“Dating should be fun, so why do I find it tedious?”

Written by Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

Does anyone else feel like life has sucked the joy out of romance? As writer Lauren Geall explores, there are many factors that seem to have made dating and relationships seem more of a chore than ever. 

A couple of months back, I decided I was ready to date – properly. I’d spent way too many evenings absentmindedly scrolling through dating apps, and I felt excited by the idea of building a connection with someone. So, one evening, I sat down with my phone and started swiping.

Over the next couple of weeks, I spoke to a handful of people and ended up going on a couple of nice dates. But it didn’t take long for that initial jubilant feeling to fizzle out. The whole experience felt a little bit lacking. Before long, swiping left and right began to feel like a chore again – like I was simply going through the motions for the sake of it. 

I know I’m not the only one who has felt this way. You only need to type the words ‘dating burnout’ into Google to get a sense of the problem; last year, a survey of 500 18–54-year-olds revealed that nearly 80% had experienced emotional burnout or fatigue from modern dating. This issue is so widespread that experts are even writing books about it – clinical sexologist Myisha Battle’s recent book This Is Supposed To Be Fun: How To Find Joy In Hooking Up, Settling Down, And Everything In Between is a prime example.

But dating is, at its core, supposed to be fun. So why are so many of us finding it to be such a bloody slog?

As you might have guessed, I have my theories. I think the main issue is how much energy, time and effort dating apps take up. In a similar way to how email and instant messaging have made it harder for us to switch off from work at 5.30pm, so too have dating apps made finding love a 24/7 job. From push notifications to live games and email reminders, every part of the online dating experience is geared towards getting you back to swiping.  

That’s not only exhausting but it often feels invasive. I already find myself overwhelmed by the task of replying to all my friends, let alone random people I’ve never met – and seeing push notifications pop up while I’m watching Modern Family before bed just adds to that pressure.  

I have a sneaking suspicion our obsession with self-optimisation is a part of it, too. Dating is, by definition, a messy and uncomfortable thing. That’s kind of the beauty of it, right? The awkwardness of those first meetings, the moments of anxiety and insecurity and the messy first kisses on random street corners all add up to make dating what it is.

But in an era when we’re taught to analyse our emotions and pathologise the behaviours of those around us, that rollercoaster of thoughts and experiences can feel like a sign that something’s wrong, eventually leading to an unhealthy reliance on modern dating discourse.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s something satisfying about seeing yourself represented in the new dating trend sweeping its way across social media. But when we spend more time thinking about a situation than engaging in it, it’s not hard to see how things can quickly become tedious. 

I don’t have the answers to all of this; if I did, I wouldn’t be sitting here publicly reflecting on the monotony of my recent romantic endeavours. However, I’m confident there is a way to make dating fun again, even if it’s not a quick fix. Dating will always have its peaks and troughs, but it’s not supposed to feel like work – and we should be worried that we’ve got to a place where searching for love feels like another item on our to-do lists.

Perhaps, if all else fails, we could try stripping dating back to its basic premise: finding connection. It may sound cheesy, but that’s really all dating is about. And while that may not offer the dopamine hit of securing endless matches or the satisfaction of dissecting your date’s personality, it may turn out to be just what the doctor ordered.

Image: Getty 

Source: Read Full Article