We are hard-wired to desire connection. After all, we are social beings. There is even immense research on the correlation between healthy relationships and mental health. But what if the quest to find and cultivate connections leads to weariness, specifically when seeking out healthy, romantic relationships? There’s a name for it, and it’s called “dating fatigue.”
According to Caitlin Cantor LCSW, CST, CGT, a writer for Psychology Today, “dating fatigue might present as an attitude of indifference, feeling depressed and hopeless, exhausted at the thought of another date, or thinking you’re ready to give up. Some people will experience dating fatigue after just a few dates, and others won’t experience it for a few years of dating.” I’d also like to add that symptoms of dating fatigue can present in the form of anxiety and apprehension around dating. It’s normal and healthy to take a break from the dating scene when you feel that it is emotionally, mentally, and physically necessary, but constant dating fatigue could signal that there is potentially more going on within that one is not aware of.
The pressure to find a partner and settle down is something that has been felt by many. These pressures can not only be self-inflicted but also can come come from numerous places, including cultural norms, family and friends and the media. For a lot of people, women especially, these pressures have been so influential in their dating experience that the voices of others take precedence over their own. When that happens, an individual can succumb to dating fatigue more frequently.
In addition to that, the dating landscape has changed drastically. Online dating has become a highly utilized tool for millions of single users, but there is plenty of research on dating disparities involving Black women. A lot of the research states that Black women are having a harder time finding a partner and are statistically less sought after compared to their counterparts of other races, which can lead to burnout on the dating scene. So how can Black women take care of their mental health while they are on their quest for love? It involves changing the way one looks at and plays the dating game.
- Learn from dating experiences, but don’t be defined by them. As women, we are often measured by what we have accomplished, especially when it comes to relationships. When dating experiences do not pan out as intended, women tend to internalize the demise of said relationship. Though it is important to hold oneself accountable and learn from each relationship and experience, it is important to not equate your value by the success of your relationships.
- Figure out what the root of your dating fatigue is. If you are becoming exhausted by the dating process, are you exhausted out of fear of taking a break from it? Maybe taking a pause would mean you will have to sit with yourself and reflect on how not finding the “right one” makes you feel, specifically about yourself. Or you may be fearful that the “right one” will no longer be available if you take a break. You might just be tired of encountering different energies, which is completely understandable. Understand the root cause so you can understand yourself and what your desire for companionship is rooted in.
- Don’t use someone else to run away from you. We all have baggage and there is nothing more exciting than being involved with someone who can see you beyond what you have been through. However, it is important to not put the onus of healing your trauma on your partner. Unpacking your baggage is your responsibility.
- Be okay with taking breaks. Once you understand that dating is not a race but your own personal journey and no one else’s, you will become comfortable with going at your own pace.
- Learn to enjoy your solitude. Do you know how powerful it is to thoroughly enjoy your own company? If you don’t, dating will serve as an escape as opposed to a choice.
- Know you non-negotiables. Get real about what your wants, needs, and non-negotiables are within a relationship and honor them. When you understand and uphold exactly what you are looking for, it saves you time and energy.
- Wine and dine yourself while looking for your partner. Even if you meet your soul mate tomorrow and live happily ever after, no one knows exactly what you need and the way you need it but you. Treat yourself, spoil yourself, and engage in activities that nourish your spirit before and while you’re in a relationship. The act of dating yourself communicates to your brain that happy hormones are not only attainable when engaging with someone else.
- Go where you’re celebrated. I know the research states that Black women are having a harder time in the search for love, but that does not negate the fact that there are potential partners who will love you just the way you are and are ready to uplift you.