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Whelp, it’s March. That makes it a full year for us here in the United States dealing with the pandemic, lockdowns, quarantines, bubbles, pods, and all the rest of the not-so-fun stuff. Man, I get it. This has been tough, and it still is tough.
Throw the struggles of dating into the mix, and life gets downright impossible to deal with sometimes. With all of the added stresses, it can sometimes feel like it’s not even worth it to try and date right now what with endless swiping, cold winter dates, and the fear of getting COVID-19, among so many other worries. All of these things and more probably don’t make you too excited and optimistic about dating. Singles are bound to feel burnt out on dating during these past 12+ months. And while vaccination is underway, singles still have a long way to go until things are back to normal.
So how can you avoid dating burnout during the pandemic? How can you refresh yourself and come back to dating feeling ready? How can you deal with everything that’s going on and still try to put your best self forward? Let’s delve deeper into this topic in this article.
The first thing you need to try to do is relax. I know it’s easier said than done, but most of the effort in dating is mental, which means if you are not in the right headspace, it’s just not going to work for you as well as it could.
A lot of my female dating coaching clients here in New York City have started to feel jaded, cynical, or bitter about the dating scene and their romantic relationships. It can absolutely be hard to date in this city.
Here are some comments from the book Date-Onomics that I also hear from my female NYC clients: “People don’t want to think of dating as a numbers game, but it is. For women, the numbers game in New York is brutal. Matchmakers in New York City receive large volumes of women who want to make a match but have a hard time finding men interested in making a long-term commitment. They feel there are ‘no good men left.’”
Now, there are obviously good men left, but when you get these ideas into your head, it can definitely affect your dating experience. I can set one of these women up with some of the most eligible bachelors in the city, but if she’s not open and ready, it won’t work.
So take a break from dating for a bit. Delete the apps for a month. Consciously make a choice not think about dating for a while. Just relax and breathe.
OK, now that you’re relaxed, let’s focus on you for a bit. If I were on a date with you, virtual or otherwise, and I asked you, “What did you do yesterday?” what would you answer? I’m guessing “Not much,” which can be true for a lot of people.
However, even though that’s what we’re all going through, it doesn’t make for an interesting answer. So start adding things to your life. Start doing new stuff. Attend an online comedy show. Take an outdoor art class. Binge on dark Scandinavian movies. Do something! Do anything! If you aren’t doing anything interesting, how is anyone going to be interested in you?
Another thing I want you to do is set goals. Set the correct goals, at that.
Where do you want to be when this is all over? What are you doing right now that is working to get you there? A lot of people are taking this time to focus on themselves, which is awesome. I call this getting “Ready for Release.” Work out, learn to cut your own hair, start putting a new wardrobe together, go to therapy, or learn how to cook healthy meals.
Whatever it is, take this time to achieve some small goals, and it’ll help those endorphins kick in.
With the advent of smartphones and apps, I feel we’ve moved away from pointed work into bored work, even in our personal lives. Singles used to sit down at their computers, connect to the internet, and visit Match.com with intention. They were in the mindset that they were going to look for a date, and they would make it happen.
These days, singles are swiping on the toilet, at the bus stop, at a stoplight, in bed, while eating, at speed dating events (true story!), or anywhere else they can squeeze in a few minutes or even a few seconds.
This isn’t making singles open and ready to date, and honestly at that point, they’re barely even paying attention.
So stay off the apps until you’re ready to sit down and devote some time to actually dating.
Take a shower and put on a clean shirt. Sit at your desk or a work space where you can concentrate and won’t be disturbed. Turn the TV off. Leave your phone in the other room. Go through the profiles of your matches. Dive in deep to really get to know the person. Did she say she has skied in Stowe, Vermont? Do a quick Google search about that area, and ask her a question about her experience. She’ll appreciate that you actually read her profile.
Tell yourself you’ll devote an hour a day to actual dating. Or maybe even 20 minutes if that’s all you can afford. Then refrain from dating outside of that time. This will allow you to focus better, and you won’t have any distractions.
Einstein’s (alleged) quote of “doing the same thing and expecting different results” is an apt way to start this section.
So many times singles get burnt out on dating because they were putting all their effort into the wrong thing. They’re pointing all their energy in the wrong direction. If I were an entry-level employee but applied to 5,000 C-level jobs, I would feel totally burnt out. That’s because I was directing my efforts incorrectly. Think about it. Are you doing something like this in your dating life?
If you are looking for marriage and you keep pursuing party girls, you’re going to have bad dating experiences. If you’re looking for party girls and keep contacting women who are ready for marriage and children, you’re going to have bad dating experiences. Make sure what you want (or need) and the actions you are taking are aligned.
If you’ve actually made it to the in-real-life portion of the dating process, congrats. That’s something worth patting yourself on the back for. I know it’s hard right now with a brutal winter, crazy COVID restrictions, shifting regulations, and all of that jazz. It can be hard to try and get creative or inventive or even excited about your dates.
But if you want the dates, and thus the relationships, to work, you need to put in a little more effort these days than you’re used to. I know it sucks, but that’s where singles are right now.
When you do new things with someone, new chemicals are released in your brain, and those new chemicals create new memories and a strong bond with that person. Try some new, COVID-friendly dates like going on a hike, visiting a botanical garden, eating outdoors, walking on the beach, etc. You can spice up your Zoom/FaceTime/Google Hangouts dates as well. Suggest dressing in black-tie attire one night. Or you and your date can show off one influential item from childhood. Or cook the same meal together over video. Shaking things up a bit can lead to a lot of emotional connection.
It’s human nature to look at what you’ve achieved and think it’s not enough. It’s human nature to obsess over the things you haven’t achieved yet. It’s good to have aspirations and to want to make yourself a better person, but it’s also important to remind yourself of how far you have come in your life. We all deserve some credit for getting through the past year.
Personal growth isn’t linear. Yes, growth trends upward, but it’s made up of many highs and lows. The cool thing is, after a while, I think those lows can actually get you to a higher place than you expected. The lows may not make you feel great in the moment, but it’s what you learn from the lows that brings you to a new high. It’s important to reward yourself because of your progress. Every little accomplishment helps.
The same goes for dating. Just because you’re feeling burnt out now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to feel this way forever. Just because you’re single and lonely now, that doesn’t mean you’re always going to be single and lonely. Follow some of the advice I gave you above, and you’ll bounce back in no time. I promise. Good luck!