How to Date Without Burnout

By Betsy Callan, AM, LCSW

Dating today is completely different than generations prior. In the past, people relied on meeting potential partners at a bar, through friends, or at singles events. Today, we rely on dating apps where we are exposed to hundreds of possible connections at a time. We spend our time swiping and engaging in repetitive small talk. The reality is that each person is speaking to several people at once, so flaking on plans and ghosting is the norm. It is only natural to experience burnout after multiple rejections; but what if these disappointing situations could decrease in frequency or be avoided altogether? I facilitate a group that explores these issues while teaching ways to date more effectively.

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Being inundated with prospects, it’s easy to “swipe right” far more frequently than you would actually approach people in person. With so many options, it’s easy to lose sight of exactly what we are looking for in a partner and how these qualities may be evident in even the earliest stages of dating. I have encouraged members of my group to take time and thoughtfully identify what is important in their future relationship.

Typically, people will write down “checklist” items, such as physical features, financial status, education, and occupation. 

While all of these can be important, I want them to think about how their ideal partner would act in a relationship with them. 

Take a minute to think about this for yourself. How would you like your potential partner to show up in the relationship? 

Once you have identified these values for yourself, I want you to think about how you would operationalize them within the context of early stages of dating. Here are some examples:

  • Value: My partner makes me a priority.

  • Action: My date responds to my text messages on a consistent basis and does not flake out on planned dates.

  • Value: My partner is a good communicator.

  • Action: My date not only discloses thoughts and feelings with me, but also expresses curiosity about my life.

  • Value: My partner shares most of my values.

Action: My date not only identifies with my future plans such as career ambition and/or having a family, but also prioritizes similar areas of their life (i.e. friends, family, or career).

Once you see a prospective partner behave in a way that is not in accordance with your value(s), you can make the decision to end communication with this person (hopefully, not by ghosting). Of course, it may be necessary to give yourself more time to get to know the person before breaking it off, but continue  to assess if this relationship aligns with what you want long term. The hope is that you will use your time intentionally to prevent resentment and burnout from dating in general. 

In a dating culture that feels exhausting, this is a chance to empower yourself by choosing what is best for you in a partnership.

Betsy Callan, LCSW

Creator and Facilitator of Navigating Millennial Dating

Wednesdays 5:45pm-6:45pm beginning September 18th