The Juice & the Squeeze

Dating Fatigue: Causes of NYC’s #1 Dating Problem

Discover how to shift the focus from ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ to meaningful connections, helping you beat dating fatigue and build authentic relationships

dating fatigue

The fact is, dating fatigue, is rampant for online daters in NYC. We talked to a lot of people about building a better dating app to address their immediate concerns, but sometimes putting those concerns into solid words and concepts is helpful for developing the tools you need to date better, using an app or not. 

First off, let’s start with Shiny Object Syndrome. Shiny Object Syndrome is “a continual state of distraction brought on by an ongoing belief that there is something new worth pursuing. It often comes at the expense of what’s already planned or underway. It’s rooted in that childhood phenomenon of always wanting a new toy, even if your current toy is just fine.” Part of the issue with the world of online dating, especially in NYC, is that it creates a perception of endless volume of potential matches. When faced with an endless volume of potential matches, people 1. Really stretch themselves in looking for the needle in the haystack, causing dating fatigue, and 2. Are more liable to view decent matches (aka people) as disposable, frequently re-start the dating process, also causing dating fatigue.

Both of these behaviors lead to dating fatigue. On the one hand, if you are continually going on date after date with what you perceive to be “the next best thing,” you’re going to exhaust yourself and give up. Our chronic belief that this “next best thing” is abundant and right under our nose fails us – because when we view the dating pool as a kind of rummage bin we can just keep digging through, we miss opportunities to take a second look, or realize how the people we’ve already matched with, or dated, might’ve balanced us, or been worth investing in. Finding the right match isn’t about going on 10 bad dates until you have a good date, over and over again. It’s about finding more viable matches, and truly giving those matches a fair chance, before turning to the drawing board. The “always on the hunt” mentality causes dating fatigue and burnout, leading to bad experiences and volatility.

Shiny object syndrome, and this volume/rummage bin approach to the dating pool is visible in all sorts of dating trends and behaviors. In relationships, it looks like being liable to abandon your partner when faced with difficulty and conflict, because dating is viewed as “easy” and your partner is viewed as “easily replaceable.” Let’s say I’m fighting with my boyfriend – part of me thinks I should just end it right there because I can find someone who will buy me dinner, and not have that specific issue, that NIGHT. Beliefs like these, while convenient, don’t improve the health of our romantic life. 

This also plays into the concept of a roster. People love rosters, especially in NYC. Don’t get me wrong, if dating around doesn’t exhaust you that is wonderful. Not everyone feels that way. Rosters relate to shiny object syndrome because they allow people to curate a list of people that half meet their needs, or have some qualities they’re looking for or some that they aren’t, or fill different purposes. When I’ve been single, I’ve certainly been guilty of entertaining a cast of suitors for different reasons – because what I was really looking for was the person that was going to have all those qualities or fill all those roles. When we’re always looking for the next best person, we end up acquiring a whole group of people that fill our needs, but don’t equate to a relationship. Some people find this fun, others exhausting, and rarely are people aware of each other’s rosters. 

At FFWD, we’re hoping to design a platform that curbs some of these trends that result in dating fatigue, by encouraging people to go on more meaningful and higher quality first dates. If we were more consistently able to evaluate the viability of a match further in advance, we could prioritize matches that would translate into more meaningful connections, rather than having to scale for a large volume of uncertain matches in hopes of finding the needle in the haystack. 

Stop swiping, start fast-forwarding. 

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