You're not on a "bad" date; you're on the worst date ever. And considering the string of duds you've been going out with lately, that's saying a lot. The ice in your already watery Aperol Spritz starts to melt as you listen to yet another story about someone named "Staci with an 'I'," who gave them "a lot of mixed signals, even though she said she didn't want a relationship." You can't find anyone remotely cute or fun, and you literally forget what it feels like to develop a crush. But guess what? If dating sucks right now, you're totally not alone.
"It's very common," life coach Nina Rubin tells Elite Daily. "You may feel worn out, annoyed, irritable, or bored because of recent experiences and feeling like you’ll 'never meet someone." Of course, you are a beautiful butterfly with so much to offer, and anyone would be lucky to date you. While a dating rut may feel endless, nothing lasts forever. Bad haircuts grow out, leather boots break in, and your dating luck will turn around — I promise you this.
If you're looking for more romantic light at the end of the tunnel, read on for seven spicy tips.
1. Celebrate Your Growth
According to Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching, feeling like you're "over" dating can mean that you're getting closer to finding the type relationship that you're actually looking for. "Rather than going through the motions with people you’re not into (which can also be exhausting), you’re likely weeding through people after the first date," Martinez says. "Celebrate the fact that you’re getting it down to a science!" Maybe a younger you would have swooned over the band boy that never texted you back (me), but the current you deleted their number. Or maybe you finally believed Todd from accounting when he told you he wasn't in a place for a relationship. Whatever the case, if you find yourself in a dating lull, it might be because you're enforcing your standards, and that, my friends, is a big flippin' deal.
2. Continue To Be Selective
There is nothing wrong with knowing what you want and not settling for anything less. In fact, if you feel like dating sucks right now, it may help you to be more selective.
"Be more choosy with who you go out with," Trina Leckie, host of the Breakup BOOST podcast, tells Elite Daily. "Don’t just go out with anyone who shows a glimmer of interest. The more screening you do, the less chance of ending up frustrated."
Leckie shares that when going out with an internet cutie, asking to talk on the phone or FaceTime before meeting up IRL can save you both some time and energy. Maybe you ask about their hobbies before meeting up or try to hang out in a group before hanging one-on-one. Whatever the case, doing some pre-date screening can help you ensure that your date won't be completely terrible. "At least you can say you had a good time, even if it wasn’t a 'match,'" Leckie says.
3. Take A Break From Dating
Of course, if you can't even look at your Hinge profile right now, or the idea of putting on pants and meeting someone for drinks sounds worse than getting your whole body waxed, it may be time for a #dating #break. "It’s better to be kind to yourself by not dating than to date to please others," Rubin says. "Each week, check in and ask yourself if it’s time to put your profile back up or if you’re OK as is." Whether you delete your online dating profiles or take a breather from going out, Rubin suggests setting aside some time for yourself to step back and reflect. "You won’t 'fall behind,'" Rubin says.
Martinez agrees that stepping back from dating and committing to self-care can be a great way to reboot your love life. "Sometimes, you just need to refocus on yourself, so you’re not resentful or closed off when the right person comes along," Martinez says.
4. Be Kind To Yourself
There are so many Lizzo songs I could quote right now, but I'll leave you with: "I know how to love me." If dating is bringing you down, do things to bring yourself up. Perhaps you write the things you love about yourself on Post-Its and hang them around your room. Or maybe you take a pottery class or go to yoga. Whatever you do, give yourself all the lovin' you can.
"Do things that make you happy and inject joy into your life," Leckie says. "When you exude inner happiness, it shows to other people, and you can attract more quality people." According to Leckie, if dating feels fruitless, putting time and effort into yourself and your hobbies can help you take off any pressure to find a relationship or partner. "You usually meet the ones you really click with when you least expect it, not when you are desperately searching," Leckie says.
5. Take Yourself On A Date
Going out to eat, checking out that new coffee place, or slurping up some nice wine doesn't have to be a romantic thing. If dating is bringing you down, take your bestie or your sister out. Heck, take yourself out on your own dream date. "Don’t wait to do awesome things with a partner," Rubin says. "Do them with friends or alone. Get to know yourself." As Rubin shares, taking yourself out can teach you more about who you are and what you're looking for.
6. Focus On What You Really Want
Listen, I'll be the first to say that after a string of bad dates or months of no dates, I notice my standards begin to slip. (Cue me pretending to be interested in watching TV with my date's roommate on our first date. You heard me.)
According to Leckie, if dating feels taxing, it's important to remember what you're actually looking for. "Make a list of what you really want in someone and stay focused on those qualities," Leckie says. As Leckie shares, keeping an open mind is important, but there's no need to waver on your deal-breakers. If you know that you don't want to date someone that drinks during the week or it's imperative to you that your partner spends time with their family, don't play yourself just because you haven't been interested in anyone else. "When you let things slide, you will find yourself in the same situations," Leckie says.
7. Look For Patterns
Again, if you're anything like me, you may frequently find yourself watching TV with someone's roommates on a first date or hearing all about their ex (who they're clearly not over) one week in. If this is true for you, too, it may be time to examine your dating patterns.
Though bad luck in the romance department is certainly not your fault, noticing your habits, and moreover, how to modify them, can help dating suck a little less. "Find the patterns and figure out how they are negatively contributing what’s going on," Martinez says. "Are you dating the same person over and over? Are you reacting in similar ways to each partner?" Recognizing the bad stuff can be helpful (read: No more people that don't text me back in a timely manner). However, Martinez shares that noticing the stuff you do like about dating is a great practice, as well. "Think about some of the consistent positives and do more of that," Martinez says. Whether you respond well to verbal affirmations or prefer to have first dates during the day, noticing what you like about dating can reframe your love life in a positive way.
Maybe your last six dates ended with you walking yourself home to eat Cheez-Its in your pajamas, or you can't even think about kissing someone right now. Point blank: the hunt for romance can be pretty far from romantic. Try taking some time for yourself and thinking about what you really want. While going out with a boo can be fun, taking yourself to dinner or spending time with friends can be a guaranteed good time. And though your dating luck is sure to turn around soon, being kind to yourself is a practice that lasts forever.