The Scientifically Backed Way to Kick Date Burnout

Have you heard of the new dating app, Crown? Created by Tinder's parent company, Match Group, it basically turns getting matched into a literal game, comparing two people side by side... 

The execution of this particular app makes me nervous, with the concept veering further into territory covered by ABC's "Are you Hot or Not" (which gave me early-2000s hives). But the problem Crown is working to address is one of the most important when talking about swiping. The issue is cognitive overload. Here's an explanation by Dr. Helen Fisher, Match Group's scientific advisor:

“The more you look and look for a partner the more likely it is that you’ll end up with nobody.... There is a natural human predisposition to keep looking—to find something better. And with so many alternatives and opportunities for better mates in the online world, it’s easy to get into an addictive mode.”   

So, with limitless options + apps that are designed to keep you addicted, how are we supposed to beat dating app burnout and meet someone amazing? 


I am always looking for proven ways to make dating lives better for my clients, so I dove into the research. I came across Cognitive Load Theory developed in 1988 by John Sweller. 

"Cognitive Load" relates to the amount of information that we can hold at one time --  there is only so much room in our gorgeous brains to make sense of the world around us... and regular use of dating apps makes cognitive overload and dating app burnout inevitable.

You're not irrational for wanting to delete all dating apps and run for the tech-free hills... It's not you, it's science!


Solution: Reduce the Problem Space. 


What does this mean? In the Cognitive Load Theory, "Problem Space" is the gap between the current situation and the desired goal. If the gap is too large, the mind becomes overloaded.

For example: 

Current Situation: I'm single and on dating apps, they all sort of suck.

Desired Goal: I'm in a relationship and happy as hell.

The gap between those two can seem impassible. So, if your problem is that you are overwhelmed by the options on dating apps, and you're stressed that you will never find a someone through that noise...

Reduce that problem space. 

Here's how: Think about what your life would be like right now if you were in the relationship you desire. Make a list of all the things that would be different and better if this were the case. 

If you think that a relationship would mean more free time (from being off dating apps), more confidence, more assurance that your “life was on track” and less time wasted on guys that waste your time... 

This version of you is closer than you think.

You can reduce the problem space right now. On your own. Without another app download, without a brand new profile picture.

I know that nothing is going to stand in your way of finding the love you deserve, and when you believe that yourself, you will reduce the mental problem space. 

Over and over again, I see that my clients meet the right person faster (and have more fun dating in the process) when they believe their desired relationship is inevitable, reducing their problem space. 

Admittedly, dating apps can suck. There are a lot of people out there who will throw you off your game and make finding someone amazing feel impossible. But day to day, reducing the problem space will help you respect your time and energy- because nothing is going to stand in your way, you gorgeous sunflower! 

How would you act on dating apps if you believed nothing was going to stand in the way of the love you want? 

Now, I'd love to hear your thoughts... are there any dating apps that you've tried that help you combat the cognitive overload? What are your strategies for staying sane while on dating apps?

Lily Womble