It’s no secret to anyone who’s tried to go on a date in recent years: dating in the modern age sucks. No matter who you are or who you ask, it’s a jungle out there. Everyone seems to have a nightmare date, a bad interaction on Tinder, or just a little bit too much exhaustion trying to put themselves out there. 

Because dating has become a major turn-off, around half of all singles no longer want to have a relationship. Or rather, they’ve just dropped out of the dating scene due to burnout. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. While it’s not easy, it is possible to take control of your dating life in a way that will make your love life sizzle. Here’s how…

  1. Start by re-evaluating what you want out of dating. 

Most people assume that having any date is better than no date, or that they have to “give a guy a chance.” Please, don’t fall for it. This is a lie that’s often perpetuated by bad writers of romantic comedies or people who are desperate for your attention. 

The best thing you can do to take control of your dating life is to figure out exactly what you want and refuse to accept any less. What does this mean? It means you have to define what type of relationship you want, how long you want to wait before you’re willing to walk, and what your boundaries are. 

More importantly, you might want to ask why you want to date around. Is it because you want a spouse, and if so, why do you want one? What do you expect to get out of it? The sooner you have a solid goal in mind, the better off you’ll be and the faster you can vet your dates. 

  1. Learn to date on what’s there, not on what their potential is.

Did you ever notice how dates tend to spiral out of control when you’re dating based on what a person could become for you? We all love the idea of a whirlwind romance, and when we are feeling particularly alone, we may even start to develop feelings for people who are not our type at all. 

Every single person has potential, but that’s just what it is: potential. It’s always just potential until it’s real. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are going to keep their potential at just that—a concept that is not quite reality. 

  1. Turn dating into a hobby. 

For many people who are desperate to find The One, dating becomes a major part of their life. It even becomes routine: you wake up, go to work, then start swiping while you’re on the commute home. On the weekends, you might have one or two dates after the humdrum of introductions. 

Does this sound like you? If it does, it may be time to hit the pause button.

Contrary to what it may feel like, this is not the way to find your person. It actually will cause you to get desperate, disappointed, and burnt out over time. A better option would be to treat dating like a simple hobby. Limit your swipes to once a week, and spend more time enriching your life through other activities.

This actually does two things: it helps you get reacquainted with what makes you awesome and it also helps add perspective to dating. Of course, the cool stories can make it easier for you to connect with your upcoming dates.

  1. Give yourself a new makeover.

While we tend to think that we have a society that values personality over looks, we can’t lie. Looks matter. And when you’re talking about dating, looks matter a lot. How good you look will make all the difference between being able to get your pick of the hotties and being ignored.

As bad as it sounds, there is a certain point where giving yourself a makeover becomes both an act of self-care as well as a way to take control of your dating life. It’s about being able to look in the mirror and say, “Hey, I’m hot as hell and I deserve the world.”

So, go ahead. Grab a new outfit, get that new haircut, and hit the gym. You might be shocked to find out how far those little things can take you in the world of love and romance. 

  1. Take a refresher course in consent or sex ed.

If you’re like a lot of people out there, you might feel confused or even disenfranchised when it comes to sex. It’s a taboo topic that is often filled with shame or mixed messages. When you’re dealing with tons of insinuated double standards or misinformation, it’s easy to feel lost when it comes to sex. 

That misinformation and weird “chip on the shoulder” we have in society tends to make it hard to feel like you’re in control of your own sexuality. To a point, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that society gaslights people into accepting less than epic sex. Talk about throwing a wrench in your bedroom game, right?  So, if you’re feeling that, you’re not alone. 

Believe it or not, you can regain control and confidence in your bedroom game pretty easily. All you have to do is take an online sexual education course, read up on blog posts by sex-positive educators, or even check out local classes at your nearest adult toy store. (Yes, they often host them.)

The more you know, the more power you have in your love life. And that’s a beautiful thing.

  1. Finally, recognize that not every dating phase has to turn into a relationship.

When you’re dating, it’s normal to try to want to “sell yourself” to your date. You want things to work out and get to that relationship status—or even get married. However, it’s important to remember that dating has phases. More importantly, dating is about getting to know someone before you get tied to them. 

The truth is that you should use the “talking” phase as a way to vet your date. Do they bring something to the table? Are they on the same page as you, for real, or are they just saying stuff to impress you? It may feel like a moral failing to have dates fall through or a love interest who won’t commit.

Though it may feel that way, the truth is that you’re doing exactly what dating is supposed to be. You’re talking, trying to figure out if that person’s worth your time. If they’re not, stop dating them. It’s a success because you now know that they’re not the one for you. 

The Bottom Line

A large percentage of the control that you exercise in dating depends on the way you’re viewing it. Dating is meant to be fun, exciting, and a time to discover whether you are truly interested in pursuing something with the person you’re dating. At the end of the day, the power is still all yours!