If you’re looking for love, the obvious strategy is to go on as many dates as you can in the hope of giving yourself the best chance of finding someone you click with.
After all, it’s rare to meet a person with whom conversation flows, you have sexual chemistry, who treats you well, shares your values and that you really fancy.
However, according to top relationship experts, dating too much could actually be hindering your chances of finding ‘the one’.
Yes, there is in fact such a thing as “overdating.”
Thanks to the advent of dating apps, it’s not difficult to find someone to go out with. However, according to ‘the dating guru’ James Preece, dating too much can make you fussier.
“Rather than focusing on someone who might be a great match, you’ll be thinking about the next ones,” Preece explained to The Independent.
“The grass can seem greener but it ultimately means unsuccessful dates. If you aren’t getting to know each person you’ll never know if it might work out.”
He advises that anything more than two first dates a week is probably too many.
According to the mathematician Hannah Fry, you should reject the first 37 per cent of people you date to give yourself the best chance of finding ‘the one’. Of course, this is impossible to put into practice because you don’t know how many people you’re going to date over the course of your life.
But there’s certainly a point to take away.
“If you want to meet one person and date them long-term, going on loads of first dates will never allow you to get to know any one person very well,” dating psychologist and founder of the Approved Dating Experts (ADE) Madeleine Mason Roantree explained to The Independent.
“You are more likely to be seeing other people to manage your anxieties about the person you really like. This strategy actually distances yourself from the person you really are interested in, plus you are wasting other people’s time.”
It’s the very millennial problem of thinking someone better could be just one swipe away.
There’s also the risk of simply becoming overwhelmed and all your dates merging into one - no one wants to ask a date how they’re getting on in their new job when they in fact have been in their current role for three years.
“Going on too many dates and speaking to loads of people can become confusing and you can come across as aloof when you forget things about people,” dating coach Jo Barnet told The Independent. “And you also run the risk of becoming cynical and dismissive.
“If you are going on too many dates you begin to ‘desensitise’ yourself from the fact that you are dating real people with real flaws just like you.”
Yes, it becomes all too easy to discard someone and move on to the next without thinking about their feelings - case in point: the rise of ghosting.
Dating lots of people can be fun though. “If you are seeing loads of different people all the time, but you are having fun, there is nothing wrong with that,” says Mason Roantree, who will be at the UK Dating Fair in London on National Singles Day (March 11).
But there’s a risk that the more you date, the more fed up you’ll become. “You might start to blame yourself and assume you aren’t worthy of meeting someone,” Preece warns. “You’ll get sick and tired of it and eventually give up.”
In fact, dating fatigue was cited as the main reason singletons have given up going on dates in a recent study conducted by PassionSmiths.
And whilst some people burn out after going on too many dates, others get addicted to the rush of it.
“Even if dates do go well, it can become addictive if you get an ego boost,” Preece says. “You’ll crave the attention and keep going on more and more dates for the buzz.”
Research shows that 80 per cent of singles in London want a relationship rather than hook-ups or flings, so are we doing ourselves a disservice by going on multiple dates with different people every week?
Mason Roantree believes that if you really want to be in a committed relationship with one person, “you risk losing your focus if you are juggling other dates too.”
So what can we do to find love if we’re dating a lot but not getting anywhere?
Preece says the first step is to be clear in your mind about the type of person you want to meet: “If you don’t know you’ll never know when you meet them,” he explains, adding that it’s better to have quality rather than quantity.
“Only go on dates with people you are confident you will have fun with. Don’t settle just to ‘get yourself out there.’”
So going on dates for the sake of going on dates possibly isn’t a good strategy.
Mason recommends simply focussing on one person at a time - go on three or four dates with them before deciding whether there’s enough chemistry to carry on.
Barnet agrees that this is the right approach to take: “If you are serious about finding a life partner then give each person you have decided to meet the time and space to be able to develop before moving onto the next and the next.”
So yes, that means you need to put down your phone and resist swiping through Bumble and Tinder in the hope of lining up your next date straight after going on one.
And if it’s all just become too much, consider taking a break from dating for a month. “Spend the time seeing family and friends or catching up on your favourite Netflix boxset,” Preece recommends.
“When you get back to your search you’ll have renewed energy and an improved dating pool.”
And you never know, true love may find you when you're not even looking.
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