Dating isn’t always fun — more often than not, it feels like a constant test of your patience. Even the most experienced daters out there get burned out every once in a while and it’s completely normal. However, just because you get tired of dating doesn’t mean you should completely quit. After all, if you give up now, you could be missing out on the love of your life. Here are some signs you’re in a dating rut and how to get out of it.
Signs you’re in a dating rut
- All your dates look the same. If you had to put the guys you’ve been on dates with in the past six months in the same room, they’d look like brothers. Or, maybe they’re all the same bad boys. Yikes. There’s no way you can find Mr. Right if you’re always going for the same guys who hurt you. Same goes for if you’re dating guys based on their good looks—it’s sure to leave you disappointed.
- You’re exhausted at the thought of dating. You feel really drained at the thought of going on another date. In fact, you’re often tempted to cancel and stay in with your cat instead. You want to meet people, but the thought of dragging yourself out of the house to go meet them isn’t inviting.
- You’re always going to the same places. If your dates occur at the same restaurants or coffee shops, this routine can turn dating into a really boring affair. Step out of your comfort zone and make dating fun by doing new things. Going on dates that aren’t limited to the same old places gives you and the guys a chance to learn about each other in different, refreshing settings.
- You don’t care who your friends set you up with. When your friends used to suggest setting you up on dates with their friends, you’d feel awkward about it or grill them about who the guys were. Now, you actually don’t care who the guys are. You just want a date, period. Desperate, much?
- You’re on five different dating apps. Signing up to more than one dating app isn’t necessarily a good thing. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll meet loads of new, interesting guys. It could actually make you feel stressed out or exhausted to have to keep so many conversations going. Ugh. Besides, if you’re always stuck with your nose in a dating app, you’re missing out on the men you could be meeting in real life.
- Your first dates are all fails. You’re caught up in a nasty cycle of first dates that never go to second ones and it’s the worst. You leave those dates feeling like you just can’t get a break but just think: those guys are probably doing you a favor and it’s better to know someone’s wrong for you right away instead of wasting time on them.
- Dating feels like going to the dentist. You feel just as excited about the guy you met on Tinder who wants to meet in real life as you do about going for a root canal. If you’re pushing yourself to date even when your heart’s not in it, you’re just screwing yourself over and turning dating into a really stressful, exhausting experience.
- It’s too much work to meet someone. The idea of how you’ll meet someone, where you should go to meet him, and then having to start from scratch with him about who you are and what you’re like… Damn, it just feels like such a big job! Maybe it’s time to quit dating for a while. If you’re meeting guys with this attitude, your vibe’s just going to send them running for the hills.
- You take dating too seriously. When that great guy you were dating doesn’t call you back, you take it really badly. You might feel like you did something wrong or there’s something wrong with you that keeps pushing men away. Whoa there. The worst thing you can do is internalize bad dates. They’re not about you and they shouldn’t make you feel jaded. It’s just dating! It’s not life or death.
- You don’t know what you want. You’re on a date with a guy when halfway into your coffee, you look at him and think, “Do I really like this kind of guy? What do I really want?” You might not even know! If that’s the case, you need to stop dating and figure out what you’re really looking for so that you don’t date blindly.
- You fall too fast. When you meet a guy who seems like such a catch, it’s so refreshing after a string of bad dates that you find yourself catching a serious case of the feels for him. Stop! Falling for a guy when you don’t even really know him is a sign that you’re in a dating rut. It’s like you’re so desperate to get out of it that you just want to jump into a new romance. It’s not healthy.
- Your confidence is extinct. Dating always makes you feel empty and depressed. It’s like you’re a hamster on a wheel that’s going nowhere and you wonder if you’ll ever find a great guy. Maybe you should focus on having a great life instead—who cares about finding Mr. Right if it’s going to make you feel so terrible?
- You’re obsessed with your dating goals. You want to meet the right guy by a certain age so that you’ll be married by a certain age and have kids by a certain age. Hold up! Having strict dating goals and deadlines just doesn’t work and causes you unnecessary stress. Life doesn’t work according to plan and if you’re stressing yourself out with your goals, you’re turning dating into an accomplishment. It’s not. It shouldn’t be your main priority to find a man. Your life’s worth more than getting married.
- You’re not making an effort. You’ve stopped trying to look your best or be on your best behavior on first dates. Why? They all end up the same way, right? If you’re thinking in this way, you’re in a huge dating rut and you need a break. You should always be your best on dates, not for the guys you’re meeting but because you love and take care of yourself. If you’re dressed sloppily or you have a bitchy attitude, you’re just making yourself look and feel bad. It’s not worth it. Don’t let dating suck the life out of you!
How to get out of it
- Make sure you’re happy with your life. If you’re truly content with the way your life is going, that’s super important because you’ll be able to gracefully exit any situation that’s not working for you without feeling desperate for love. When you do fall for someone, it’ll be a bonus and basically the icing on the cake of your amazing life.
- Be open to change. We always think if one thing changed, we’d finally be happy, despite the fact that it’s not true. If you’re comfortable with how things have been going, it’s easy and normal to want your life to stay the way it is. Of course you would want to stop dating altogether — you’re fine on your own, after all. Resist that urge. If you’ve been ready for a relationship for a while, don’t second guess that, and be ready for your life to change when it’s meant to happen.
- Get cheesy about romance. There’s a pretty massive difference between the creepy 2 AM Tinder messages and the over-the-top romance in Nicholas Sparks movies. It’s hard to think that the latter is possible when the former is all that’s happening in your life right now. However, it’s super important to let yourself believe in love again. Without that, you’ll never want to even go on a first date because you’ll feel it’s totally hopeless.
- Ask your friends for advice. It takes time to find someone you truly connect with, and it’s possible that you’ve been turning down guys because you didn’t see yourself with them. Ask a friend that you completely trust if she has any dating advice for you. Maybe she’s been listening to your dating woes and has some legit tips, or maybe she’ll say any guy would be lucky to be with you and you have zero work to do, so just be patient (that’s a good friend). Your single friend probably has great advice for you, so feel free to talk her ear off.
- Set a realistic timeline. You may not meet the love of your life in an hour, but if you think that you’ll throw yourself into the dating scene for the next six months to a year, that’s a pretty realistic time frame to find someone you click with. We live and work by our calendars and agendas, so why not date by one?
- Take care of yourself. There’s no use dating if you’re going to treat your body like total crap, drink too much and live on pizza and potato chips. The same goes for working yourself past the point of total exhaustion. Take care of your body and mind and make your health a priority. It’s just as important as finding the one (if not more).
- Remember why you’re worth dating. Even if you’re the one doing the rejecting, if you go on tons of dates but haven’t met that special someone yet, it’s hard not to feel like a total loser. But of course you’re not. Remember why you’re an awesome person and any guy would be super lucky to have you in his life.
- Break out of your routine. When you’re in a rut when it comes to your social life, you turn off Netflix and meet your girlfriends at a bar. When you’re in a rut at work, you take on a huge project or try your hand at freelancing. Do the same with your dating life. If you’re on Tinder, try some other apps. If you’re online, try apps. Maybe some small changes will help you feel like yourself again.
- Think of the big picture. Okay, so first dates are generally pretty rough, but it’s a good idea to think about what you want for your future life. Do you see yourself married with adorable kids? Is a common law relationship more your style? Whatever you want, you can’t get it by staying home in your sweatpants. Remember that whenever the thought of dating is too hard.
- Go on dates. The only way to truly get out of a dating rut is to jump back in and meet some more people. It sucks, but since the male lead in the rom-com that is your life isn’t going to just magically appear, dating is the only way to find him.