Can't muster up the energy to check your online account? Read the text message from your date last night and rolled your eyes? Posted a rant on the woes of the opposite sex on your FB page?
You might be suffering from dating burnout.
What's dating burnout? Put simply, it's when you just don't give a good damn about going out, being charming for this week's WAM (Weak A** Man -- Thanks, Greg Brendt, compliments of Oprah's Lifeclass) or out-there woman.
Of course that's not true of all men or women, but when you start over-generalizing the opposite sex into negative categories, that's a sure sign that you have Dating Burnout!
One of the many reasons dating coaches exist is that people are just sick of the whole thing. Creating a profile, responding to emails, singles events, coffee dates, texting, sexting, mini-monogamy (we date sort-of exclusively for a couple of months and then he/she flakes), hook-ups, break ups, break downs, turn downs, cut-offs, firings and/or going off on some crazy person. You just want to get off the merry go round. You want to go out with a person that you enjoy who enjoys you without all the "extra."
You think to yourself, Did I shave for this?!
Totally get it! Dating can be a pain in the a**. All the "resume" reviews, phone screening, first round, second round and final interviews... sounds like a job. Feels like a job. And frankly, you already have a job! You don't want to "work" after hours on your dating life!
Dating is supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be interesting, intriguing, entertaining and exciting. You want to feel good about the prospect, the possibility of at least meeting someone whose company you enjoy, let alone the delicious anticipation of the possibility that this may be a potential life partner.
Instead, you dread the text, send the call to voicemail, refuse to check your inbox for your online dating account and duck your friend so you don't have to attend the latest white party or over-35 margarita madness boat trip for singles.
"What's a girl (or guy) gotta do to meet someone special around here?" you cry out to the heavens, shaking your fist in utter frustration, not really expecting an answer, but the shouting feels more satisfying than your last date. And your last sexual encounter -- fagedaboutit! You have!
Sounds like classic dating burnout to me.
Dating takes energy, time and some financial investment. If you find yourself running low or feeling depleted in any of these areas, dating becomes a disaster instead of an encounter with destiny. It's a chore, like the licking of a Tootsie Pop just to get to the chocolate center... which most of us just bite into anyway, right? Right! Our inner 4-year-old wants to be in a relationship now! I don't have time to savor the process of getting to the chocolate. Who does that?
Sometimes the truth is there's no time, no energy, no money, no space and frankly no interest in dating (or eating a Tootsie Pop, for that matter). If you find yourself starting your sentences with "All men," or "All women," it's probably not a good time to date. If every conversation with your girlfriend is about the last miserable encounter with a man, it's probably not a good time to date. If you'd rather hang out with a homeboy than see "her," it's probably not a good time to date. Sometimes you just aren't into to "the whole thing." Sometimes "Me-time" is just what the doctor ordered.
And if you find yourself attracting the same type of date, wondering why he always leaves or she always cheats, then it's definitely time to take a hiatus.
People tend to attract others that mirror where they are. Whatever issue(s) you've got, you're likely to meet that issue in the opposite sex. And even if there's no issues, frankly, it's just not fun to date someone who's "just sick of the whole thing!" I'm sure you've sat across from that guy and wondered how soon can you leave while he ranted about how women don't know what they want and threw back a Jack and coke and two beers. Or tried to escape that girl as soon as she started complaining about how her horrible ex and how all men are a like as she downs her third glass of wine. (Fake caller apps are great for these instances BTW.)
If you find yourself unable to muster the energy to engage the opposite sex, take heart -- yours, not his (or hers). This too shall pass. It's a temporary condition, just like flip phones and 3G.
And while you're waiting for the latest and greatest smartphone, here are a few things you can do to deal with dating burnout.
1. Take a break. There is no shame in leaving the party alone. Sometimes you just need to take a vacation. Dating is a trip. And sometimes we need a vacation from our vacation. Once you feel ready to rejoin the party again, you can do so with intention and enthusiasm.
2. Take the pressure off. Most people want to "hurry up" and find the "perfect" mate. Like if it doesn't happen before midnight, someone is turning into a spinster or a loser. 1) Good dates aren't built in an instant (and relationships definitely are not). We all have a biological imperative, but rushing to find your "baby daddy" will not get you the love and the family you've been dreaming about. And 2) No one is perfect. Not even the man or woman that is "perfect for you" is without flaws. Look for things to appreciate in the opposite sex rather than things to denigrate. You'll enjoy the experience a lot more whether he is she is Ms. Right or Mr. Right Now.
3. Take it easy. Lighten up, people! We are so serious about the whole thing. Whatever happen to dating for fun? Enjoy yourself. Enjoy your date. If he's not the one, move on, it was an hour of your life. If she's not ringing your bells, finish your coffee and so long, Senorita. Let's put this in perspective. Being single is not a debilitating disease. No one is actually going to die if this date doesn't turn our to be a love connection.
Dating is a process. You are looking for the right fit and connection and all candidates are not created equal. Dating gives each of you the space to discover one another without the pressure of relationship. It allows you to engage someone in a variety of scenarios to see if there's a fit. Rushing the process or trying to make a decision prematurely puts undue pressure on you and them. So relax, take it easy and enjoy the ride. And if you can't, there's no shame in getting off and coming back another day when you feel like you can enjoy all the perks and pleasures of the amusement park.