What to Do About Dating Burnout
When You've Lost Enthusiasm For Dating, Take a Vacation
Two Burned-Out Daters
Shoshana, a 27 year old accountant, has dated a succession of men over the past seven years. The excitement she felt when she first began to date has worn off over time, because Shoshana hardly ever feels that she's connecting with a dating partner. She’s begun to believe that nothing will ever work out for her.
Nevertheless, she continues to date. A friend recently set Shoshana up with David, and for the first time in while she's had a number of pleasant dates with the same person. But Shoshana worries if she should continue. David's a good guy, and they have a lot in common, but Shoshana doesn't think she has the emotional energy to invest in this relationship. She also worries if she really likes David or if she's dating him because he’s the only man interested in her right now. Shoshana’s lack of clarity may cause her to ruin a situation with great potential.
Yael has had it with dating. Even though she’s only 25, she’s ready to stop. She used to eagerly anticipate each new shidduch, but after meeting at least 26 ‘wonderful’ dating prospects that never developed into something long-lasting, Yael is fed up. How many more times can she rush home from work, put on her nicest dating clothes, spend time on her hair and makeup, force herself to be optimistic, and be disappointed again? Yael can’t bear the thought of going out on another blind date, but keeps accepting suggestions from well-meaning family and friends, who encourage her to “just try it. After all, the clock is ticking.” She doesn’t realize that even if the next man she goes out with could be “The One”, her head won’t be in the right place to allow anything good to come of the date.
What is Dating Burnout?
Both Yael and Shoshana are experiencing the same phenomenon – dating burnout, and they each need an emotional vacation. They'd urge a burned out relative or co-worker to take some time off to relax and free themselves from stress. A self-imposed dating vacation will do the same thing for each of them. When they return to the dating scene, Yael and Shoshana can recapture the optimism and clarity they need to date successfully.
Some of the signs of dating burnout include:
*You've been dating for a few years and feel demoralized and hopeless.
*Your self esteem has suffered because of several negative dating experiences.
*You feel angry at members of the opposite gender or at the dating process.
*You're overwhelmed by life stress (family illness, an overwhelming work project) that is so preoccupying you have little interest in the success or failure of a date
*The thought of going on another date generates feelings of anger, frustration, or inadequacy.
Your "Dating Vacation"
How can a burned-out dater take a desperately-needed dating vacation? Start by setting aside a two or three month period that will be date-free. Thank anyone who wants to set you up for their efforts, and graciously explain you're taking a break until X and would welcome hearing about the suggestion if that person's still available then.
Look at this intermission as an opportunity to regenerate. When a burned out co-worker takes some time off from work, he doesn’t just stop working. He chooses activities that can help him relax and stop thinking about the stresses of work - travels to a beach or a ski resort, goes on a road trip with friends, reads a stack of best sellers, or tours art museums. If you need a dating vacation, try at least two of the following to renew your spirit and free your mind from the stresses of dating:
1. Tap into your creativity. Enroll in an art, craft, drama or music class, learn Japanese cooking, floral arranging, or computer game design, join a choir, or take dance lessons.
2. Haven’t you often said that you’d like to explore a particular topic if you only had more time? Enroll in a class or shiur that interests you.
3. Set aside a half hour or more a day for exercise or rigorous physical activity. Make it fun - a class or a sports team, or a daily ‘power walk’ with a friend. Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins that help relieve stress and improve mood.
4. Find a chesed, political or activist project in your community that interests you and become involved.
5. Take a trip with a friend to a place you have always wanted to visit. You must be due for a vacation soon…and even if you are not, see if you can take a few days off without pay, and then call your travel agent.
If you’ve always thought your life was too busy to take advantage of any of these suggestions, you now have space for them. You can devote the time you spent on unproductive dates to activities that will help you feel refreshed, enriched, and even accomplished. When you return to the dating scene, you'll feel happier about yourself and more optimistic about your dating prospects.