“Dating burnout is real, it happened to me”

In 2014, several dating apps in the UK attracted a lot of attention. I had read that Tinder was a cool upcoming dating app. I was excited to use it because I wanted to have fun dating; I wasn’t looking for anything serious, I just wanted to meet women casually.

When I first downloaded the app I really enjoyed it. Whenever I texted people, I was immediately honest and direct about my intentions. It seemed that many others also wanted to date casually.

A month after joining a few dating apps, I was talking to six to ten different people every day. The conversations were humorous and sometimes interesting and instructive. Sometimes I’d go on a date with someone a few days after talking, and sometimes I’d see her the same day I’d started talking to her.

I loved the attention I received online. Every time I met someone I felt very lucky. It was so easy to meet people; I felt it was almost equivalent to getting likes on an Instagram photo. I got a dopamine rush every time someone agreed with me.

Alex Douglas experienced dating burnout
Alex Douglas (pictured) first downloaded dating apps in 2014.
Alex Douglas

My experience from a lot of people

I started dating a lot of people casually and sometimes I would meet three women on a Saturday. I had a plan ahead of time, which usually included a morning brunch, a midday activity, and an evening dinner. I was often transparent and told some of these women that I was seeing other people. They, too, would say that they had other appointments planned.

Out of habit, I soon started dating because I liked the attention I was getting. I invited someone to do even the smallest of activities like running with me, and while it was productive, it ate away at the time I normally spent with my friends, family, or at work. I became adamant about using dating apps. I felt like it was addictive.

I had perfected the dating process in terms of saying and doing the right things to make someone want me. For example, on a first date, I knew someone was flirting with me because they were smiling excessively or playing with their hair. Below the surface, I was sincere with a lot of the people I dated, although mostly I just liked the attention I got.

But eventually I felt like dating became like a job interview. For me it was very systematic. I was used to asking the same questions to understand what my interlocutor wanted, his likes and dislikes, his hobbies and outlook on life.

It was exciting at first, but then I became desensitized. On a few occasions I’ve been overwhelmed with scheduling multiple appointments with different people. It felt tedious and boring; It was also overwhelming because some people kept changing their minds. I got frustrated quickly.

I stopped on a certain date because I found that the questions being asked were very formulaic because I had dated so many people over a very long period of time. I just wanted to have fun, but it seemed like I was burned out by the repetitive nature of dating.

During my dates, people would ask me, “Did you hear what I just said?” or “Are you concentrating?” I would politely apologize and say I was tired.

Because I was talking to so many people, I couldn’t put my phone down. I kept scrolling through dating apps, to the point where one of my friends told me I was distracted.

I felt like there was an internal struggle going on for wanting a dopamine cleanse, but my attention span couldn’t handle talking to so many people at once anymore.

Alex Douglas experienced dating burnout
Alex Douglas (pictured) began dating burnout in 2014.
Alex Douglas

I realized that constantly disrupting your time throughout the day can really transform the way you think, your mental health, and your ability to focus.

In hindsight, I now realize that the main burnout symptom I experienced at the time was a very short concentration span, feeling very unhappy all the time, and not being in control of my life.

I was starting to feel dissatisfied with myself for having to go through such a monotonous dopamine cleanse process over and over again. I had to start telling a few people that going out with them was too much for me.

reflect on my actions

During the holiday season of 2015, I turned off my phone on Christmas Day so I could spend time with my family. The fact that I was fighting for it shocked me. It’s a tradition for me not to have my phone with me on Christmas Day, but this year felt different. I was so used to talking to multiple people all the time that I felt uncomfortable.

Throughout the day I started thinking. I realized I was a bit addicted to dating apps and ignored the fact that I was very overwhelmed and burned out at the same time. While it felt strange not being on my phone, it also felt good not having to talk to so many people.

Alex Douglas experienced dating burnout
Alex Douglas sometimes went on three dates in one day until he realized he was burned out. Image from a photo agency.
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I knew I didn’t want to keep going out casually. Before Christmas, I had a conversation with another friend who told me that they hadn’t seen me as much as they used to, so I realized that I had also distanced myself from my friends and family.

After that Christmas, I decided to stop using dating apps. It was difficult for the first few weeks, but I started to fill my time with other things. In 2014 I became a fitness instructor and after quitting dating apps I started exercising more and getting involved with other clients. I’ve also spent more time with my friends and family.

A few months later, I realized that I was more mindful about things than rushing through life. I started hanging out with friends and wasn’t as distracted anymore. It has also helped me get back into a healthy rhythm without feeling overwhelmed.

I currently enjoy working as a personal trainer. I am also starting my own business where I am a spokesperson. Looking back, I realize I should have limited the number of appointments I had in a week. But now I’m very disciplined about the way I take my time.

Alex Douglas is a personal trainer and voice note artist. You can find out more about him here.

All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

As Carine Harb, Associate Editor of Newsweek, said.

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https://www.newsweek.com/dating-burnout-real-it-happened-me-1775260 “Dating burnout is real, it happened to me”

Rick Schindler

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