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I fell in love and got married in six months – after I abandoned dating apps

Life coach Hattie MacAndrews quit swiping after being hit with dating app fatigue – and ended up falling in love. Here she shares her advice for overcoming dating app exhaustion  

Updated: May 10, 2024
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In her new column, life coach Hattie MacAndrews shares her advice on the problems plaguing her clients.

This week she tackles the all-too-familiar sensation of dating app fatigue. Hattie was familiar with that low, fed-up feeling that follows a session of swiping through endless faces.

In fact, she was so exhausted by it, she deleted dating apps and went on to fall in love and get married just six months later. Here she shares her advice for overcoming dating app fatigue – and falling in love.

Hattie MacAndrews smiling on a sofa
Hattie MacAndrews has experience with dating apps

The issue: Dating app fatigue

I have been single for the last couple of years and I’m suffering from dating-app-fatigue. It feels like I have tried and tested every single dating app and still no luck. I spend hours scrolling and swiping. Often I get no ‘matches’ at all, and when I do they don’t seem to go anywhere.

Every person who doesn’t reply makes me feel worthless and has such a negative impact on my confidence. I really want to meet someone but I feel like I can’t keep swiping as it’s driving me crazy. What should I do?

The solution

I can literally hear our readers shouting, 'me too!' at their screens, most likely as they flick from here to a dating app and back again. Thousands of smart, brilliant women, left feeling rejected and worthless after yet another interaction on the soulless dating apps.

Young woman receiving notifications and commenting on social media posts with smart phone. People networking with technology. Social media addiction concept.© Getty
Dating apps can be exhausting

App fatigue is a very real thing, and whilst I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this, I am sadly not surprised. The good news is, you’ve come to the right place. Not only have I been where you are (many a time), but it’s my job to help women like you get out of these repetitive thought loops, and regain their confidence when it comes to dating.

My dating app experience

Let me start by telling you about my own experience on the dating apps. Throughout my mid to late twenties, I was no stranger to the apps. I too was stuck in the familiar pattern of downloading, swiping, dating, deleting. Again and again until you eventually lose the will to continue; your confidence has been knocked one too many times and you give up hoping to find love. I met some amazing people, had great fun and even better stories. But I also wasted time with people I knew I wasn’t truly aligned with, and sometimes let my imagination get the better of me – jumping two steps ahead before we’d even met.

MORE FROM HATTIE: I'm newly single at 52 –how do I begin dating? 

Getting to know myself

It was when I discovered coaching in my early thirties (and then went on to train as a coach) that I started to recognise my own patterns and how they influenced my decisions. I learnt to understand why I behaved the way I did – mostly through learning about attachment styles, love languages and communication styles. I did a lot of deep work to uncover my core values, and figure out what I really wanted and needed from a partner.

It was only then that I understood that dating apps were not the one for me. I needed to meet someone in real life, who shared my values and was mostly importantly on the same page. I had neither the time nor energy to waste on bland conversations and futile dates. I started to put myself in situations where I was more likely to meet someone.

Hattie MacAndrews
Hattie MacAndrews says dating apps can be exhausting

I wanted to find someone with a sense of adventure, someone who wasn’t glued to their screen and wanted to spend their life outdoors. I was all too aware that I wouldn’t find him in a bar in the city, at after-work drinks.

My love story – and what I learned

Long story short, I picked up my entire life and moved to South Africa. Two weeks later I met someone, and six months later we got married. My journey to where I am today is so far from the norm, but one thing I am certain of is that if I had come across my now-husband online, there’s a chance I would have swiped left and missed out on him.

Perhaps he would have popped up while I was distracted and watching TV. Perhaps he would have used an old photo I didn’t like. Perhaps I would have been put off by something as basic as his name, age, or god forbid his choice of footwear!

selfie of a man and woman smiling outdoors
Hattie fell in love when she deleted dating apps

In my mind, dating apps are incredibly flawed. You don’t hear a laugh, you miss the tone of voice and you don’t get the opportunity to see how someone carries themselves through the world. You miss so much, you swipe, and then they’re gone.

Abandoning apps

My absolute best piece of advice for anyone and everyone suffering from dating app fatigue – is to get off them. Have a break. Get yourself into real life situations where you are surrounded by the type of person you would choose to date, IRL. Swiping does work for some, but please know it’s not your only option.

If you are determined to continue online or think perhaps a hybrid of both approaches is for you, then here are my top tips to overcome dating app fatigue.

Woman looking for date via mobile app on smartphone. Love and romance concept.© Getty
Hattie suggests putting down the apps

Overcoming dating app fatigue

Understand why you’re exhausted

The act of swiping is repetitive. It’s mindless, requiring very little attention so that you’re often swiping whilst watching TV, on your commute or in your downtime between Zoom meetings. The superficial conversations and endless small talk are exhausting. Being ghosted just as you’re about to make a plan or feel like you’re getting somewhere, is exhausting. The pressure to just keep on going, even when you’re tired or not in the mood or aren’t even sure you would fancy the person IRL– is exhausting! Sometimes just the sheer volume of profiles you view in one setting is overwhelming, and yes, you guessed it – exhausting.

Try not to take it seriously

I know this is far easier said than done, but at the end of the day, it’s a mindset. It’s your perspective. We always have a choice, and often that choice is looking at a situation and thinking 'What can I control here?'. If someone stops replying to your messages mid-conversation and seemingly drops off the planet, ask yourself, 'What can I control here?'. The answer is nothing. How someone else behaves is vastly out of your control. So your choice simply becomes – accept and move on. This leads me nicely to my next point…

Learn how to re-frame rejection

I would like to remind you that these are strangers on the internet. If they didn’t respond to your witty chat-up line or couldn’t find the time to answer your message, then sayonara. Their loss.

You absolutely do not want to be trying to build something with someone who thinks it’s appropriate to ghost you. We all deserve better than that. They are not rejecting YOU as a person – because they don’t know you! As your confidence and resilience grows, so will your ability to handle rejection. In a roundabout way, these knockbacks are setting you up for success in all other areas of life.

Set a time limit

Endless swiping is not the answer. To anything in life, but especially not when it comes to finding a partner. I would advise choosing your preferred app and sticking to it. Decide how much time a day/week you want to spend on it, set a time limit and stick to it.

Use that time to engage with the app consciously, not while you’re multi-tasking trying to do 50 things at once. Try and stay present and be mindful of your interactions. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the cycle of swiping. After you’ve spent your allocated time, take a pause to notice how you’re feeling after using the app. Are you feeling excited? Frustrated? Hopeless? This can be a great indication of your own mindset. If you’re putting the phone down feeling bad, mad or sad, then perhaps it’s time for a break.

Get up and into real life

Every person that doesn’t respond or doesn’t give you an opportunity is another person crossed off your list. You can be thankful to them for not wasting more of your time. If someone thinks that it’s socially acceptable to ghost you or ignore messages for weeks – are they the sort of person you’d like to build a life with? Probably not.

Man and woman drinking outside at wedding© Ruan Redelinghuys
Hattie met her partner after getting into real life

There’s a plethora of wonderful people out there, who should be so lucky to go on a date with you. I do not believe your best chance at finding them is swiping relentlessly from the comfort of your own home. So get up, and get into real life. Put your bravest face on and your biggest smile and trust that they will come into your life, exactly when they're meant to.

If you’re struggling with your mindset around dating, or finding it hard to deal with rejection, coaching is a great way to empower yourself and build your confidence. I offer 1:1 sessions with clients, doing exactly this. If you’re interested in a free 45-minute consultation, you can book directly with me here.

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