The average single person is currently online or mobile dating or has tried it before. It has become less stigmatized and has become the number one way that people are meeting their partners today. However, even with these statistics, I often work with people in individual therapy who are no longer interested in online or mobile dating or who are wary of trying it. I often hear clients discuss how it’s difficult to meet someone you have chemistry with through online dating as well as feeling embarrassed to tell friends and family about how they met their partner. Many people also report “dating fatigue”, where they have gone on many online dates and feel burned out from the process. Clients will report that they want to meet someone “in real life” or in a more “natural” way. My clients do have a point: dating is exhausting and why waste time with people you may not be interested in.
What can often be tricky is the next step. “So you don’t want to meet people through dating sites and apps anymore, where do you think you’ll meet them?” After digging a bit deeper with clients about their social lives and routines, I learn that most people are pretty set in their schedules and have already developed a certain comfort zone with their friend groups and how they spend their free time. Many people discuss having a group of friends that they spend their free time with, which consists mostly of other couples, and rarely venture outside of their network. I also hear people discussing how they’re too busy to date with exhausting work schedules and structured routines. While most of us are guilty of this to some degree, how are you supposed to meet new people to potentially fall in love with if you are doing the same things with the same people during all of your free time? Great matches and dates do not just simply fall into your lap.
If you are looking for a partner, and you do not want to do “the online thing”, it’s time to take yourself out of your comfort zone and try new activities and meet new people. It is helpful to think about a hobby, a sport, or a class that you’ve always wanted to take, but you haven’t had the time or motivation. By throwing yourself in new situations and environments, you are not only exposing yourself to new people who you would not have met elsewhere, but you are also increasing your openness and flexibility, which are two important traits to have while dating.
It may also help to think about the kind of person you want to date and what you think they’d be doing in their free time. Are you attracted to people with a sense of humor? Try an improv class or going to more comedy shows. Do you like people who have similar intellectual interests? Sign up for a class or attend a free lecture at a local school or museum. Do you value giving back to your community? Find a local charity or nonprofit to volunteer for or be on the board at. Think about what values you have and what characteristics and values you are looking for in a potential partner, and then take the next step, get out of your comfort zone, and put words into action.
Getting out of your routine and comfort zone can be very difficult, but it is important not only when it comes to dating, but also for personal development. We can continue to grow and learn more about ourselves when we put ourselves into new and interesting situations. Even if you don’t meet your next partner in your new cooking class, you are learning new skills and developing your interests. Great relationships do not appear out of thin air or fall into your lap, and meeting new people will require you to step away from your usual routine and comfort zone.
If you are having difficulty dating and trying new experiences, it may be beneficial to address it in individual therapy. Contact Symmetry Counseling to set up an appointment with an individual therapist.