6 Ways to Avoid Dating App Burnout

How to avoid dating app burn out

Burnout has been a word on most people’s tongues for the past few years, and there’s a reason for its rise in popularity. The use of the term skyrocketed after the pandemic when people had fewer outlets to get out of their routines and create a healthy balance in their day-to-day life. Because of this, people began to get burnt out on just about everything, including dating app burnout.

From work to exercise, from certain foods to their everyday lives, people began to not only get bored with their routines but also despise them. But what happens when you start feel dating app burnout?

I know it might sound silly to burn out from something that ought to be enjoyable, but 2020 proved that we can get burnt out on almost everything, even something that is made to be fun, enjoyable, and relatively low-pressure.

Dating burnout (or just dating app burnout) is more common than you would think. Not only is dating in and of itself exhausting, but once you throw in apps and messaging and everything involved with making dating apps work into the mix, you can see why so many people get fatigued so quickly.

No matter how much you might like swiping endlessly on potential matches, nor how much success you might find on the apps, you can still get burnt out pretty fast if you don’t put in the proper boundaries in your life, you can start to see the vast number of potential opportunities that dating apps provide for you as more of a chore than a blessing.

It takes the joy out of the possibility of finding someone online.

How Does Dating App Burnout Happen?

While the name is self-explanatory, dating app burnout is a very complex and fascinating subject. Match.com’s chief dating expert, Rachel DeAlto, says, “Dating burnout is not only common but normal.” While it might not be the most talked about (or even common) form of exhaustion, dating burnout is one of the most destructive things that can happen to your romantic life.

Dating app burnout most commonly shows itself through symptoms like

  • loss of interest
  • low motivation
  • self-doubt
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • feelings of dread
  • general negative-based outlook on life

All these symptoms can manifest in your dating life and cause you to lose interest in it altogether. If you feel any of these things, take stock of what you want in your relationship, take a step back from dating, and reassess what you’re looking for and how you feel about the search process.

It’s no secret that dating apps can drain you faster than regular dating. Because of the constant reminders and pings and things to respond to and do on dating apps, people will usually find themselves more burnt out than they ever thought was possible.

And that’s fair because dating apps are a hove unlike any other place where you’re met with hundreds of potential matches, and they’re all messaging you at once. It’s unlike anything else and can get highly overwhelming in very little time.

The structure of dating apps and the method by which people find success in them can also be exhausting and lead to dating app burnout. Dating is a numbers game; you want to be present and consistent on all the apps you’re trying out. Still, you don’t want to overextend yourself and get a bad taste for dating completely.

Also, if you’re swiping at potential matches when you’re in a bad mood, not only can you not give the effort required to foster a good relationship on the app, but you’re also going to be grumpy scrolling and more likely to say “no” to matches that would serve you well.

In the end, dating apps are designed to make dating easy, fun, and successful. They’re designed to work for you, so don’t let the constant influx of notifications and to-do’s affect your mental space.

Even though they can be exhausting, they can also be some of the most successful forms of online dating for finding the most people who are the best for you.

Rachel DeAlto says that dating fatigue has been around long before dating apps. The apps just spur it on a bit. She says dating fatigue can happen “anytime daters are putting in a lot of effort but not seeing the results they want.” This idea can cause many relationship troubles and negatively affect how you see dating as a whole.

If you’re wondering about some of our favorite tips and tricks for preventing dating app burnout, here are the pointers that have prevented us from being “over it.”

1. Don’t Take Your Time for Granted

If you’ve used any social media app, you’ll know that it can become very addictive. Sometimes you can settle in and open up your apps, then three hours pass in a blink, and you haven’t moved.

 DeAlto recommends limiting one’s usage of online dating apps to 15-20 minutes per day. This way, there is a bit of a boundary around the time you spend online, and you’re less likely to experience dating app burnout. Now, if you’re talking to someone you really like and want to go a little longer, we’re not your parent; you’re more than welcome to spend as much time on the apps as you’d like.  

The Well + Good reports that the average Tinder user spends about 90 minutes a day scrolling through their potential matches, resulting in over 12 hours a week, making Tinder swiping almost akin to a part-time job, something we don’t want to put on our resumes, thank you very much.

We’re also not here to judge, but unless you’re having a deep and meaningful conversation on the app, you don’t need to endlessly scroll through all the available matches. Not only will that give you decision and dating fatigue, but it will also burn you out and turn you off of dating quicker than almost anything could.

Instead, try to spend 15-20 minutes on the app mindfully looking through who you want to date and who you could see a future with. This is a great time to explore what you want from a partner and why you’re on the apps. You can only grow when you emphasize mindfulness in your time spent scrolling.

Not to mention, being more mindful when using these dating apps means saving yourself and all of your matches time and energy. No one wants to waste time. Usually, the biggest time wasters happen when one of you is making thoughtless decisions.

You’ll also be able to send more meaningful and direct messages, rather than the odd ‘Hey’ or ‘How are you’ if you’re being mindful.

2. Don’t Swipe Just to Swipe

This is something I had to remind myself almost too often when I first started swiping on Tinder. I would often get stuck in the mindset of swiping for the sake of it just to see all my options. Then I would continue to swipe and never stop. Instead, try to go for quality over quantity. If you’re a numbers person, set out to find two suitable matches every day. Once you’ve located them, stop scrolling for the day — you’ve already done what you came on to do!

Talia Goldstein, the founder of the matchmaking service, Three Day Rule, says, “People swipe too much, especially millennials… They’re going on so many dates all the time and it’s really easy to experience dating app burnout.” Instead of swiping, she suggests dating app users focus on a small group of people (like two or three) and seek to enjoy time with them instead of always looking for someone new.

3. Establish Your Boundaries and Know Your No’s

This is one of the most important things you should do when starting with a dating app. Many people go into dating apps and approach sing in general in an unfocused and confusing way. While not everyone will know exactly what they want (this isn’t Amazon, it’s Tinder), and a lot of the fun surrounding dating apps comes from learning what you want, this is the time to focus. Get clear about why you’re on the app, who you’re looking for, and what you really want from this experience.

DeAlto suggests that those struggling to figure out or find what they want on the app define “four personality characteristics that you absolutely need in your person and only dating people that meet [those characteristics].”

No one wants to waste anyone’s time on these apps, and the best way to not waste anyone’s time is to focus and think about what it is you really want in a mate. This also plays into scrolling mindfully and being intentional about who you swipe on, your conversations, and the time and energy you spend on the app.

While it might not prevent anything bad from happening, and you’ll still probably match with some duds, there’s less of a chance that you’ll connect with people with whom you have nothing in common. And you’re more likely to scroll through all your potential mates faster and more clearly.

4. Try Something New in Your Dating Life

This is one of my favorite new dating terms because it’s precisely what I did — and it worked wonders for me! If you find yourself stuck in a rut and dating the same person over and over again, start open casting your dating life and accept people you might never have thought about before.

One of the biggest perks of online dating is that you’re getting access to a considerable number of people who you otherwise would have never met.

Take advantage of that opportunity and avoid matching with and meeting the same people you always have. This is also a great time to experiment with dating and take chances that you never have before.

5. Keep Track of Your Energy

Sometimes, trying online dating can feel like you’re running a marathon, if not a very fun marathon full of cute and attractive people. If you’re trying to avoid dating app burnout, then make sure you’re staying energized and excited when you get on the apps.

Goldstein says, “Some people go out when they’re really tired, but you need to be your best self. When you’re on a date with somebody, they feel the energy and whether or not you’re excited to be there.”

The same rule applies when you’re online dating. You will drain your energy if you’re constantly on the app or scrolling through potential matches. It’s the fastest way you can get turned off from online dating — and dating in general. When you keep track of your energy, you’ll be less likely to experience dating app burnout as fast, and you’ll also find online dating more enjoyable.

Remember, this should be a fun and exciting time. Suppose you’re starting to feel like it’s giving you more pressure than it ought to or feeling like a chore or a job. It might be a good time to take a step back, rest and reset, and then get back into the online dating world when you’re ready, refreshed, and in a good headspace.

6. Give It a Minute

I know, swiping on dating apps isn’t a professional sport, and it’s not like you have to replenish your electrolytes after every match (get it? It’s a play on words). But you’ll still want to take some pretty hefty breaks in your day to avoid dating app burnout.

If scrolling through your dating app or responding to messages feels similar to chores or a second job, it might be time to rethink how you use dating apps. And just like everything else, it might be good to consider adding a break to your dating app schedule.

If you’re utilizing the fifteen-minute rule, these breaks might be that you scroll for five minutes, get up and go somewhere, then scroll for another five minutes later during the day.

You don’t want to end up in a bad mood when you’re looking for your potential match because you’ll more than likely end up doom-scrolling and passing on people who would have made perfect matches for you if you were in a better mood.

Again, being on dating apps and looking at all the things the apps have to offer should be fun for you. When you feel like you’re not into it, give it a minute, reset your mind, and return to it when you feel ready. While dating apps are a numbers game, you won’t lose out on your prince charming because you took a two-hour-long mental health break.

digital image of a profile of someone's head.

And vice-versa, if you take a long break in the day and still don’t feel up to searching, then don’t. Take the day off, take a week off, and take however long you want off until you feel like yourself again and are excited about getting on dating apps.

DeAlto says, “Do not date unless you are feeling positive about the process… You are likely doing more harm than good if you are burned out and still forcing yourself to get on the apps, message, and go out.” Allow yourself to take time off dating apps if you feel like they’re dragging. There’s no need to torture yourself in order to find a match.

Once You’re Ready, Jump Back In

Whether this is after a little mental health break or a breakup, dating apps are a fantastic way to meet someone and even get a little boost of confidence when you’re doing that.

Make sure your cup is full before you jump back into dating (remember, we’re trying to avoid dating app burnout), but don’t hesitate. Dating apps are usually a low-risk, high-reward situation, and it can and should be fun to jump into the dating scene again.

Again, don’t feel like it’s a chore to get back into the dating scene, but seize the opportunity for all it is and have fun doing it. Approach dating with hope, an open mind, and excitement. You’ll often get back what you put into these things, and you’ll want to put all kinds of good and positive emotions into dating so you can glean good from your experience.

Leroy Vandalay
Leroy Vandalay

Leroy Vandalay is a dating app veteran with over a decade of experience using these services for his own personal life. He ultimately looks forward to sharing this acquired knowledge with you, the readers.