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10 Ways to Avoid Dating Fatigue

10 Ways to Avoid Dating Fatigue

10 Ways to Avoid Dating Fatigue

All is not lost.


After being single awhile, the thought of going out on another date seems worse than death. You’ve tried every dating site and app out there: OkCupid, Grindr, Tinder, Hinge, Scruff, and Hornet.

You’ve dated every guy from the geek, to the jock, to the highly sensitive, to the artist. None of them worked out.

You are tired. I’d go as far to say you are just exhausted of dating. Still, while you’re happily single, there’s a part of you that feels unfulfilled, and would like someone special to spend some time with.

All's not lost.

You’ve developed what I call dating learned helplessness. In the psych world, researchers use the term learned helplessness to describe what happens when a person (or animal) repeatedly experiences something aversive, say something painful, and is unable to escape it. After repeatedly experiencing this aversive thing and repeatedly failing at getting away, people feel like they’ve lost all control. So they give up trying to escape or avoid the bad thing.

Now this can happen in dating. After repeatedly experiencing so many bad dates, feeling like that no matter what you do, every guy you date is a jerk, and every relationship is going to end poorly, you stop trying to meet new people. You become jaded and reclusive. You may even unconsciously sabotage good relationships because you assume there’s no way that’s it going to work out in the end.

This is not good. You’re not doing yourself or anyone else a favor by giving up hope.

Here are some tips to help you avoid dating fatigue and break that dating learned helplessness you’ve developed.

1. Don’t travel far for (first) dates
When a date is mediocre, but you only walked a few blocks to there and back, it doesn't seem like that big of a waste. But when you travel 45 minutes each way, you put higher expectations on the date. And if that date is subpar, you feel worse about it.

2. Don’t go on dates when you’re tired
If you’ve had a long week and don’t think you’ll be fully invested in the date, don’t do it. Don’t be afraid to say, “Hey, sorry to cancel, but I’m just really exhausted and want to meet you when I’m awake.” That’s much better for him that going on the date, being tired and awful, and wasting both you and his time.

3. Go to queer events/clubs to have fun, not meet boys
If the night becomes about meeting a boys, the night is a failure if you don’t meet anyone. Whereas if the night is about having fun and spending time with friends, it doesn’t matter if you don’t meet anyone. It’s just an added bonus if you do.

4. Text if you want to text
Don’t play hard to get. Don’t overthink it. If you’re thinking of him, and want to text him, do it.

5. Pre-screen dates with video chat
I’ve recently started doing this, and it’s been great! When you’re texting late at night, prior to your first date, and you both say you’re lounging around in bed watching Netflix, ask to facetime. I’ve only done it twice, but both times it was great. You look awful, ‘cause you’re in bed half/asleep. So does he. Both your defenses are down. Sure, it’s awkward, but you’re in the safety of your own bed. Facetiming allows you to see whether or not you guys click without actually leaving your house. I know it’s a little ballsy, but trust me, it really works.  

6. Do activities you like, which happen to have a bunch of queer men
Join a sports league, or the Gay Men's Chorus. Surround yourself with other single queer men doing something both you and he enjoy. 

7. Appreciate the experience for being an experience
Whether good or bad, it happened. Appreciate it for being an experience in itself. You went out, you met someone new, it didn’t work, but it was still a worth-while experience.

8. Learn from the experience
What did you like about him? What turned you off? Instead of going home without analyzing what happened, take a deep look. See what you can learn from the date. Were there any red flags, in hindsight, that you missed? Did he do something that really rubbed you the wrong way? What was it?

9. Get off all dating apps for a little bit
Take a break. Apps are great, but also exhausting. It’s annoying being rejected repeatedly (even if digitally). Unsolicited, vulgar messages and dick pics wears even the most optimistic man down. 

10. Breathe
I don’t care how old you are or how unlikely it seems. My uncle met his partner (now husband as of five days ago!) in his mid 50’s. It’s never too late. Just breathe.

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Zachary Zane

Zachary Zane is a writer, YouTube influencer, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, dating, relationships, and identity politics. Check out his YouTube channel here.

Zachary Zane is a writer, YouTube influencer, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, dating, relationships, and identity politics. Check out his YouTube channel here.