No one ever warns us. All the magazines, movies and thousands of articles on dating paint a blissful picture of engaging conversations over cocktails, passionate candlelit make-out sessions, a beautiful couple frolicking through a field during sunset. I’m going to let you in on a secret: all these happy single people are missing one thing. Sleep.
I remember the good old days…
I would finish work and head to the gym or yoga studio, cook myself a nice dinner, get a few things done around the house, catch up with a girlfriend on the phone, take a long hot aromatherapy bath and go to sleep by 11pm, waking up refreshed and ready to take on my next day bright and early. It was glorious!
Now my days go something like this…
Wake up super early and work out, rush home to prepare breakfast and notice three new text messages on my phone, each from a different guy. At some point I need to reply to each of them but I’m rushed and have no time for distractions. Arrive at work and manage to jam through the day despite constant notices from Tinder and OkCupid emails, plus Facebook and text messages. I wish I could just ignore people but I’m too nice and my ego doesn’t want the momentum to slow down yet. Head to a lunch meeting that feels like a date but isn’t—you know, those first-time meetings full of getting-to-know-you conversation. Walk back to work, finish a high-priority project then head out for a 4pm date in the park. We walk for an hour and talk, then I turn into a pumpkin and head to a restorative yoga class. More texts and phone calls are returned in transit.
Thank God for yoga. I am more dedicated to my practice than ever—it keeps me grounded through all this madness. After class I feel almost normal again and head to a movie with a girlfriend, where we meet up with a guy I’m dating (and really like). At this point I put my phone away, hold his hand and let myself be washed away in the entertainment of an incredible documentary. By the end of the movie I’m spent. As much as I want to stay with this man—the only one I truly think is special—I need to go home and sleep. I arrive at my place to a pile of laundry and a sink full of dirty dishes…I wonder when did I last eat a homecooked meal? I’m too tired for a bath. Lights out. My phone won’t stop tweeting at me. I get up to turn on Do Not Disturb and figure I’ll reply back tomorrow. Snoooooooze.
I think I have a case of Dating FOMO [FOMO = fear of missing out].
Does this sound familiar?
I know I’m busy but I gotta meet this person, they just seem so cool.
If I miss that chance you never know what could have happened.
That event looks amazing, I bet I’ll meet a bunch of awesome single guys/girls.
Sure I’ll meet up for just one drink…
…that sort of thing.
Unfortunately for me, this is completely unsustainable.
So how can we date in a way that will keep our stress levels low and personal health high?
- No more open-ended first dates. Respect your time and maintain a clear cutoff so you don’t get stuck. If you’re having a great time you can always stick around.
- Get really clear on who you want to continue seeing. If you’re unsure, take that as a sign to let things fizzle. Don’t be afraid to say “thanks but no thanks”.
- Be honest about your availability before setting up a date. Know your limits of how much you can handle in one day.
- Give yourself at least one night a week for absolutely nothing but dedicated “me time”. This is your time to rejuvenate! Do not budge on this.
- Make sure to still see your friends. Better yet, begin to integrate your new flame into your social circles so everybody wins.
- Stick to a regular diet and workout routine. This is literally what keeps you going. If someone you’re dating doesn’t respect this, recognize that red flag ASAP. On that note..
- Recognize when someone you’re seeing is worth more of your time. When this time comes, tie up any loose ends, take a break from the online profiles and surrender into what may be the beginning of a beautiful new relationship.
I’m committing to this from here on out. Let me know if you have any tips along the way.