An article by our partners humhum
Contributing factors to burnout and antidotes to support a nourishing dating experience
The question “are you dating?” has for many of us become synonymous with “are you on the apps?” Let’s be mindful not to conflate feeling over it with swiping with feeling over it with dating entirely; maybe it’s not dating that you’re over but how it feels to date in the way you’re dating. Dating is more than swiping. You have options beyond left and right, and yes, even in the midst of a pandemic.
I created humhum because at the time I felt underwhelmed and over it with dating. I was curious to understand why and came to realize that the way I was dating was taking me further away from myself rather than deeper in towards myself, and that felt like the antithesis of how I aspired to show up in life; alas, dating felt depleting. Over the last 18 months of talking to our community and building and iterating on humhum, I’ve identified some common themes to help us understand what feels icky and depleting, and what feels nourishing and energizing as we date. These learnings have informed the design and experience of humhum as it exists today—and we’re just getting started!
The central intention of humhum is to create a safe and intentional container for people to have experiences of insight, growth and self-appreciation so that they can date from a clear, empowered, and inspired place to co-create their lives and relationships. Let’s examine what it means to date in a way that is self-nourishing and what can lead us to experiencing depletion, or dating burnout. We examine what leads to burnout or nourishment by digging into why we date, how we date, when we date, and what we can do as we date.
Factors that Lead to Burnout
WHY ARE WE DATING?
We’re Dating to Solve a Problem
We’ve been taught that being single, unpartnered, is a problem state to solve. This perspective can drive us into a mindstate of scarcity and fear; this “must-fix” mindstate eclipses our natural curiosity, playfulness, openness and joy towards one another as we go about connecting in pursuit of partnership. If we base our success on the outcome of matching, “winning,” hoping we are liked, hoping it goes a certain way, we allow ourselves to be washed ashore in the waves of external circumstance, rather than centering in ourselves and that which we can “control,” our attitude, our intentions, and how we take action in alignment with those intentions.
HOW ARE WE DATING?
We’re Dating on the Defense
When we invest our energy in self-preservation, we have less energy available for connection and for insight about ourselves. We’re left feeling tired, stressed, frustrated, and unsatisfied as we date. It can deplete us if we tell our story the same way each time and we believe or act as if we are static beings. This can lead us into defensive dating patterns, or performative dating, trying to replicate what worked and avoid what didn’t.
WHEN ARE WE DATING?
We’re Dating as a Distraction From Discomfort
Subtle (or not so subtle) anxiety and insecurity around dating and being single is perpetuated by swiping when we are feeling lonely, bored, or are experiencing any unpleasant emotion we’d rather not be. If we reach for our phones habitually to be “productive” in hopes that we feel better and swipe and swipe we lead ourselves into a black hole of longing and feel more hopeless, lonely, and frustrated. We start to form or reinforce narratives of self-pity, “the ones I want to date don’t want to date me, and the people I don’t want to date want to date me.” Pause. Narratives like these place the power outside of ourselves; we assume the solution has to do with meeting more people, meeting better people, fixing our profile so we are more desirable etc. We are the solution. What we can take action on is meeting ourselves where we are. Instead of grabbing your phone, it’s time to get to work.
WHAT WE DO WHEN WE DATE.
We Prolong Clarifying Conversations
In thinking you’re being “nice” or hoping to spare someone saps your energy and leaves you in a pickle later on. Check out our Guide to Not Ghost, to support you to navigate new connections.
We Feed Depleting Mental Habits
Our inner judge, tendencies towards being transactional, and making generalizations distances us from our experience and others in hopes of keeping us safe. It feels crappy. Notice the judging mind. Assessing a person based on likes/dislikes doesn’t help us to learn about ourselves and how we feel. The judging mind is a temporary balm to make us feel more in control when we feel out of control, ultimately leaving us feeling worse.
Notice tendencies towards being transactional. “If I just swipe a few more times today maybe I’ll meet someone I like.” It’s not worth my time to hop on a call with this person (ends up messaging until bored). “Let me cram in five back-to-back zoom dates to optimize for one working out.”
Notice when you generalize. Generalizing is a way of relinquishing accountability. “I hate small talk, I am bored, I lose interest easily.” Get clear on when you lose interest and how it feels in the body when you do. Put the time in to understand what you are curious about when it comes to another and it will lend itself to more interesting exchanges, or join a humhum experience and let us help you out 😉
We Measure Success via External Extremes
Only sharing or paying attention to extrinsic evidence of movement can lead us to chase drama or gossip-worthy moments, and leave us out of touch with the subtlety of our experience. In doing this, we overweight the importance of things beyond our control, and miss out on the little victories that can give us momentum and energy boosts along the way. If we only mentally log a new budding crush, reciprocal interest, being ghosted or the ending of a relationship, we miss the magic in the subtlety of the whole ride and most importantly how we are learning and growing.
Factors That Lead to Nourishment
WHY ARE WE DATING?
We Date With The Intention to Grow
We are dynamic. Let’s date like it! It’s nourishing and generative to lean into our own evolution, expansion and growth. It’s the natural way of things. If we approach dating with the question “what can I learn about myself this time,” we can’t lose and can experience a deep sense of gratitude, empowerment, humility, and joy in our own capacities. Each time we show up to date, we are different. The more we remember this and practice with this, the more space we create for ourselves as we are today and can release limiting beliefs and narratives that keep us stuck, feeling defeated, or discouraged. Learn more about Carol Dweck’s work on Mindset and the psychology of success.
At humhum, we offer reflection questions prior to the experience to help you connect you with yourself, and we debrief with one another in the experience to explore our learnings and insights—what do we want to change and what do we want to amplify to support our dating practice?
HOW ARE WE DATING?
We Date Like It’s a Process
As a process, we can get curious about our experience and see each exchange as an opportunity to glean insight into how we show up so that we can show up with more alignment.
At humhum we exchange with one another in a conscious dialogue format of conversation; in pairs, we practice sharing and listening with spaciousness to observe what arises in ourselves in both instances of sharing or holding space for another.
WHEN ARE WE DATING?
We Date With Every Aligned Action
Dating is More Than Swiping. Every seed we plant pertaining to how we want to relate to yourself and others is dating. To think we are only dating when we are swiping is a misconception. Any time you are taking action towards your intention of dating, you are dating. Sometimes those actions are more obvious than others but know that you are dating even when you’re not swiping. Choosing to take care of yourself and spend an evening off of your phone to read, sketch, sit, meander around the city is dating; you’re embodying with yourself how you want to be treated. Reading this article as a means of self-discovery is dating.
At humhum we know that all aligned action counts, and that growth is non-linear. Whether you meet someone you vibe with at the experience or not, you carry with you beyond the experience all that you cultivated within yourself during the experience.
We Are Accountable to Our Experience (and Energy)
We don’t have to be perfect to be date-able. Keep it real; we’re all works in progress. We are the masters of our own energy and therefore our experience. We can’t hide from one another despite our best manipulation tactics and performances. We can sniff out desperation, insecurity, apathy, hopelessness, and guardedness in another because it’s in their energy—same for our own. Instead of trying to control how others perceive you, get your own energy right. Show up to yourself so that you aren’t oozing insecurity, desperation, and hopelessness instead of hoping that others don’t notice it. Check out our Youtube for practices to align, fortify and intentionally project your energy.
At humhum, we re-center through breath and mindfulness after each exchange to realign and support our energy.
WHAT WE DO WHEN WE DATE.
We Exchange With Intentionality
If you’re tired of the small talk, change it up. What are you curious about? Ask someone about that. At humhum we offer guided prompts to support meaningful conversation beyond the routine and patterns responses we’re accustomed to exchanging. When we can surprise ourselves with our own answers it feels delightful and giving someone else the opportunity to do this also feels great.
We Remember, It’s Not Personal
It’s not about the person, it’s about the connection and dynamic between you and another person that you’re examining. This way, whether we align with the other person in our intentions or not, the outcome feels less personal, because it isn’t personal.
At humhum we don’t swipe right or left on a person but instead we explore the nuanced energy between ourselves and another after connecting to inform our intentions for further connection.
We Get Clear and Share The Clarity
Discernment is a skill you can cultivate. As you get clear on your feelings and intentions, share. If you’re not yet clear, you can share that too.
We Celebrate Personal Victories
Journal about your inner experience and growth as a way to bear witness to your process and evolution. Did you show up? Try something new? Learn something? These are all successes! Log them to boost yourself up as you keep at it.