Not Feeling Your Dating Apps These Days? Dating Rust-Out Could Be To Blame

When dating goes well, it's all fireworks and butterflies in your stomach. But when it backfires, it can be majorly disappointing — and even boring. If you're feeling uninspired by your dating app matches, you might be experiencing dating rust-out. According to WebMD, rust-out is a workplace phenomenon where employees feel disengaged on the job. Work that's repetitive, impersonal, and not challenging enough is often to blame, and it can lead people to feel undervalued and, eventually, depressed.

When swiping through selfies and chatting with strangers on dating apps starts to feel like a second job, you may notice rust-out taking over your love life, too, and not just your work life. The unoriginal ice-breakers, the dead-end chats, the first date conversations that lack chemistry — dating can feel just as dreary as a bad job. As Dr. Kalanit Ben-Ari, a senior relationship therapist, summarized to Refinery29, "The repeated gap between the hope, anticipation, and longing to the reality of basic repeated conversations can lead to a rust-out."

If you suspect rust-out is impacting your romantic life, here are the warning signs to watch for and how to reset.

How to know if you're suffering from dating rust-out

When you're on the verge of giving up on dating, yet you continue going through the motions (responding to messages, setting up dates, explaining your hobbies for the umpteenth time), you might be experiencing rust-out. Unlike burnout, rust-out is marked by apathy, rather than exhaustion. "One of the main feelings you get from rust-out is general 'can't be bothered-ness.' A feeling of, 'what is the point?'" Victoria McLean, founder and CEO of career consultancy City CV, told Refinery29. You may expect dates to be dull and matches to be disappointing, yet a tiny glimmer of hope keeps you from deleting your apps altogether.

Singles who experience rust-out might notice "a lack of shared interests or goals, a loss of excitement or novelty, or a sense of feeling stuck in a routine" when meeting potential partners, relationship therapist Dipti Tait told Metro. "These feelings can have a significant impact on people looking for love, as they may become disheartened or disengaged from the dating process altogether."

What to do if you're bored of dating

If dating feels as mundane and predictable as Groundhog Day, it's time to shake things up. First, take a look at the types of people you tend to chat up and go on dates with. If you keep searching for instant sparks with the same kind of people, it might be a sign to get to know other types of matches, even if you don't initially feel attracted to them. One way to do this, especially if you're bored of your go-to dating platform, is to try a different app that caters to a dating pool you haven't yet explored.

Alternatively, step away from online dating, at least temporarily. "Take a dating break for two to six weeks. Each week, check in and ask yourself if it's time to put your profile back up or if you're OK as is," Nina Rubin, a life coach, suggested to Elite Daily. "This will make you excited to start again."

When you return to dating, don't be afraid to play an active role. Data from Hinge (via Glamour) suggests that people are twice as likely to respond to a message sent within 24 hours of matching on an app. Put simply, don't hesitate to shoot your shot quickly with anyone who catches your eye. If your chat leads to a first date, prevent rust-out from striking again by skipping the usual dinner-and-drinks combo and trying something fresh (hiking? hitting up an arcade? volunteering?) instead.