Dating Fatigue: Why Self-Compassion is Necessary

Over and over again, I hear men and women griping that there is a severe lack of eligible singles. Men complain that women are using them as a meal ticket and women complain that men do not know how to plan an appropriate date. More and more of my friends and clients are tired of online dating and are willingly choosing to remain single. Yet, it is not the choice that comes with empowerment and exhilaration, it is the choice that comes from exhaustion and hopelessness.

If you don’t remember the opinion piece on dating in Silicon Valley a few years back, it is an unfortunately common description of dating experiences. All I can say is, no wonder everyone is exhausted! Those whom process their life through emotions are thrown into a larger pool of people who think that emotions are crazy talk. We simply do not understand that half of us are emotionally centered beings and the other half, while we have emotions, process our world more logically. It makes dating feel like a complete and utter nightmare.

Dating fatigue is defined as the result of continuing to date, over time, with perceived lack of success in finding a high quality partner.

Sometimes this lack of success IS related to living in the wrong location for your personality type (one could also check an astro location chart — we started doing this for our clients and it helped take the personal disappointment out of the WTF is going on with dating in this city). Other times, there is simply no commitment to going through the journey and the process for the learning. In today’s world, we are not learning in our marriages, we are learning in our dating life — with multiple people. It is no mistake that so many of us are suffering from dating fatigue.

Do you have any of these symptoms of dating fatigue?

  • Feeling “over” dating

  • Not bothering to return emails, text messages or calls

  • Telling friends you would rather be single even though you long for a healthy relationship

  • Feeling bored on dates

  • Exhaustion and increased negative thoughts about finding someone

  • Increased negative talk about people you are meeting

  • Increased symptoms of anxiety and/or depression

  • Showing up to 5 star dinner dates in yoga pants simply because you no longer give a crap about whomever you are meeting nor give a crap about the waiter staring at you (this is an actual client story)

How do these symptoms affect your long term chances of finding love?

Research discusses the importance of having a positive mindset while attempting to find and maintain a healthy relationship. If you are burnt out and struggling to recover, the chances are that your dating fatigue is attracting emotionally unavailable people. Why? Dating fatigue is a sign you are emotionally unavailable yourself and we usually attract mirrors that reflect our inner state.

It sucks, I know.

And guess what? That also means you may be emotionally unavailable to screen out red flags and may end up in a continued cycle of horrible dating experiences and creating the self-fulfilling prophecy that you are meant to be single while all your other friends are married! This is how repeated karmic relationships end up in your life. It is not a recipe for future success in the relationship department!

What is a recipe for success? Mindful dating. How do you get there? Be radically honest with yourself about your levels of self-compassion.

Recovering from dating fatigue is not about bolstering your self-esteem

It is about cultivating self-compassion. Too many of us jump back to online dating as a cure for a disappointing experience. If you are not completely burnt out, doing this in a mindful manner may be enjoyable. But our search for joy through another person ultimately leads to disappointment. Self compassion is a skill that many researchers are realizing is the true key to leading a healthy and happy life. According to Dr. Kristen Neff,

“Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others…Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment? Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings.”

We all go through periods in which our dating lives and our relationships are less than stellar. Having compassion for yourself while walking this journey means we are more likely to maintain a positive mindset and less likely to have a negative outlook on dating. So while taking a dating detox can always be helpful, you must also be aware of how your thoughts affect your mood and behaviors or you will burn yourself out again and repeat the cycle.

Action steps to consider for recovery of dating fatigue

Fatigue is not one of those things that heals itself with a couple nights sitting on the couch watching Netflix. When it has gotten to this point, your mind, body and soul will need intervention.

Interventions for your mindset

  1. Therapy: Psychotherapy is the tool we use to better understand our thoughts and why we have them. While the modality of therapy does not always matter, take the time to find the RIGHT therapist. Your relationship with the therapist is more important than the type of therapy they practice.

  2. Monitor who you are spending time with: Many of us are more influenced by other people than we care to believe. If you are a sensitive person, it may be time to get rid of toxic people (with compassion)or limit your socializing with negative people.

  3. Monitor what you watch and read: Similar to above, if you are sensitive, you may need to take a digital detox and pick up a different kind of novel. You need to think of your mind as something you feed and healthy doses of positivity is helpful

Interventions for your body

  1. Yoga and Meditation: When we are in a chronic state of stress, our body physically cannot relax. Yogic practices of restorative yoga and yin yoga (rather than your hot yoga or power yoga classes) will help your body to recover. When you are in recovery mode, it is likely easier to meditate. If you are really exhausted, you can also try yoga nidra. Research is starting to show that 20 minutes of yoga nidra can be equivalent to multiple hours of sleep!!

  2. Get your vitamin levels checked: Most people in a state of exhaustion have multiple things going on. In my clients with chronic dating fatigue, their B vitamins are usually way off. Take the time to get that checkup. Your body is trying to tell you something!

Interventions for your soul

  1. Energy Healing: If you suspect you are a sensitive person, you likely have years of built up negative energy stuck in your body that needs to be released. If you have had multiple bad relationships, those energetic cords will need to be released. An energy healer or acupuncturist can help clear those blocks and help you feel more alive and balanced.

  2. Spiritual Development: As a society, we are chronically disconnected from our spirituality — for good reason. Most of us were very turned off by a religious upbringing that felt controlling and unnecessary. Sometimes, however, fatigue is trying to get you to slow down enough to listen to your soul. Whether you need to take a time out regarding your career or your personal life, taking a trip to a place that feels healing and nurturing is just as good for spiritual development as sitting in a cave meditating. If you are feeling called to travel, listen to your soul. It knows what is best for you!

“Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.” — Gloria Steinem

Article updated in 2019.

To discuss with Dr. Rhodes whether you need a plan to overcome your dating fatigue, email her now to schedule a time to chat. If you are interested in intuitive date coach training, please feel free to email her about this as well.