4 Uncommon Ways to Combat Dating Burnout
Updated: Feb 14
If you’ve been swimming in the dating pool in the last 5 years, chances are you’ve experienced the unique exhaustion that can come from modern dating. We’re inundated with seemingly endless ways to meet people from the internet, yet it seems like dating is more frustrating than ever.
Here are some symptoms and warning signs that you may be experiencing dating burnout:
• You often go on 3+ dates in a week
• You can’t remember details about your dates, and you tend to get them mixed up
• You’re bored with the conversations you’re having both on and offline
• You have a ton of first dates but almost no second or third dates
• You find yourself feeling dread or apathy about the dating process
• You keep scheduling dates because you feel like you should, but your heart isn’t in it
• You have 5+ dating apps on your phone and/or spend an excessive amount of time swiping
• You start wondering if maybe you’ll just be alone forever and maybe you should move to Bali
If you can relate to more than 2 of the above, you’re experiencing dating burnout. Don’t worry, this is normal! Modern app dating offers us the opportunity to meet many more people than we’d meet in our day to day life. More people means more dates, means more opportunity for finding your person, but a lot more opportunity for not finding your person. The more you date, the more often you’ll experience rejection. It’s just a numbers game.
The good news is there are ways to combat dating burnout! Here are 4 small shifts that can really improve your dating experience, making it feel a little more fun, and a little less like work.
1. Choose Date Locations That You’d Enjoy Even if You Were Alone
Sure “grabbing a drink” dates are okay, but they tend to be repetitive and fade into the sea of all of the other cookie-cutter dates you’ve had. These can end up feeling draining when you’re going to the same types of trendy wine bars and having the same types of polite conversations over and over.
“So do you have any exciting travel plans coming up?”
“What do you do for work?”
“How do you like living in [enter city name here]?”
But what about if you chose a date activity that is something you’d enjoy doing anyway? Like a walk along the sparkling water on a sunny day, or a stroll through the botanical gardens, or rock climbing, or seeing how many free samples you can get at the farmer’s market, or maybe even bowling. The difference between these locations and just going to a bar is that even if you don’t connect with your date, you still did something fun for a couple hours. The date becomes less focused on interviewing each other, and more on just sharing an enjoyable activity with another (hopefully pleasant) person!
2. Use a Dating App That’s Only Open on Sundays, like Flutter
A huge contributor to dating burnout is a simple overload of options. We tend to assume that more options are always better, so we download every dating app that we know of and swipe furiously every day, hoping to come across that special someone who makes our heart flutter (no pun intended).
But think about it, if someone presents you with 30 different types of mustard to sample, you’re going to tire out by Mustard #14 and be like, wait, why am I doing this? I’m so tired of mustard! I don’t even remember what Mustard #3 tastes like, how am I suppose to choose a mustard now?? But if someone were to present you with only 5 mustards to sample, you’re going to be able to spend more time and thought on each mustard. You’ll remember each one and be able to easily choose which one or two were the ones you liked the most.
It’s the same with dating. Trying to hold a ton of different conversations over the course of days or weeks only spreads your mind and heart thin, so that you can’t possibly give anyone your full attention. This is where Flutter comes in — it presents the opportunity to approach dating in an entirely new way. The app is only open for matching on Sundays, so you can get offline and make a real-world connection faster. No endless swiping. No wondering if that person you matched with will ever message you back. You get a finite pool of matches so that you can pay more attention to each, and then you get offline to meet, which is where all the magic happens anyway! Flutter is a welcome and much needed disruptor to the monotonous swiping culture.
3. Write First Date Report Cards and (Maybe Even) Share Them With Your Friends
We all talk to our friends about our dates anyway right? Why not memorialize your dates — both the great ones, and the not so great ones — with a silly report card? Writing about your dating experiences helps dating burnout in a few different ways. First, it can help you find humor in situations that may have otherwise disappointed you, or felt like a waste of time. I once had a first date with a guy who walked 9 miles to our date, sporting a tan trench coat and fedora. There was no potential there, but boy is it a unique story!
Second, writing about your dates can help you suss out feelings that may have been obscured by the nerves or excitement of the date itself. Maybe you weren’t initially attracted to someone, but later realized you loved their passionate curiosity and did want to see them again. Or maybe you were blinded by chemistry but later couldn’t remember discussing anything of substance. Writing, even in a non-serious way, helps you sort out your thoughts on paper, and gives more substance to dates that may otherwise have been catalogued as “just another forgettable person”.
Here’s an example of a first date report card I wrote once for a date that I might otherwise have forgotten about in a couple weeks:
Location: Lolo’s on Valencia
He was actually 5'11 like his profile said! Decent outfit and cute smile :)
We only got appetizers — he ordered the Brussels sprouts, good taste! He didn’t eat a lot though, he might not be hungry enough for me, hmm!
Discussed so many interesting topics that the waitress had to hint for us to leave. He brought up that he reads parenting books to be a good uncle ❤
Body Language: B
Decent hugger and good eye contact
Made a vague reference of me coming to his gym sometime — unclear on interest level based on the goodbye…TBD!
4. Be More Present on your Dates
When you’re feeling burnt out from dating, it may seem counterintuitive to put more energy into each person you meet, but being present actually has the opposite effect of what you may think! Have you ever caught yourself nodding along to someone’s answer to your question, but you weren’t really paying attention? You’re socially conscious, so you know the right body cues and phrases to say to make someone think you’re listening. “Oh wow, that’s interesting!”, “Nice!”, “How cool!”. Lots of nodding and eye contact, but really your mind is wandering back to work, or to your weekend plans, or to the buzz you just felt from your phone in your pocket.
This type of half-attention-paying actually is making you feel more disconnected than you may realize. You’re going through the motions, but you’re not really seeing this person in front of you (and they may be doing the same to you). We all do this, and it’s usually not on purpose. We don’t mean to snub the person in front of us, but this is the third date we’ve been on this week and we’d kind of rather be home watching The Great British Baking Show.
Making an effort to be consciously present on your dates is a surprisingly refreshing way to feel more connected and therefore, less burnt out. By being present and really listening, you catch little nuances and tidbits that you may have missed otherwise. Maybe your date is telling you about her 9–5 job, but you catch her face lighting up for a moment when she mentions her burgeoning interest in bread-making. Or you hear your date’s voice subtly soften as he talks about his mom, and his smile becomes just that much more endearing to you after that moment. Everyone has details that are hidden away in the folds of their being, just waiting to be noticed. Every date and every person has something you can learn from, or be enchanted by, or admire. It becomes a lot harder to burnout when you remember that dating is ultimately just about getting to know another human in front of you, who, like you, just wants to be seen for all their wondrous complexity.