More single folks in cities are now looking for partners themselves. It’s a great sign. Choosing the person you are supposed to spend most of your adult life with is your right as an individual. But despite how the romcoms picture it, and how convenient a dating service may make it seem, picking a partner is hardly easy. That autonomy comes with its own challenges.

Tania, a 32-year-old client of mine says she has spent hours on dating apps. She’s set up dates, got ready for them, gone on them, done post-date analyses. (It went well, didn’t it?) She’s wondered who’ll make the next move, how much and when to communicate, to call or to text. (Wait, is he serious about me?) She’s tried to guess how serious her dates have been about a committed relationship. She’s been ghosted. She’s wondered whether to ghost someone too. And through it all, there have been fake profiles, scammers and potential singles who’ve turned out to be married. Tania is burnt out. But she still wants to find a partner.

Tania’s experiences echo across urban dating pools for men and women. When you find yourself at this point in your search for a partner, I recommend that you take a break from the search itself. Spend that time doing things you enjoy, which make you feel good about yourself. Look at it as a sabbatical or a chance to recharge your internal battery. The pause will help you re-strategise: not all apps work the same for all individuals. The break will help you figure out the one that works best for you. Evaluate the number of individuals you connected with, met, and liked on each app that you used. Stick to the one that you found your best matches on.

Consider seeking help from friends, siblings, parents and people you trust. No one expects you to be alone on this journey. I know of quite a few men and women who help out their siblings and family members on matrimony apps when it comes to shortlisting and doing background checks on prospective matches.

And don’t get disheartened. Especially when you see other friends and acquaintances finding their partners faster than you. This is not a competition. Every individual’s relationship journey is unique. Know that comparisons only cause discontentment. And negativity is unattractive, more so when it comes to finding love.

As hard it may seem, stay positive, hopeful. This is love, after all, not a mathematical equation. Your attitude will go a long way in giving each date, match and interesting person a fair assessment so your acceptance or rejections are not based on how hard you’ve already looked. For some it just takes more time.

It did for me too. My search for a life partner started at the age of 25 and ended at 37. I am glad I took my time, as I did find the right person for me. I encourage you to take pauses whenever you feel burnt-out or fatigued, just as you would in your professional and social life. Crucially, you should know that you are not the only one who’s drained. Many of us have been there, we’ve picked ourselves up, started all over again, and again, and again, before we succeeded. And how did we know we’d found the right one? We knew it was time to stop looking—not because we were done in from searching, but because our search was done.

(Simran Mangharam is a dating and relationship coach and can be reached on [email protected])

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