If You’re Bored by Everyone You’re Dating, This Is Likely to Be the Problem 

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Have you ever felt disheartned by the dating scene because no one you meet seems to excite you? Or they do at first, but then after a while you’re just a bit like, “eh”? Going on dates can be exhausting, especially if they’re not living up to your expectations.

But what am we looking for?

When it comes to romance and dating, many of us have the expectation that we’ll be swept off our feet, truly intoxicated and enamoured by someone else’s vibe, that the conversation with flow easily and it will send some kind of magical sexual fireworks off inside of us that both makes us horny and wanting to see them again.

But the likelihood of that happening without a hitch is pretty damn rare. And that’s because it’s a totally unrealistic and highly romanticised ideal that we have, when it comes to the people that we want to date.

Because you want to want to date them. With so many endless options out there, on dating apps, with the newfound pride and value in being single and the space that women especially, have to voice their desires and be heard; our expectations are pretty high. And that’s okay. It’s just about figuring out how to also not write people off in the process.

When Abbie Chatfield pitched this question to Esther Perel on her latest It’s a Lot podcast ep, the world-renowned psychotherapist had a few things to say.

“But what about if they’re just boring?” Chatfield asked.

This is a tale as old as time, and many of us have been there. You’re interested in someone (or something) that feels unattainable and then when you get it, the whole prospect seems much less appealing, and feels boring.

“I’m going to tell you something that you’re not going to like,” Perel warns Chatfield.

“When you are bored, ask yourself ‘what am I doing to bring some energy here?’ rather than sitting and twiddling your thumbs and saying ‘well, you’re not really doing it for me’.”

“This is very convenient. I sit there and do squat, while getting annoyed at you because you’re not turning me on and making me excited and giving me butterflies in my stomach. Seriously!?

“But who is boring? You’re not finding a life entertainment unit, you’re finding a person to love.”

Perel says that often, when you feel like someone is boring, it often means that they’re safe. You see “boring”, but what it really means is that “you’re not going to hurt me”, “you’re harmless”. And, because we know what to expect because we know that there’ll be no nasty surprises around the corner, that this person just honestly likes us for us; we feel bored.

“When people say that they’re bored with the person they’re dating, I often think it’s useful to ask them if they can handle not safe. Or less safe. Because those scenarios will always come with less boring, and that means you have to become more interesting.

“With someone that you consider boring, you make no effort.”

To simplify what Perel is saying, she’s basically pointing out that if we go for someone who isn’t safe — perhaps they’re emotionally unavailable, a bit of an asshole, a liar etc — we need to work for their attention and time. So then, we make ourselves the most interesting version we can possibly muster, because we really want to show this person how charismatic we are and how much they should be obsessed with us. And that process, the one where you’re fighting for someone’s attention; feels exciting.

Emotional distance breeds this false sense of allure around a person. It makes us want to find out more about them and be more attractive to them because they’re a bit of a mystery. It feels like the opposite of boring. But is it exciting? Stories, culture and societal expectations around love have taught us to look for the drama, the butterflies, the nervous energy; and this whole back-and-forth chase give us those feelings.

When really, they’re just someone who is unavailable. They’re not someone who is giving us what we want and deserve. They’re actually depriving us of what we crave, which is why we’re working so hard.

We’re not bored, but are we satisfied? Not really.

There’s not necessarily anything wrong with these types of relationships, but if they’re what you’re attracted to and what you’re looking for; it probably just means that you aren’t ready to be properly vulnerable with someone yet. If you were, you’d more likely be attracted to someone who is “safe”, and see their safety as a massive turn-on, rather than something that bores you.

But if you’re going through a stage right now where everyone kinda bores you, that’s okay too. It’s totally normal, and simply indicative of where you’re at in your life right now. Maybe you don’t want to be totally vulnerable yet. Perhaps you’ve just come out of a relationship and you want to create some drama and have some fun. Or, you might be feeling a bit protective of yourself due to how relationships in the past have gone for you, or even how you were raised to view romantic intimacy.

Regardless, it’s important to note that feeling bored by someone else is most likely a reflection of you.

“If you want to experience something different, what are you doing for that to be the case?” Perel asks Chatfield.

“This is a perfect moment to say, give me an example of what you talk about? Why don’t you bring anything from this conversation to that person? You’re the one that is different here. I promise you that the person you’re bored with doesn’t get to see this woman I’m sitting with here today.”

Chatfield laughs nervously, because she’s right.

So, next time you’re sitting across from a date and you’re thinking “damn, I’m bored”, try to bring some energy to the conversation and see what happens. You might be surprised.

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