Most people start online dating feeling enthusiastic or at the very least, willing. Then after a number of frustrations, annoyances, and disappointments the eagerness to date wears down into exhaustion, resignation, and despair. There’s no doubt that online dating can be a roller coaster with its fair share of ups and downs, but what do you do if you’re starting to feel online dating fatigue but still really want to meet someone?
There are ways you can make online dating interesting that don’t depend on who your date is but rather on who you are on your date.
Approach dating as a way to grow as an individual. If you approach dating as an opportunity for you to grow with yourself, you may feel like some of the pressure has gone away. No matter who the person you’re dating is, or how the date goes, you can still use the experience as a way to better yourself. Approach each encounter as a training ground to experiment with new behaviors.
Try out different ways of chatting and connecting.Each date is an opportunity to explore different ways of communicating and embody different qualities you wish you had more of. Even if you’re not interested in the person, use the time to practice trying out different dating behaviors that you need to work on.
For example, I knew a woman who was a psychotherapist. When she went on dates she often molded the conversations by asking a ton of leading, profound questions to find out who someone was. This took the conversations she had to deeper levels than what her dates would have brought up on their own, but also may have been somewhat uncomfortable.
The depth of sharing was really coming from her, not her dates. Once she became aware of her pattern, she chose to practice a new behavior. She committed to intentionally sitting back and seeing how her dates filled the space and time without her directing the conversations to deeper levels. What did her dates share about themselves? Did they ask her questions? Did they keep the conversation on the surface level or would they move it to a deeper level without her having to take it their herself?
Ultimately, she was still able to have the deeper conversations she craved but only with men who were really looking for the same thing.
If you’re looking to mix up how you date, a good idea is to reflect on your dating style and ask yourself these questions:
- What is my usual behavior when I meet someone?
- What new behaviors do I want to try?
- What behaviors do I want to do less of when meeting someone new?
- Am I as honest and direct as I want to be?
- Am I being authentic and real?
- Do I hold eye contact?
- Do I state my feelings and needs?
- Do I share enough about myself or do I listen too much?
- Do I share too much about myself and or do I not listen enough?
- What do I want to change for myself that I can practice during this date?
Before going out on the date, have a specific intention (choose one thing) of what you want to practice. If you make personal growth one focus of dating, then you won’t feel nearly as disappointed if you discover you’re not interested in someone.
Because no matter who the other person is, you’ve learned something about being with yourself. Maybe you experimented with holding eye contact longer or allowed yourself to be entertained by your own story-telling or courageously expressed your opinions and said when you didn’t like something. All of that is progress and are part of dating that allows you to grow more confident and happy with yourself.
Dating is about meeting new people but it’s about you! Each date is a date with yourself. Make sure you walk away from it having learned something.
Deva Joy Gouss, LCSW, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Atlanta Georgia for over thirty years. She and her husband give weekend couple retreat workshops called Nurturing Your Love. She also facilitates many other kinds of trainings and workshops including Council of All Beings, Tribe Time, Marrying Yourself, Yoga and Movement Celebration to name a few. She is author of Re-arranged, Never the same: The Nature of Grief and Toolbox of Hope, For When Your Body Doesn’t Feel Good. Visit Deva Joy at www.healingheartcommunications.com.