Whether you have a ticket to the single-party club or in a commited relationship, you’ve probably heard how technology is influencing the dating population — and how it’s making people burnout and want to give up dating altogether. For some singletons, apps like Bumble, Tinder, and Grindr have made it easily accessible for them to find “The One,” yet for others, these apps have only made it more accessible to be ghosted and involved in “undefined relationships.”
While these new obstacles and frustrations have increasingly become more apparent, that doesn’t mean that you should throw all your f*cks in the air and burnout over this digital age of romance. Instead, there’s a way around the system so you can still have a lively dating life without wanting to light your phone on fire (too dramatic?). Here are eight tips for staying sane and practicing self-care while dating online. Because your state of mind is way more important than that f*ck boy/girl who slides into your DM at two in the morning.
Stop Waiting for the Text Back
It’s amazing how those three little dots can make a heart aflutter. Witty banter and suggestive emojis can be a fun time (if you know what we mean *wink*), but don’t tether yourself to the phone to get your next fix. Go out and do something to distract yourself: learn something new, try a new hobby, go to Trader Joe’s and stock up on cookie butter — just stop checking your phone every five minutes. You have better things to do with your time than waiting for them to reply to your message.
Avoid Swipe Fatigue
There are some great ways to waste time; the first is scrolling through Instagram Stories, looking at avocado toasts and an unhealthy amount of puppy memes, the second is swiping through endless dating apps, trying to figure out who you should give your time to. After your eyes finally glaze over on a Sunday night, scrolling through another cliché photo of a Machu Picchu pic on Tinder, you will likely start to feel like no one is out there.
Stop beating a dead horse. Give yourself a time limit or max number of matches. Swipe fatigue is a real thing and you need to remember to give your fingers a little R&R. You don’t want to resent the dating life
Check-in With Yourself
There is value in casual dating—it’s fun to meet new people outside of your usual social circles and explore the city from a new perspective. But, be sure to check in with yourself every once in awhile to see if “casual” is still what you’re seeking. Don’t fall into a pattern of countless wine bars, explaining what you do in the city; It is OK to eventually want something different and transition to seeking a deeper connection with future partners. Go ahead, change your mind, honey!
Reinforce Your Boundaries
When you do have a person who you regularly see, don’t forget that it’s important to establish clear boundaries for what you want with them and the possible relationship. Honesty is the best policy in this case; if you set expectations up front, it will be a much smoother ride for the both of you down the road. Feelings get hurt when things are in limbo and left unsaid — and no one has time to play that guessing game.
Step Out of Your Usual “Type”
Casual dating is the perfect time to experiment and find out what you want. Go ahead and date the hipster from Bushwick or the buttoned-up financer from the Upper East Side. Step out of your usual “type”—you might be surprised what you discover and learn from someone who falls outside your comfort zone. However, don’t try to force something if you don’t feel like it’s working. Have fun, but follow your gut. You know when a relationship is meant to last or when it’s time to say “boy/girl bye.”
Find Your “O”
Let’s be frank, it is time to break the bad habit of faking orgasms and ending the night on an unsatisfied note. If getting physical is part of your situation, be sure that you’re also enjoying yourself as well — because you’re a person with needs, damnit. No one has time for one-sided intimacy, anymore. Tell your sexual partner what you want, and how you want it. You deserve the same kind of experience that they’re hoping to receive. Having a healthy relationship with sex is part of your self-care regimen and sometimes that means bringing your needs to the surface.
Stay Safe and Wrap it Up
Staying safe is important! Be sure to use some form of protection and get tested regularly and that you’re asking your partner about their status, too. It can be an awkward conversation to have but knowledge is power when it comes to your sexual health. And if they give you the runaround, get out. Someone who doesn’t want to put your sexual health on the front burner is not something you want to get down with.
Don’t Forget Your Worth
And last but not least, always know your worth. Whether it’s a one-night stand or a long-term relationship, there should always be respect. Remember that you bring a lot to the table, and if all they have to offer is an empty plate and appetite, it may be time to walk away. Be the Beyoncé you know you can be, and continue to show up for yourself the same way you would for a friend — because if there’s one relationship you should nurture the most, is the one you have with yourself.
Photography via Vanessa Granda