How can you enjoy dating again when it started to feel like a chore

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It’s the start of a new year and of course our thoughts are on what we want in 2022. For many, this is the year we want to meet someone new or at least have fun in the process. However, dating in a pandemic is not easy.

With Covid restrictions and new variants emerging, it can be difficult to meet that special person. Sometimes, when our love life falls flat, dating can feel like finding a job. The joy and thrill of a new meeting goes out the window. And if you do not find this spark in the first place, it can feel discouraging.

Which is the case for one of our readers, Nicky. She says: “I’m single for a few years after a very painful break-up. I’ve been dating a lot and had a few friends reveal their interest. Most of these people have been really loving and very dateable, but I have just had no excitement for anyone.How can I get my heart back in the game?

HuffPost UK spoke with Counseling Directory member Jenny Warwick about how we can make dating fun again.

Why can dating start to feel like a chore?

Warwick says we lose excitement about dating when there is a lot of pressure on us to be part of a couple and have a partner. It feels like something needs to be done, instead of what we want.

“The truth is, this pressure can actually come from other people or society, instead of your own needs or desires,” she says. “It may feel like there are certain rules about dating that you may not understand.”

This can be especially difficult when this is your first time dating after a split from a long term relationship, like our reader. Warwick says you may feel uncertain about the “new rules of engagement”.

“It can almost start to feel like an application where you are both the recruiter and the applicant,” she adds. “You ask yourself to be the person who wants someone else, at the same time as you are looking for the person you want to be with. Then it can start to feel like work and a job and you lose the sense of pleasure.”

What can we do to make dating fun?

Be prepared to try something new and sometimes step out of your comfort zone. “Try not to have rigid rules about what a date is. It does not have to be coffee every time. Start appreciating every part of the process for what it is. You are there, at that moment, to make a connection with someone. , ”Says Warwick.

Let go of some of your preconceived notions about an ‘ideal partner’ and just go with your instincts about whether they look like someone you want to hang out with for a few hours.

“Take the pressure off of yourself and appreciate every little part of the process. Think of all the different people you will meet. This is a perfect opportunity to hear about the interests and experiences of others and that seems fun to me.”

How can you be intentional when dating while also having fun?

This is a great time to think about your boundaries around relationships, Warwick says.

“Think about what you want and what you do not want, what is and is not good for you,” she adds. “You can learn and grow this awareness as you meet and connect with different people. Remember, every time you connect with someone, you will come closer to knowing what it really is you want in a relationship.

Having those really clear boundaries will make things better for you individually, even before you are in some sort of relationship with another. Take some time after each date to think about what you feel went well and what you would like to do next time.

As Warwick says, “Remember, the better you know yourself and how you feel, the more likely you are to have a good, positive, and healthy relationship with another.”

Love Stuck is for those who have hit a romantic wall, whether you are single or have been dating for decades. With the help of trained sex and relationship therapists, HuffPost UK will help answer your dilemmas. Ask a question here.

Rebecca Zisser / HuffPost UK

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