.
We’re here to unpack dating fatigue, including what the signs are, why it might be happening to you, and how to deal with it. But most of all, we’re here to tell you that, yes, it’s okay to take a break.
What are the signs of dating fatigue?
Are you experiencing indifference, hopelessness, or cynicism about dating? When you think about going on a date with someone, do you feel unmotivated? When you do go on a date, are you bored or “checked out”?
These are all symptoms of dating fatigue, and they can last anywhere from a couple of days to months or even years. The good news is that the length of your symptoms is influenced by how you deal with dating fatigue (don’t worry; we’ll cover tips later).
Why does dating feel so draining?
There are so many things that can lead to dating fatigue, and we’ll cover a few of the common culprits here.
- Dating apps. While dating apps have broadened a person’s pool of potential mates, the downside is choice paralysis. If you’re on dating apps, it’s likely that you’re using a few at a time or dating multiple people at once. The sheer number of options can lead to too much choice and thinking that someone else might be out there. You might continue to go on date after date and experience burnout and exhaustion. Enter: dating app fatigue.
- Societal pressures. It’s no secret that people are pressured to settle down by a certain age–and this societal pressure has even more of an impact on women. This influences familial expectations (we’re looking at you, parents) and even brand messaging from companies. People who are dating are constantly bombarded with pressures to not only find true love but to find it by a certain age, leading to higher expectations and greater letdowns.
- Post-pandemic dating fatigue. The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone differently, including singles. People who were dating prior to 2020 were suddenly forced back into their homes, where dating only took place virtually. After a solitary couple of years, people might be rushing back into dating and relationships to “make up for lost time.” This can lead to symptoms of exhaustion.
Tips for dealing with dating fatigue
Now you’re probably wondering, “How do I stop dating fatigue?” Thankfully, there are ways to deal with this common situation that can help you get back to your normal self and start enjoying dating again.
Understand the “why”
We discussed some reasons why dating is so draining earlier because it’s important to get to the root cause of your dating fatigue.
Are you exhausted by going on too many dates? Maybe cut back to only one date per week and see how you feel. Are you being told by others that you need to settle down or have a family by a certain age? Perhaps you’re feeling hopeless because you haven’t felt chemistry with someone in a while. Whatever is contributing to your dating fatigue feels, address it so that you can start to move on.
Unpack your baggage
Once you’ve figured out why you’re experiencing dating fatigue, it’s time to unpack the baggage. In other words, get to the crux of the matter. For example, if you’ve been feeling pressure from your family for years to find “the one,” talk to them and explain how you feel so that they touch the breaks on the triggering topic.
If you’ve been internalizing rejections, practice positive self-talk and focus on loving yourself and your unique qualities. If you’ve set too high of expectations, like dating-defined timelines, check in with yourself and give yourself more flexibility in the dating journey.
All of these actions to unpack your emotions and responses to dating will help you become a better “you.”
This might sound cheesy, but trust us on this one. Take a break from dating other people–even if it’s just a week or two–and treat yourself to the things you love to do. This is not only good for your mental health, but it also sets the stage for potentially meeting people doing the things that bring you happiness. Then, when you begin dating again, you’ve reminded yourself of what makes you feel grounded.
Know your deal breakers
While it’s beneficial to be open-minded and realize that no person will be a 100% fit for your perfect mate, don’t give up on your deal breakers. You might be experiencing online dating fatigue because you’re seeing people that already don’t meet your need-to-have criteria.
Whether it’s religion, a lifestyle feature, or location, make sure that you’re screening (whether online or in early conversations) for non-negotiables before you invest time and effort into going on a date or seeing someone for an extended period of time. For example, dating as a strong woman will likely mean being up front about your wants and needs for a potential partner. If the other person doesn’t complement those desires, it might be best to move on.
Focus on the positives of dating
Leave every date or relationship thinking about the upsides and growth opportunities. Try not to view a rejection or a ho-hum date as a failure on your part. Instead, look at it like a learning experience that will better prepare you for the next person that you see romantically. Is there anything that you’d do differently next time?
Remind yourself that you took a risk, you met someone new, and, in this case, it just didn’t work out. Remember: Not all dates will have the same trajectory.
Get more tips about moving on from an ex.
Go on dates when it works for you
Just because you want to find someone that could be your match doesn’t mean that you need to drop everything to fit the date into your schedule. One way to combat dating fatigue is to plan dates for times when you’re not too busy or tired. Fitting a date into a busy work week can be a recipe for disaster (you’re tired and probably preoccupied thinking about everything else you need to do). Instead, push it to a weekend morning or another less stressful day to set you both up for success.
Are there benefits of taking a break?
Yes! Online dating is extremely helpful when it comes to meeting new people and finding a partner. But it’s important to take time for yourself and invest in other parts of your life. If you’re feeling dating fatigue, it’s okay to have a breather. Taking a break from dating gives you time to focus on other activities and people that are important to you. Invest in friendships, sign up for that month-long exercise bootcamp, or go on a trip with your family.
Then, when you get back into the dating game, you’ll hopefully feel more refreshed.