I have a love-hate relationship with dating. On the one hand, it’s super fun to put on a cute outfit, meet someone new, and try my best to seem charming and witty. But on the other hand, dating is exhausting, and I get really tired of putting myself out there. Sometimes, the last thing I want to do on a weeknight after work is go have drinks with a relative stranger.
1. Space out your dates.
If you’re on a date and your heart isn’t in it, it won’t be a good experience for anyone. “If you’re discouraged and fatigued (mentally and/or physically) you’re not going to go into any date ready to succeed,” Masini says. “So, pace yourself.” Make a personal commitment to leave time in your schedule just for you.
2. Don’t say yes immediately.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone to reschedule for a day or week that works better for you. Maybe you’re technically free in the evenings one week, but you know you’ve got a huge project due at work, and you’d rather not book yourself up every night. Or maybe, Masini says, “you have a spate of bad dates [and] you need to hunker down and regroup before getting back out there.”
3. Keep living your best life.
Sure, romantic relationships are one facet of life, but they’re not the whole pie. To keep yourself from feeling like dating is taking over your brain, spend time pursuing hobbies and friendships that bring you joy. “Don’t stop being fun, interesting, and healthy, and don’t stop living your best life,” Masini says. “The more fortified you feel, the less your mediocre dates will get you down.”
4. Date yourself.
Ultimately, you can’t open your heart to someone else until you make space to love yourself first. And taking care of your emotional health is a huge piece of this puzzle. “Respect your process,” Masini advises. Everyone’s ideal dating routine is going to be different, but the key is establishing boundaries so you don’t get too disheartened. Take breaks when you need them, and don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself in the process.
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