7 Reasons Why Dating Sucks And How To Cope

Online Dating | |
Dating sucks

When my friend, Hailey, declared, “Dating sucks,” there was very little any of us could say in defense of the swipe culture. She’d been stood up by her match that evening. The dates earlier that month too had been a failure. You see, most of my friends are single, and here’s what I keep hearing from them: “Online dating is depressing. I’m going to adopt a cat,” or “Dating apps suck. Am I a freak? Why is online dating so hard?”

While I thought that it was just an unhappy coincidence that all my friends were having problems with online dating, I gradually realized that more and more people these days have been experiencing signs of dating burnout. And it was indeed sad to realize that single people these days often lose out on meaningful connections even if they’re all actively looking for it. In this article, we’ll explore the signs of dating burnout and the probable reasons behind it. So, instead of asking yourself, “Why is dating so hard?”, read on…

5 Signs You May Be Experiencing Dating Burnout

For a very long time, I thought that the reason my friends thought dating sucks and were experiencing signs of online dating fatigue was that we, millennials, were feeling the pressure to “settle down”. Research on relationship issues faced by millennials and Gen Z says that these generations feel twice as much pressure compared to Gen X and Boomers to find love.

Here’s how a Reddit user explains dating burnout: “I was about to post something similar. It’s just agonizing. I’ve been dating virtually nonstop for 2 years and have nothing to show for it but a few miserable, failed 1-3 month situationships. It’s the same routine of meeting someone, learning over a few dates that you’re not interested, and having to hurt them by letting them know. Alternatively, you find someone you really quite like, only for them to break it off with you instead. Just one pointless or hurtful experience after another. Over and over again.”

Related Reading: 9 Signs You’re Ready To Give Up On Dating And How To Handle This Shift

Signs of dating fatigue may not always come in the form of proclamations such as, “Online dating is depressing”, “Online dating lacks human connection”, or “Why is dating so hard?” They can manifest in your emotional state as well. Here are 5 such signs that prove you’re going through dating burnout:

  • You feel hopeless even when you get swiped right: You keep getting swiped right and have a few dates lined up, yet you feel dating sucks and that it won’t amount to anything. Or you can’t stop swiping on dating apps and chatting with people, and yet you’re struggling to find a romantic partner. The people you match with either end up ghosting you or don’t seem to want a romantic connection
  • You are not prioritizing yourself: You think time is running out or you feel out of place in a world where hookup culture is slowly becoming the norm, and as a result, you make certain unhealthy compromises. So, you may end up pretending to be someone you’re not or going out on a date with someone you are not comfortable with. You don’t prioritize your needs and ignore your gut feeling
  • Dating fatigue is impacting your mental health: Looking for a potential partner online can be exhausting in the long run if romance and a meaningful relationship are on your list. Research suggests that 78% of people experience emotional fatigue due to online dating. Research has also found that prolonged screen time can impact psychological well-being. Besides, you can get social anxiety, depression, and insomnia from not getting what you want in your personal life even after incessant swiping
  • You are not happy with yourself: You may begin to have feelings of inadequacy and start comparing yourself to other people. You may start a new diet regimen or exercise routine that you didn’t need but is rumored to give you a great waistline. These are signs of low self-esteem. And you’ve probably developed FOMO about finding a partner. You may also be going for people you don’t like and not to contact someone because you think they are out of your league
  • You feel like you’re trapped in a cycle: Dating should be fun, but when it starts to feel like a job, it loses its charm. That’s when you feel dating sucks. You don’t feel excited anymore and may look just for factors that you can check off a list instead of looking for a real connection. If you’ve got multiple dates lined up, it begins to feel like a workday. In fact, you may also feel a sense of relief when a date is canceled
online dating burnout
Are you finding dating too hard to deal with?

7 Reasons Why Dating Sucks And How To Cope

Are you one of those who constantly ask, “Why is dating so hard these days?” Hailey feels online dating is depressing because she is a millennial looking for good guys instead of just good sex. She says, “Millennials are a generation stuck in the times of Disney love stories, and the reality of casual dating and open relationships doesn’t go well with that idea.”

I, however, disagree. Dating apps have changed the dynamics of dating. Sure, modern dating comes with its share of issues, but if you approach the experience with awareness and the right coping tools, you can still make the most of it. So, let’s look at some of the problems with online dating and how you can deal with them:

Are you going through online dating burnout?

1. It drains you emotionally

If you’ve been looking for a meaningful connection for a long time on dating apps and have been wondering, “Why is online dating so hard?” or have been through unpleasant experiences such as catfishing, ghosting, zombeing, or ending up in the friend zone, you may believe that online dating has given you decision fatigue.

In fact, being on dating apps in this era of hookup culture for a very long time can drain you emotionally, leaving you convinced that dating sucks. Dating today also sucks mostly because everyone in the dating game treats it like a mechanical activity. You need to focus on quality over quantity so you can catch a break.

How to cope with the emotional toll of dating

We’ve listed a few ways to cope with the emotional strain that accompanies dating these days:

  • Take a break from dating: One of the best tips for dating successfully is to take a step back for some time. Focus on yourself. Go on a trip and live mindfully. Find a routine and stick with it. Develop healthy eating and sleeping habits. A healthy lifestyle improves your mental health, which can help you focus on finding the right partner
  • Reduce your screen time on dating apps: Forming healthy relationships takes time. You can do that only when you have time to reflect. Also, decision fatigue can get overwhelming when you’re dealing with too many options all the time. So, reduce the time you spend on such apps
  • Pick people carefully: Be selective when you interact with people on dating apps. If they do not pass the vibe check, let go of them and concentrate on those with whom you feel a connection. A study recommends having a video chat before you have an actual date with the person, as it helps determine if the person is right for you 

Related Reading:13 Strong Signs Of Chemistry On A First Date

2. There’s additional financial stress

Finding love is not just hard work but it can also be expensive. Think of all the coffees and meals you’ve ever had with people you’ve met online and lost touch with later. Add to it the gas money, parking fees, and cover charge, and it could build up to a decent amount. It can make one cynical about the capitalistic angle of modern dating, especially if you’ve ended up paying for all of it with your own money.

How to cope with financial stress due to dating

Here are a few ways to deal with and manage the stress regarding the expenses of dating:

  • Choose a less costly venue: It’s not a bad idea to go to a park, a garden, or any place that doesn’t charge for entry. It makes the whole date a lot more personal as you put effort into it
  • Save on food: Do not go to expensive restaurants or bars for the first date. Instead, look for cute and fun first-date ideas. Pack your own meals 
  • Meet midway: If you live quite far away from each other, you can meet at a place that is convenient for both of you
  • Go ‘Dutch’: One of the best tips for dating, if you wish to save money, is to share expenses. So many guys I know think they’d come across as cheapskates if they mentioned going Dutch. But if a person doesn’t want to go out with you because they don’t want to pay for their meals, then it’s not worth it

Related Reading: Relationship Burnout: Causes, Signs And Tips To Overcome

3. Rejection hits harder

Robin, a reader from Los Angeles, told us: “Online dating can’t give me healthy relationships, probably because I think too much. You need to have a mind of steel to deal with all the idiots who talk to you as if you’re the person of their dreams but sneak out of the bathroom window after having a look at you. I’d cry for days afterward. God! Why is online dating so hard?”

Anyone who has been through the motions of online dating knows all about ghosting and caspering. Since it’s so easy to connect and disconnect on social media and/or dating apps, rejection may be frequent and more brutal. In fact, this is a big problem. It can lead to a feeling of not being good enough, or being replaceable/disposable.

How to cope with the feeling of rejection

Here are some tips on how to deal with such feelings of being disposable in the dating market:

  • Go for intentional dating: Think about what you want in a partner instead of what feels safe to you or ‘right’ based on other people’s relationship dynamics. Recognize online dating red flags and deal-breakers. Be clear about this in your profile
  • Say ‘No’ often: Don’t feel guilty about saying ‘no’ to anyone who doesn’t fit into your plans or align with your idea of a partner
  • Choose sites that don’t objectify people: Some of the cheesy dating sites, like Hot or Not, focus on rating people. These dating apps suck. Therefore, it’s important to be on better dating apps, like Tinder, Bumble, or Hinge, that don’t objectify people
  • Prioritize people who appear genuinely interested: If you’re looking for something long-term, avoid these flings. Instead, prioritize people who want the same things as you
stories about breakup and loss

4. You begin to rely on external validation too much

Every right swipe, every flattering comment from a match can give you an ego boost and provide the external validation that we all seek to some extent. This is one of the reasons why so many people find it hard to break free from the cycle of exploration and right swipes and settle for one person. It’s easy to become hyper-dependent on online validation.

Related Reading: 12 Realistic Dating Tips For Shy Guys

How to cope with the need for external validation

The need for external validation, again, is directly tied to low self-esteem. To build your sense of self, you need to sever the external validation by creating boundaries. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Reply at your own pace: Do not reply to DMs as soon as you get one. Also, limit the people you’re talking to
  • Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with: Never give away your residential or work location, share pictures, or send nudes because someone is coaxing you to. You never know how a person might use them
  • Be clear about your deal-breakers: If you find any red-flag behavior in a match, pull the plug. They may try to provoke you or pull you into another conversation by making excuses. Trust your gut instinct above all else

5. You may develop imposter syndrome

Research suggests that women are more susceptible to imposter syndrome as compared to men due to unrealistic expectations at work and in popular media. The feeling that you are pretending to be someone you are not may intensify when you connect with someone online. This may give a feeling of exhilaration for some time, but it may also lead to guilt and a fear of being found out.

How to cope with imposter syndrome

To cope with imposter syndrome, you should try to accept yourself the way you are. Here are a few tips:

  • Remember, no one is perfect: Learn to accept your imperfections. This is what makes you, you. The more you resist it, the harder it gets to make peace with yourself
  • Protect your mental health: Research suggests people with low self-esteem are more likely to experience imposter syndrome. Try mindfulness and meditation. If possible, seek professional help or speak to a dating coach
  • Lean on your family and friends for support: Take care of other relationships in your life. Do not ignore them when your love life takes off

Related Reading: 13 Major Disadvantages Of Online Dating

6. You feel lonely despite having a calendar full of dates

Another issue with modern dating is that despite having a calendar full of dates and an inbox full of DMs, you may find yourself wondering why dating apps suck. This is probably because you feel lonely all the time.

A major reason for this lack of genuine connection is the conflict in expectations. Not everyone is looking for commitment, but they may not clarify their intentions early on. Online dating scares us because we all know at least one friend who has been catfished, ghosted, or stalked by someone they connected with on a dating app.

How to cope with loneliness while dating

To cope with the feeling of loneliness even when you have a lot of dates lined up, you should seek an emotional connection. Here’s what you can do:

  • Meet people organically: Try to meet people not just on the apps but out in the real world as well. There’s something about striking up a conversation with a stranger in a pub or on a blind date arranged by close friends
  • Join societies and clubs: Try finding meaningful hobbies and join local conventions or clubs. Try volunteering for charitable activities to not feel lonely when you’re single. It allows you to connect with people from all phases of life. And you don’t just connect with others but with yourself as well
  • Practice self-care: Focus on caring for what’s inside. Practice breathing exercises, do yoga, take long walks without headphones, and reflect on your life

7. It stops being fun gradually

One of our readers, Ted, a waiter from New York, told us, “It’s fun only till you are a certain age and don’t want anything more than a good night. But soon you’re 30 and everyone around you is getting married, and you’re still going through the same cycle every day. You swipe, you flirt, and you have sex. But even that stops feeling good once you’ve met enough people. You realize you’ve changed, and the definition of fun has changed before you did.”

As people’s priorities change, they may find themselves getting tired of the things they enjoyed earlier. Some of the issues with online dating sites include the monotony of chatting over DMs. Gradually, people may find love and everything about it too flimsy.

online dating is terrible
Dating becomes a chore when it stops being fun

How to cope with monotony and lack of fun while dating

To make dating fun again, you need to add some new elements to it. Make it more meaningful. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a place where you can talk: Avoid anything too crowded or noisy. Ask insightful questions. Listen patiently. Gain information about them
  • Explore places: Don’t go to the same coffee shop again and again. Explore other avenues. Go to a Victorian flea market or a Renaissance fair. If nothing else, you’ll gather some new experiences
  • Take sex out of the mix for the first few dates: Develop a connection first. Sexual compatibility is important, but you need to know if you can connect on an emotional level first

Related Reading: Dating An Introvert – 11 Communication Hacks To Use

Tips For Dating Successfully — Beat The Swipe Culture

Most people these days aren’t just tired of swiping endlessly but are also bored of the lack of connection and of communication skills in the online dating world. For example, look at what this Reddit user has to say: “…put a lot of work into my profile choosing good pictures and prompts that should generate conversation or give them a window into my personality. 90% of the messages I get are “hi” “how are you” “you’re gorgeous”. I’ve recently tried asking deeper questions to stimulate conversation and to try to figure out if this is the type of guy I’d like to meet since I’m looking for an LTR, but even those questions often lead to dead ends.”

Related Reading: 50 Rainy Day Date Ideas To Feel Close To Each Other

So, this could probably be a direct reflection of how disappointing the swipe culture is getting by the day. But you know what? You can easily get over this monotony and boredom and add some real zing to your dating life. How? Well, we’ve got some exciting tips for dating lined up for you. Take a look:

  • Save your dating energy: To avoid dating fatigue or dating burnout and to use dating apps effectively, use such apps only for about 10 minutes or once/twice each day. Don’t spend your whole day swiping. Focus more on your real life than on apps
  • Date when you’re over your emotions: Be it on apps or organically, don’t date when you’re sad, depressed, or trying to get over your last breakup or a toxic workplace issue. Date when you have a positive frame of mind. Only then will you connect with people who ooze positivity and not toxicity?
  • Rely on friends: Don’t just rely on the swiping game. Socialize and go out with friends. Meet their friends. Ask them to set you up with someone they feel would be compatible with you. It need not be a desperate plea, but a friendly gesture
  • Don’t ‘see’ multiple people at once: Yes, we know you wish to keep your options open. But dating or talking to too many people at once may overwhelm you. It may also be bad for your finances. So, meet a lot of people but date a few
  • Don’t just talk to one person: While dating too many people at the same time is a strict no-no, talking to just one person for months without meeting them in person or without any concrete plans for going exclusive (if that’s what you want)

Key Pointers

  • While dating apps have extended the dating world beyond borders, they have also introduced dating burnout
  • If you’re experiencing hopelessness, exhaustion, and decision fatigue, you may be dealing with dating exhaustion
  • Try to reduce your dependency on meeting new people on dating apps, start dating to find a good fit, and seek support if you feel unhappy

Everyone needs love, but not all of us find it in the same way or through the same methods. If you feel online dating sucks, you can choose to make the aforementioned changes to your life. These changes can help prevent you from wasting your energy on incompatible people and relationships that don’t work for you in real life. They will also help you find the right person instead of cribbing that dating apps suck. If you use the right approach, you can make the most of the modern dating experience without letting its pitfalls take a toll on you. So, instead of asking yourself, “Why is dating so hard?”, focus on the right way of dating!

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