For the past week, I’ve been on a self-imposed dating time-out.
After returning from my date-cation to Vegas with Phil*, I decided I needed a few days to myself to recharge and refresh, not just because of the craziness of the trip, but because after six weeks on eHarmony, hundreds of matches and three fairly full-on dates, I was suffering from Online Dating Fatigue (ODF).
Yep, it’s an actual thing.
The good news is, I’m not alone—a surprising number of guys I’ve spoken to through eHarmony told me they regularly pop on and off online dating sites, taking a break so they can come back with a fresh perspective and a lot of my female friends also admit to suffering from ODF.
“I go through stages of not caring about dating and talking to people, but then I want someone around to share experiences with. It’s a hard balance that I don’t think anyone can get right,” one guy said.
“It can get so exhausting; especially if you have a run of failed dates or a run of rejections … self-doubt can creep in and take residence on your sofa,” a female friend added.
While online dating has many advantages—it’s fun, exciting, different, a great way to learn more about yourself and to possibly meet Mr/Miss Right, or Mr/Miss Right Now—it can also be time-consuming, exhausting, draining and overwhelming; it requires time, energy and brainpower.
From answering questions and writing emails to reading profiles and looking through photos, and then there’s the dates themselves—dealing with nerves, trying to make conversation, putting your best foot forward … it all takes effort.
It’s like having a second job. And, let’s be honest, dating shouldn’t be a struggle.
In such a busy world, online dating provides a chance to reach a wider group of people than what you may encounter day-to-day and to chat to them how/when suits you—but that doesn’t mean you should spend all your free time scrolling through profiles or checking to see if that guy/girl you were matched with has replied to your email.
Putting that much pressure on yourself to find someone won’t make you happy. You’ll just end up with RSI in your thumb!
I realised I was suffering from ODF when I considered throwing my phone out the window. All the profiles started looking the same and I couldn’t be bothered to reply to same the questions over and over again.
Why? Because I was overwhelmed; I honestly didn’t realise there were so many single men in Brisbane, and suddenly they were all sitting in my inbox requiring some kind of response.
And although it sounds like a good thing that I got so many matches (and it was because it meant I could be a bit ruthless and cull the ones that I didn’t feel a physical attraction to), but it was a lot of pressure for someone who hadn’t been in the dating game for a while.
“What’s going on? Why are all these people messaging me? Do I need to date them all? What am I looking for? Do I even want a relationship? Oh my god, whyyyyyyyyy?” was my initial reaction.
“What the f*** does the 250 kilo plus Power Ranger and computer game loving man think we have in common?” was my next one.
It made me want to hide out on a remote island with no internet coverage … especially when they started finding me on my social media accounts (guys/girls … if your ‘match’ hasn’t responded to you through whatever dating site you’re using, don’t start stalking them on social media, I can tell you now that they won’t like it).
After arriving home from Vegas, I realised that I probably needed a couple of extra days away from the demands of dating, but rather than ‘hide’ my profile, I decided just to not log on.
I expected that with no interaction from my end, my profile would simply gather dust, but with eHarmony’s compatibility matching working behind the scenes, I continued to gather suitors.
So when I jumped back on yesterday for a quick squiz to see if I had any new matches, I had a whole new bunch waiting for me.
This time, rather than be overwhelmed and log straight back off (as I was doing before Vegas), I decided to immediately start the culling process, not stopping until I got it down to 10 compatibility matches and two ‘what ifs’.
I also decided the best thing to do was to schedule a small window of time into my day to log on, check out my matches and respond to any emails from people I’m maybe interested in. Once that’s done, I log off and go about my day.
If you are suffering from online dating fatigue, here are some tips to help you deal with it:
· Take a short break (but don’t give up entirely)—come back refreshed and with a fresh perspective.
· Re-do your profile—mix it up, choose new photos and perhaps get a friend’s advice if you’re not sure why you aren’t getting the response you hoped for.
· Keep busy—put down your phone/computer, see your friends, go to a movie, try something new, go for a walk and enjoy some fresh air. Online dating shouldn’t be your only focus.
· Have a laugh with your mates—laughter is good for the soul (and the appearance!).
· Keep things in perspective! It’s JUST a date—just because you haven’t found the ‘love of your life’ in the first four weeks doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. And don’t taint all guys/girls with the same brush!
· And, in the words of my favourite breakup-badass, Taylor Swift—SHAKE IT OFF!
* Not his real name.
This post was brought to you by eHarmony. Please support the companies that support this blog.