Some times online dating sites and apps can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. The highs of matching with someone new and going on exciting first dates are often counterbalanced by the lows of bad dates, ghosting, and the slog of endless swiping.
Having worked with numerous clients as a matchmaker, I've seen firsthand how easy it is to get burnt out and overwhelmed after prolonged use of dating apps. However, with the right mindset and strategies, you can refresh your perspective and find balance in your search for love.
» Learn more about the swipe left/right mentality and how it affects modern dating.
What Is Dating Burnout?
Dating burnout refers to the fatigue, cynicism, and disenchantment that can develop after investing significant time and effort into online dating without much success. Common symptoms include:
- feeling disengaged during conversations
- mindlessly swiping without being selective
- dreading going on another first date
Understandably, repeated disappointment can chip away at your optimism that you'll find a meaningful connection. Even after matching, you may feel anxious that if the relationship fails, you'll have to go back to using dating apps.
Contributing factors to burnout include the investment of time and emotion required by online dating, the "paradox of choice" from having endless options, and the disappointment of things not working out. The paradox of choice is that more options cause people to reject more partners when dating online.
Additionally, unless you have strong boundaries, it's easy to become obsessive about checking apps and responding immediately so as not to miss opportunities. This can quickly become exhausting.
» Looking for a long-term relationship? Try one of these Zoosk alternatives.
Scarcity vs Abundance
Burnout not only diminishes your enjoyment of dating, but it can negatively impact your self-esteem and lead to destructive behaviors. For instance, you may cope by drinking too much on dates or engaging in casual sex devoid of intimacy.
Furthermore, dating from a place of scarcity instead of abundance may cause you to settle for partners that aren't right for you to avoid being alone.
Dating from scarcity means approaching dating with a mindset of lack—feeling like worthwhile partners are rare and hard to come by. This scarcity mentality can lead to bad outcomes, such as settling out of fear of being alone rather than intentionally choosing someone compatible.
Time for a Fresh Start
To enjoy dating and have a chance at finding fulfilling relationships, it's crucial to nurture your emotional well-being and adopt a positive, intentional approach. Here are some strategies to refresh your perspective:
Take Regular Breaks
Dating app burnout is often a signal that it's time for a break. Pausing your accounts even for just a week or two can help reset your mindset. Spend this time focusing on non-dating-related self-care, such as going on solo dates and socializing with friends.
When you return to the apps, do so slowly and be selective about who you engage with. And don't worry about how long it takes to meet 'the one'—you will find the right person for you.
Limit Your Daily Usage
One of the easiest ways to avoid burnout is not overusing dating apps in the first place. Set limits such as only checking them twice a day or disabling push notifications. Be disciplined about when you use them, and don't let dating take over your whole life.
Adopt a Hybrid Approach
Rather than relying solely on apps, use them as a supplement to meeting people in real life through hobbies, social events, and everyday interactions. This diversifies your connections so you don't feel so dependent on online dating.
Refocus on Effective Rather Than Efficient Messaging
When burnt out, people often switch to auto-pilot mode, where they send copy-pasted messages devoid of much thought or personalization. Instead, refocus on thoughtful messaging that demonstrates genuine interest even if it's less efficient. Quality over quantity is key.
Practice Self-Compassion After Rejection
Don't take rejection personally, as other people's disinterest says more about their preferences than your worthiness. Instead, treat yourself with kindness and remind yourself that you deserve mutually caring relationships.
Cultivate a Growth Mindset
View dating as a learning process rather than a pass/fail endeavor. Reflect on both positive and negative experiences as opportunities to better understand yourself and what you want in a partner. Even missteps provide useful data. Read up on attachment styles and personality types to improve compatibility when you start dating again.
Nurture Your Happiness Regardless of Relationship Status
Don't put your life on hold waiting for dating to work out. Invest time into platonic friendships, meaningful hobbies, adventure, and growth. Feel content in yourself first, then you won't desperately depend on others for happiness. Perhaps you can explore the lesser-known uses of dating apps, such as networking and finding friends.
Take the Pressure Off
There's no denying that dating is incredibly hard nowadays, but it shouldn't be. Whether you're dating on or offline, the process should energize, not deplete you. One way to refresh your perspective is by taking charge of your mindset and being intentional in your break-taking, self-care, app usage, and relationship needs.
Avoid burnout not by giving up on dating altogether but by fostering balance and self-compassion. With the right approach, you can use dating apps with a more optimistic outlook while protecting your emotional well-being during the search for love.
» Check out these 10 signs you may not be ready for a relationship.