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Dating burnout is real—here’s how to deal without going on a swipe-right strike


Photo: Stocksy/Hillary Fox Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Hillary Fox
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Take a second to let this sink in: The average Tinder user spends around 90 minutes per day (!) scoping out potential plus-ones online. That’s almost 12 hours a week—a part-time job, basically.

That stat doesn’t even count time spent, you know, actually going out with all those suitors. So is it any wonder that dating burnout is becoming a very real thing?

No first date should last longer than a SoulCycle class.

Talia Goldstein, founder of matchmaking service Three Day Rule, doesn’t think so. She sees it all the time—especially among her younger clients. “Millennials are the ones on the apps who are burning out,” she says. “It’s very common.”

If you’ve been afflicted with dating-induced exhaustion, adopting that homebody lifestyle is definitely a solution. But Goldstein insists a swipe-right strike isn’t the only answer.

Instead, she says, it’s best to avoid a crash in the first place by bringing more strategy to your search. Because unlike HIIT workouts or high-stress jobs, love is one pursuit that really shouldn’t require any rest days.

Scroll down for 7 tips to avoid dating burnout.

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Photo: Stocksy/Lauren Naefe
Photo: Stocksy/Lauren Naefe

1. Keep it light

Don’t go in to every encounter wondering if it’s going to lead to a white dress and a joint checking account—putting that kind of pressure on your love life is the fastest route to burnout, according Goldstein. “If you expect everybody to be your soulmate, you get bummed out—and at the end, you walk away unhappy.”

There’s nothing wrong with looking for a forever kind of relationship (online or off), but it’s important to stay curious and prioritize a good time while you’re on the hunt. “Have the mentality that every date is going to be a really fun experience where you get to meet someone new and learn about them,” Goldstein says. “You won’t dread dating the way a lot of people do.”

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Photo: Stocksy/Milles Studio
Photo: Stocksy/Milles Studio

2. Give more second chances

The whole love-at-first-sight idea is overrated, says Goldstein. In her experience, many of the best relationships didn’t start with fireworks on night one.

“People have seen a few too many fairy tales, and they believe they’re going to go on a date with someone and know it’s their person,” she says. “That’s not how it works. Most of the time it’s a slow burn. People really need to give dates more than one shot—especially women.”

Her advice: If you find someone attractive and have fun with them, make plans to see each other again. (Yes, even if they don’t check off every box on your perfect partner list.) “Otherwise, you’ll go through so many people that you’re not going to get anywhere,” she says. And you’ll get tired of dating really fast.

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Photo: Stocksy/Chelsea Victoria
Photo: Stocksy/Chelsea Victoria

3. Go for quality over quantity

If you’re making plans with every match who shares your love of coffee and running, you’re bound to get overwhelmed pretty quickly. “People swipe too much, especially millennials,” says Goldstein. “They’re going on so many dates all the time and it’s really easy to burn out.”

To remedy relationship ADD, she suggests choosing just one or two standouts per week to hang with IRL. “Really focus on those people and enjoy the time with them,” Goldstein says. That way, you can spend the next day recharging—instead of stressing about moving on to the next rendezvous.

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Photo: Stocksy/Lauren Naefe
Photo: Stocksy/Lauren Naefe

4. Follow the 45-minute rule

In Goldstein’s opinion, no first date should last longer than a SoulCycle class. Why? “In 45 minutes, you can tell if you want to see the person again.”

She recommends meeting for a drink and telling the other person upfront that you need to jet early. That way, should the meet-up turn out to be a dud, you didn’t waste much time—and if you left right when things were heating up, you’ll both be that much more excited to see each other again. 

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Photo: Stocksy/Simone Becchetti
Photo: Stocksy/Simone Becchetti

5. Ghost-proof yourself

There are many reasons why your dates might all end in crickets—but while you can’t control a lot of them, there is one you do have power over: yourself. (It’s a hard truth, but a valuable one.)

“Maybe you’re interviewing the person or talking too much about work—those are huge turnoffs,” she says. Or perhaps you’re coming off as aloof. “A lot of times, girls don’t want to show too much excitement. But then, their date thinks, ‘Oh, she wasn’t in to me, I don’t want to bother.’”

The fix? Make sure to say you had a great time and would love to see the person again, if that’s really the case. Because in a dating world with limitless options, playing hard-to-get might mean you’re being overlooked.

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Photo: Stocksy/Bonninstudio
Photo: Stocksy/Bonninstudio

6. Don’t rely solely on your phone

Remember, the internet isn’t the only place to look for love—there are other options if apps are stressing you out. “You can meet your person anywhere,” Goldstein says. “You don’t only have to rely on online dating.” (So retro!)

Spend lots of time doing your favorite things, and tell your friends you’re open to being set up. Not only is offline dating a refreshing change of pace from the never-ending swipe cycle, but you’ll surely have a way better how-we-met story to tell if things work out.

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Photo: Stocksy/Danil Nevsky
Photo: Stocksy/Danil Nevsky

7. Reschedule if you’re not feeling it

Already suffering dating burnout? Don’t push it, says Goldstein. “Some people go out when they’re really tired, but you need to be your best self. When you’re on a date with somebody, they feel the energy and whether or not you’re excited to be there.”

Rather than rallying—and coming across as a stressed-out mess—ask for a rain check and commit to a new day and time right away. In the meantime, try to refrain from swiping for a few days and prioritize solo time and self-care. Hey, you can do a lot of baths and face masks in those 90 minutes instead.

If you do decide to breakup with your dating app, here are seven ways to stay happy while flying solo and some tips for flirting at the gym