It’s no secret that dating in our modern world is anything but easy. You might spend hours swiping on dating apps trying to make a connection, only to feel lost in an endless sea of prospective partners. Or maybe you have been able to find people you like, but it never seems to last past the first few dates.
No matter what your specific struggle is, know you’re not alone. Lots of people have a hard time with dating. Rest assured, it does not mean that you are “bad” or “broken,” or that you will never find love.
Read on for the top reasons why dating is so hard--and suggestions for how to navigate the dating scene more smoothly.
Why dating is so complicated (and what to do about it)
Problem: Technology makes dating hard
That’s right--you can blame some of your dating problems on your phone. At first thought, you may think that the countless dating apps at your fingertips make things easier. After all, they give you access to hundreds, if not thousands, of people you might not otherwise meet.
However, if dating apps truly made things easier, why doesn’t everyone have a partner already?
The reality is, the amount of options you have can be totally overwhelming and paralyze you from making any decision at all. This can hold you back from making potential connections.
Besides dating apps, there are other reasons why technology makes dating hard. When communicating by text, it’s easy for messages to be misinterpreted, or for people to “ghost” the other person by cutting off communication without warning.
Solution: Explore other ways of meeting people
Dating apps aren’t all bad, but it may be worth exploring other ways of meeting potential partners if you’re feeling overwhelmed by constant swiping. Instead of downloading yet another app, try approaching dating in a different way.
Do some digging to see if there are any groups in your area for one of your interests. Is there a group of people that gets together for hikes every weekend? What about a local gamer or cosplay group? One bonus about meeting someone this way is knowing that you have at least one thing in common!
Problem: You have unrealistic expectations
Your phone may play a role in your dating struggles, but it’s not the only culprit. Having unrealistic expectations of a potential partner is another reason why dating is so hard.
It can be tempting to get caught up in fantasies of what your ideal partner will look like, act like, and be like. There is nothing inherently wrong with that--as long as you avoid getting overly attached to that idea.
It’s rare that you will find someone who has every single quality that you have ever dreamed of. In fact, you might even find a connection with someone who is completely different than what you envisioned--but you’ll never find out if you constantly turn people away for not being exactly the person you wanted.
Solution: Reflect on what’s really important
If you have a laundry list of qualities that you want in your ideal partner, take this as a sign to do some serious reflection about what’s really important to you.
For example, does it really matter if your dream partner has blond hair or brown hair? Probably not. Now, is it important that your future partner also wants to have kids? That’s a serious consideration, and something that makes sense to have as a non-negotiable.
By reflecting on what’s truly important to you in a relationship, you give yourself the opportunity to release fixations on qualities that may not be essential while getting a better sense of your core values.
Problem: You struggle to be vulnerable
Being vulnerable is essential to making a relationship work, but it’s easier said than done.
The thought of being rejected is scary, and talking about your feelings can be uncomfortable. This can make you put your guard up, setting up emotional walls to keep other people from getting too close.
While this may keep you safe in the moment, it prevents you from having a deep, meaningful connection with another person. You may struggle to move past the initial stages of dating, constantly cycling in and out of relationships without moving forward.
Solution: Practice opening up in therapy
Does the idea of being vulnerable with another person terrify you? That’s a valid feeling, but if you want a truly intimate relationship it may be helpful to practice opening up with the help of a therapist.
In therapy, you can learn more about the mental and emotional blocks that may hold you back from being vulnerable with someone else. Therapy also provides you with the chance to process your experience with past relationships, which can better equip you to have deep, fulfilling connections in the future.
Problem: You didn’t have any relationship role models
It can be hard to know what a healthy relationship looks like if you weren’t exposed to role models growing up. Even if you did get glimpses of a healthy dynamic, no relationship is perfect, and anyone could benefit from learning more.
If you didn’t have relationship role models or feel like you haven’t learned about what a healthy relationship looks like, it can be hard to navigate the dating scene.
Solution: Be your own role model
Having relationship role models is helpful, but you don’t have to have a role model to be in a healthy relationship. Learn more about healthy relationships by asking friends, reading self help books, or by working with a therapist. Then, put what you learned into practice--it may not feel natural at first, but trust that you have what it takes to forge a meaningful connection.
Work through your dating struggles with the help of a therapist
Want to kick your dating problems to the curb for good? I’m ready if you are. I’m Danielle Wayne, online therapist for anxious millennials like you who are struggling with dating. Schedule your free consultation today to see if we’re a good fit if you are located in Iowa, Idaho, or North Dakota.