How to spot the signs of 'dating burnout' – and how to cope with it

The dating pool can be a cruel and exhausting place.

Yes, there’s excitement, romance, maybe even the promise of a meaningful connection (or at least some half decent sex) – but you have to kiss a serious number of frogs before you find a prince/princess.

Many single people will know what it feels like to delete all your dating apps in an exasperated frenzy. Pledging to take a break, try to meet someone organically, or even giving up the dating life for good.

It could signal that you’re heading for dating burnout. And that is something that you definitely want to avoid.

So, what are the signs that you might be headed towards dating burnout?

Burnout tends to manifest in both physical and mental ways. So, if you’re feeling edgy and stressed, drained by the thought of dating, or getting upset after romantic interactions – these could all be burnout red flags.

Work and wellbeing expert Paula Allen, previously identified some of the other common markers of impending burnout:

  • You constantly feel tired, no matter how much sleep you get
  • You feel increasingly cynical – about your dating life, yourself, and the state of the world
  • You’re impatient
  • You have a negative attitude and perspective
  • You often forget things
  • Your organisation has fallen off a cliff
  • Even small decisions feel completely overwhelming and impossible to make
  • You feel like you can’t properly relax, even at the weekend

If this sounds like how you feel about organising your next date – it might be time to have a serious rethink. It may mean you need to take a break, change how you’re dating, or even seek some professional help to ensure your symptoms don’t spiral.

Today’s dating landscape forces singles to adapt to new ways of dating. You are sent to the apps to sift through countless profiles, figure out the perfect icebreaker, connect through text conversations, and then (hopefully) meet up IRL.

It’s proving difficult to foster meaningful relationships this way, and unfortunately, leads to burnout. 

Thankfully, Match’s chief dating expert Rachel DeAlto has provided her tips insights to help you cope with dating burnout, and to reinvigorate your mindset in your search for love:

The only constant is change

One of the most challenging things for daters right now is how often things are changing.

‘We are constantly adapting to new ways of living with the pandemic,’ Rachel tells Metro.co.uk. ‘This can be a major challenge for daters, as there are infinite perspectives and opinions, and navigating masks, vaccinations, and where to actually go on a date can be stressful.’

Rachel’s top tip is to stay flexible.

‘Expectations are the root of all frustrations, so if you can approach dating with flexibility, you will be far more successful,’ she says.

‘Be open to outdoor dates, dates that prefer masks, dates that may want to take physical connection slower.’

Emotional intelligence is king 

The best way to cope with change is to have emotional intelligence and an ability to adapt. Rachel adds that this is also a really attractive trait.

‘Match’s SIA study found that emotional maturity, open mindedness, and kindness outranked physicality in terms of what singles are looking for,’ adds Rachel.

‘It may be more difficult to get out there and date, but if you are kind and empathetic, you will do well.

‘It’s time to hype up your best qualities! Show your kindness and emotional intelligence not only in your profile, but in your interactions.’

Mind over things that don’t matter

Rachel believes that mindset is everything. She says maintaining a positive way of thinking is a key component to success in dating.

‘Of course there will be frustrating moments (hello ghosting), but if you continue to focus on what matters – putting your energy into finding a healthy relationship with a partner that deserves you – you’ll be able to overlook much,’ she adds.

‘My tip is to create a positive mindset with affirmations and focusing on the positive.

‘Start your days (and dates) with an affirmation that “I am worthy of love” or something that resonates especially for you. Become aware of negative thoughts  and find distractions – through other thoughts and actions.’

All you need is one

‘Love is kind of like the lottery, but a lot easier to win than the MegaMillions,’ says rachel.

‘Apps show us so many options, but you don’t have to be liked or loved by all – just the one that matters.

‘Creating non-negotiable to sift through matches with intention can help to narrow in on the people with potential.’

Rachel’s key tip here is to clearly define your non-negotiables.

‘Determine what main qualities (not physical) you cannot live without in a partner and do not settle for less,’ she says.

‘Try to focus on four. It could be things like kindness, intelligence, generosity, etc.’ 

It is always OK to take a break

‘We can’t pour from an empty cup, and we certainly shouldn’t date when we feel super stressed and burnt out,’ says Rachel.

She adds that we don’t have to be perfect to try to find a match, but it’s best to be in a space that allows you to enjoy dating and remain excited about possibilities. 

‘Know your limits,’ says Rachel. ‘You don’t have to make dating a job. If you know that you enjoy spending time on the app for shorter periods, spend 15 minutes a day and then stop.’

Another tip is no to ‘over-date’.

‘I’ve known people who try to fit in three days a week, and then wonder why it feels so exhausting,’ she says. ‘Be selective, and find people that you truly are looking forward to spending time with.

‘You should also practice self-care.

‘A great dater is also taking care of themselves, and consistently doing things for themselves that make them feel good and happy.’

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