As a newly single person, I lost no time in jumping back on Tinder after my breakup. While I was initially happy to feel the thrill of being single again, that quickly faded when dates left me feeling drained and exhausted instead of excited.
Then, one night, something happened that pulled me out of my funk. Having just downed a cup of pre-date coffee to mask my tiredness, I was halfway out the door when my phone went off. It was my date, texting: “Something came up and I can’t make it tonight, sorry!”
Rather than feeling irritated or upset — my usual reaction to a date canceling on me — I felt a sense of relief. I didn’t have to answer the same questions I’d heard so many times already that week (“Where are you from? What do you study? Where do you work?”). Instead, I had a fun night in watching my favorite YouTubers and ordering takeout. This moment helped me realize that I was experiencing dating fatigue, and that I needed to seriously rethink my dating habits if I wanted to enjoy dating again. Here are four tips to help you avoid dating burnout.
When I thought back on the people I had been going out with, I realized that I’d been saying “yes” far too often. Just because I was flattered that someone wanted to spend time with me, I would accept whenever someone asked me out — even if I wasn’t necessarily super excited about them, or even if our first date was unmemorable. I realized that to save my energy, I had to be more selective.
Being more particular can be frustrating because it means taking more time to find people you’re truly interested in, not just someone with an attractive face or a great job. It’s worth reminding yourself that you can’t really enjoy the company of someone you’re just “meh” about. Before saying “yes” to a date (or second date), try asking yourself these questions: “Am I really attracted to this person, both physically and mentally?” “Do our lifestyles, perspectives, and ambitions align?” If the answer is “no” to either, then save you and them the energy and be honest if you don’t think things will work out.
Limit yourself to one date a week
Before I started practicing selectivity, my calendar was booked up with dates. The first date I went on post-breakup, I woke up early to get ready and felt that classic nervous-yet-giddy feeling while doing my makeup and agonizing over which outfit to wear. The fifth first date? I had trouble getting out of bed and felt almost too lazy to put on my signature false eyelashes. Limiting myself to one date a week made a date feel more like a special occasion to get excited about, instead of just part of my weekly routine.
Forego Tinder-style apps (or dating apps entirely)
Apps like Tinder are super fast-paced — they encourage instant connections, quick conversations, and meeting up sooner rather than later. To slow down the pace, try other dating sites like Match.com or OkCupid, which allow for more comprehensive profiles. I found fewer matches on OkCupid, but generally had more substantive conversations, as longer profiles left me with more to comment on in messages.
Alternatively, taking a break from dating apps can help you avoid feeling fatigued. Even if you’re not going on dates, it can be tiring to feel like you’re always “looking” for someone, and you can shed the dread of waiting for someone to message you back or hoping that someone with a cool profile will show up.
Spend time with friends
If you find that what you’re really craving is human connection, then forget booking a date on Friday night — spend some time out with friends instead! The day after my breakup, I went out to dinner with friends and had more fun with them than I had with anyone else in months. It felt good to laugh and smile around people I knew I could be myself with. Plus, catching up with them helped me realize how much I had neglected my friends for my now-ex. Significant others may come and go, but your friends are always there to support you.
Though I’m still looking for that special someone, taking a step back and reevaluating my dating habits helped me dive back into the dating scene with healthier behaviors. Even better, taking breaks from dating every now and then has given me time for personal reflection. I’m trying to eat healthier, and I’m more present and available for my friends. But most importantly, I feel fulfilled knowing that I’m working on being my best self, something I can do whether or not I’m actively trying to date.