You’ve likely heard of “burnout” as a result of over-working, but did you know you could mentally overextend yourself from over-dating, too? It’s true: Burnout isn’t exclusive to professional endeavors, it can be brought on by anything overly emotional taxing — and this includes swiping right. Fortunately, there are ways to tell if you’re burned out from dating and could use a break, and there’s no shame in taking one (or several) — the phenomenon is shockingly common.
“It happens all the time,” says Susan Trombetti, dating expert, matchmaker, and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking. “I spoke to a woman yesterday who went on 100 first dates because she thought that would increase her chances, only to be sitting in front of me crying that she was too exhausted to start again.”
You don’t need to go on 100 dates to feel the effects, either — it can happen after any number of dates (or swipes). “After continuously introducing yourself and trying to explore the depths of who you are with another person … [then] starting over … the experience of dating starts to feel more like a chore,” adds Amira Johnson, M.S.W., a therapist who specializes in women’s issues in Atlanta.
If any of this sounds familiar, read on for five signs it’s time to take a dating break.
You’re Starting To Lose Hope
If you find yourself a little too down in the dumps and so disappointed by dates gone awry you’re ready to give up completely, this is probably a sign to take a (well-deserved) break from the dating scene.
“Losing hope is the first sign of experiencing dating burnout,” Johnson explains. This can mean anything from thinking you'll be single forever, or you'll never find love again, so why bother?
If dating feels like you’re doing it just for the sake of doing it, even when your heart’s not in it, consider deleting dating apps and taking a breather.
It’s Affecting Your Mental Health
Even if you haven’t necessarily lost hope, if you’re feeling especially pessimistic or unexcited about meeting someone new, it may be time for a Hinge hiatus.
“Take a break from dating when you are bitter and negative, [when] it’s hard not to be positive when going on a date,” Trombetti suggests. Similarly, if the dating experience is causing you unnecessary stress or impacting your mental health, it’s definitely time to BRB. “If you find yourself depressed, stressed, and having your self-confidence taking a hit, it's time to take a short break,” she adds.
You’re Not Practicing Self-Care
If you’re so consumed with scheduling your next date you’re neglecting you time, it’s likely time to schedule just that. “Single people currently on the path of pursuing partners should make sure they are spending time getting to know themselves,” Johnson suggests. “Recognizing that you are already a whole being, not a half, will help you remember to take care of yourself while single and dating or in a relationship. There is no shame in taking time for yourself.”
If you’re feeling like you’ve put self-care on the back burner, put your phone on Do Not Disturb and indulge in some at-home, DIY self-care: face masks with friends, a relaxing bath or shower, or re-watching Schitt's Creek in bed. Allow yourself to indulge in some much-deserved you time!
You’re Seriously Struggling With Rejection
If you’re taking rejections personally —and they’re deeply affecting you — it may be a sign to take some time for yourself.
“Healthy and sustainable dating is when you can be happy knowing that there are going to be rejections, but that you handle them because you have great self-esteem and self-worth,” says Trombetti. If the rejections are hitting you hard, it’s perfectly OK to take some time to regroup and regain your confidence.
What’s more, it’s worth noting that rejections often aren’t personal. “As a matchmaker, I can tell you it rarely is your fault if someone isn't interested,” Trombetti adds. “People really suffer every time someone doesn't give them a second date and think it's them. It's not. Your date might have tons of other things going on, including not being ready to find love but thinking they are.”
You’re Not Having Fun
One of the most obvious symptoms of dating burnout is simply not enjoying yourself. “When you are burnt out, you tend to run in the other direction,” Trombetti explains. [Dating] becomes a dreaded chore [and] becomes something that you procrastinate on doing.”
If you’ve reached the point that you’d rather do dishes than go on a date, I think you know what to do: Take a break! (And maybe do those dishes.) Dating is supposed to be fun and exciting. If it’s anything but, take a dating siesta!
But What If I Don't Want To Take A Break?
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above but still don’t want to take a break, you might want to consider one anyway — the alternative isn’t exactly a walk in the park, either.
“Refusing to take a break from dating can definitely take a toll on one's mental, physical, and emotional health,” Johnson concludes. “[It] can lead to people coming to conclusions that they are not enough, feeling like a failure, and consistently feeling sad.”
Plus, there's no "right" timeline for meeting someone or falling in love. Meet-cutes can happen at any age or time, and you're far from behind if it hasn't happened yet. If anything, taking a break might help you return to the dating world feeling more refreshed and energized than ever.
There is never any shame in taking care of yourself, or taking breaks — in fact, it’s amazing to know exactly what you need! Plus, “breaks” look different for everyone. Maybe you delete your apps entirely, or maybe you simply put a pause on in-person dates for a week or two. Do what makes you feel your best, and don't return to dating until you feel 100% recharged.
Remember, there's no better relationship than the one you have with yourself.