How to Take the Stress Out of Online Dating

When I first became single I expected that dating would be fun and exciting, and in many ways it is. You get to meet different kinds of people, have interesting conversations, and find out more about what you want in a partner. But at the same time, it can quickly become stressful if you let it.

Part of the problem is that we’re now able to communicate via text and social media. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only actually gone out together twice. You could have sent 300 text messages, 20 messages via Match.com, and hit “like” on their Facebook statuses 12 times. Even though you don’t actually know that person well yet, you feel like you’re basically in a relationship.

The other issue is that you can now view hundreds of different singles in your area with the click of a button. While this is great, it can also make you feel like you may be overlooking your would-be spouse’s profile. If I just click ONE more page, I’ll find him/her!

I enjoy getting to know different kinds of people, but I view dating as just one small part of my life. Some people, on the other hand, clearly feel differently. I recently received four e-mails from someone on Match. I didn’t respond to the first one because the person sent me his phone number in that initial e-mail and that felt a little aggressive to me. He then proceeded to “follow up,” saying “We have so much in common. What do I have to do to get you to respond?” Again, intense. Eventually he said, “We have so much in common. We should be talking. I’m going to e-mail you every day until you respond or tell me to drop dead. At least I’m persistent. This is e-mail #1.”

Does that sound absolutely insane? Umm yeah. Is he going to come chop me up? I hope not. But from what little I know about this guy, I actually think he’s a genuinely good human, he’s just gotten so caught up in dating that he feels desperate and intense. He was a little bit older, so he may have spent years on Match or other similar sites. He’s probably frustrated and confused.

If you’re dating and are starting to feel overwhelmed by the whole thing, it’s important to take a few steps back. Yes, it’s emotional. Sure it can be confusing or aggravating or exciting. But you can’t be investing so much time and energy into dating that you lose perspective. It should be an interesting and thought-provoking part of your life, not something that makes or breaks your self-worth. If your whole day revolves around whether you got a wink from a cutie on Match or someone swiped right for you on Tinder, it’s time to re-evaluate. There’s certainly value in dating. It’s nice to feel wanted. It’s fun to meet new people or have a crush. But it’s important to make sure that it isn’t allowed to consume your whole life and seep into other areas.

Don’t be the girl who constantly finds a way to shift the conversation back to discuss the new boy you’re talking to. Don’t be the guy who bails on his best friends to go out with a girl he just met because she’s bored and wants him to drop everything to come see her. Keep it light and fun, but don’t value yourself based on whether you’re single or seeing someone. If you’re living well, your relationship status is just a small part of your life. 

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