The pandemic has impacted every element of our lives and for those who are single and looking to meet someone, that includes dating. With the chances of meeting someone IRL even slimmer as a result of reduced socializing and local lockdowns, single people have been forced to rely on dating apps more so than ever. Furthermore, whether it’s a video call or an outdoor walk, dates themselves have also taken on a different shape. For those who still find themselves single eighteen months on, the feeling of dating fatigue is very real.
“I describe dating fatigue as feeling tired and overwhelmed with the number of potential options that don’t lead to anything,” dating coach Haifa Barbari explains. Much like any aspect of our life, if we put time and energy into something and it doesn’t give the results we’re looking for, we feel tired and frustrated. “People are exhausted because they are not getting the results they want,” dating coach Cheryl Muir concurs.
The culture of dating apps and how they’ve changed our search for love is a big part of this. In big towns and cities where app use is high, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the supposed choice being presented. “There are multiple factors that lead to this sense of overwhelm. Too many apps or matches, matches that don’t reply, people that ghost after chatting or those who disappear after dates,” Barbari explains. The type of dating that apps encourage can become exhausting. “It’s become the norm to date multiple people and people don’t see each other as human,” she adds.
During the pandemic with dating app use on the up, our collective relationship with these apps hasn’t necessarily been healthy. “During the pandemic, many of our emotional needs haven’t been met. In particular, our need for connection. We have been using dating apps to fulfil this emotional need which is risky. It puts a lot of pressure on this new person,” Muir highlights.
Feeling tired or burned out with dating? We asked the experts what you should do next.
Take a break
First and foremost, if you feel worn out by dating, allow yourself to have a break. It can be draining emotionally so respect that. During this time it can be good to both work on yourself as well as getting together a plan for dating in the future. If you’ve been struggling with dating, it could be useful to see a coach or counsellor to help identify your issues and create a strategy. Dating is like any other work, personal or fitness goal, it takes time and commitment to get where you want to be.
Have a strategy for apps
The apps aren’t going anywhere soon, so if you plan to use that it’s best to have a strategy. They aren’t all bad. The choice given by dating apps means you don’t have to settle and it gives you the chance to meet people that you might not previously have met — especially those who are serious about finding a relationship. “I suggest people use apps with a clear purpose,” Barbari says. She suggests dedicating thirty minutes a day to swiping and chatting to new people and then moving the conversation off the app as soon as possible to establish who is serious about setting up a date. “Remember the whole point of the app is to meet people for dates in real life,” she notes. The quicker you establish and get rid of the time-wasters, the better.
Meet people IRL
Remember the apps aren’t the be all and end all when finding love. If the apps aren’t working for you, don’t feel like you have to use them. Muir suggests getting clear on the type of person you want to meet — including their qualities and interests — and thinking about where you might actually find someone that fits the bill. “Think about what kind of places that sort of person would hang out in and meet people organically and naturally,” she says.
Dating — especially frequently — can impact your mental health. Naturally, it comes with rejection and there’s always going to be uncomfortable feelings associated when you are vulnerable and put yourself out there. “Remember rejection triggers the same part of the brain as physical pain,” Barbari says. Subsequently, it’s important to look after yourself and allow yourself the time to process each date. “After each date reflect on how it went and did you connect. Get out of the mindset of do they like me and instead do I like them,” she adds. “Acknowledge the pain and process it. Remember whoever rejects you isn’t your person.”
Do dates differently
It can be easy to fall into the trap of going on the same type of similar dates whether it’s a drink in a bar or a walk around the park. Doing something different — may be related to one of your interests or hobbies – offers a new way to connect and bond. “Do different first dates that stand out. This can help you connect emotionally,” Barbari advises.