65 % of couples meet on dating apps. But while apps have become the main method of finding a partner, we are also seeing more and more people struggling with fatigue and burnout from dating in this way.
The problem is that dating apps require you have to make yourself a desirable commodity. You have to choose the best pictures and the best answers to prompts, the information about yourself that you think will get you the most likes. The process of swiping left or right means you are constantly evaluating yourself and others. If there is a small thing that doesn’t sit well with you, their height, their age, where they went to school, you can immediately swipe left or gradually stop replying to their messages. You don’t need to give that person more thought because there are another few hundred more options for you to evaluate. There is so much choice that you don’t have to give people the benefit of the doubt or accept this small perceived flaw.
This in turn, leaves the person who has been ghosted feeling rejected. They don’t know why the conversation stopped. Self-doubt creeps in and your imagination inevitably runs into all the darkest corners of your insecurities and the things you don’t like about yourself. This is a very different experience of dating to our parents’.
How can we manage feelings of rejection so that our self-worth doesn’t suffer?
The problem with multiple rejections is that with each one you learn to become more guarded in order to protect yourself. When we have been hurt by others it is very easy to carry that hurt with you into a first encounter with a new person. You can start to see dating as a string of painful experiences that you have to trudge through. Going into an interaction in this mind-set is not likely to leave to a very fun date.
There is immense societal pressure to partner up. This intense pressure on that one part of your life, can cause you to become blinkered and neglect all the other parts of your life. This in turn is damaging to your self-worth, as you are not only managing the rejections of dating but you are less connected with the other parts of your life that make you feel valued and happy.
The best way to protect yourself is to reconnect with those other parts of your life. Remind yourself how much you value your relationships with your friends and family. Don’t put the rest of your life on hold. Make time to see friends and do the things that make you feel happy. Refuse to buy into the idea that if you do not have this particular type of relationship then you are not whole. This is not true. It never will be true. And believing it to be true can do irreparable damage to your self-worth. What’s more attending to the other parts of your life will help you to stay open to new romantic relationships. There will be less pressure on each first date and you will go into those interactions feeling happier and more confident.
Tips for surviving dating app fatigue…
- Take a break. If you’re feeling burnt out and fatigued from dating apps, give yourself permission to take a break. Give yourself a week or two off. Reconnect with those other parts of your life. Nurture your existing relationships.
- Manage your expectations. What are you expecting from a first date that is making you feel disappointed? Are you expecting butterfly’s or an immediate connection? Maybe this is too much to expect when we encounter a stranger for the first time. Instead try to go in with an attitude of curiosity, a desire to have an interesting conversation with someone.
- No one is perfect. I have heard many people in happy relationships who met their partner in real world situations, sheepishly admit that they don’t think they would have swiped right if they had come across them on an app. What we see on a dating app is a polished version of ourselves, often carefully crafted over a drink with friends. But relationships are full of contradictions. Think about your best friend; im sure you’ll be able to tell me all of the things you love about them as well as all the things that drive you crazy. Why are we expecting romantic relationships to be any different? Remember, we like because and love despite.
- Reclaim the real world. Meet them as soon as possible! Instead of days of small talk, suggest going for a drink. This brings the relationship into the real world and humanises you both.
- Find the fun. Try branching out from drinks or coffee and give a different type of first date a go. Do something active, enjoy a shared experience. It is easier to feel relaxed when you are active, and not in an interview style first date situation. Sharing an experience gives you something to talk about and feel connected with.
- Keep it social. Invite them to come along to meet you at a pub with your friends. This is only a couple of steps removed from you meeting someone you were interested in a bar while out with friends. It gives you the opportunity to see then in a social situation and will help you to feel more relaxed.