Just as the new year triggers resolution-inspired gym goers, the early part of 2022 presents a potent motivator to dive headfirst into dating, especially after many feel the pandemic has stifled their social life. But an all-in approach, just like aggressive New Year’s resolutions, can quickly lead to burnout.
We typically associate burnout with work-related stress and exhaustion, but relationships and specifically dating can be another common cause. In my work as a dating coach, my clients often describe an initial bout of ambitious swiping in hopes of queuing up enough dates that “one of them has to be good.” When that turns out not to be the case in the first few (or first dozen), many come to me brewing with resentment.
What they resent varies. For some, waiting for the guy to take the plunge and finally ask them to get drinks. For others, it’s the awkward small talk at the beginning of every first date where they wonder internally, “I feel like I’ve told these stories on every first date. Is this really what it’s supposed to feel like?” This feeling can be perplexing. Dating is supposed to be fun, right?
Let’s get one thing straight: Dating is neither completely amazing nor completely terrible. If you’re truly opening yourself up to connection, dating requires a vulnerability that can be draining over time. It involves more opportunities for rejection than in our day-to-day life. Add in the logistics, the mental gymnastics of getting ready for dates, and the reality that they sometimes end up with us back on our couch with Chipotle and a glass of wine, wondering why we even bothered to go out in the first place. But we cannot let fear around vulnerability or the emotional roller coaster sour us to the positives of the experience.
If we’re approaching it earnestly, dating can be a lifeline to hope. When we swipe on the dating apps or push open the door to that dark cocktail bar for a first date, we are actively giving hope space in our lives. We’re saying, “I think they’re out there.”
That’s powerful. Even on dates or a series of dates that don’t work out, the experience of anticipation, of excitement when you find something in common, or of connection when a date is going well is reminding us that what we’re looking for is possible.
So how can we return to an active dating life in 2022 without getting burnt out? Here are a few tips I give to my coaching clients that you can apply in your life, too: