Online Dating Fatigue: A Serious Medical Condition

Every few weeks, after putting in so much effort and getting what seems like little return, I contract a little-known disorder called ODF—Online Dating Fatigue.

Online Dating Fatigue
Online Dating Fatigue: A Serious Medical Condition

Online Dating Fatigue, or ODF, is a rare but serious medical condition that affects the heart and brain of males and females who actively participate in online dating for 1 month or longer. It is described as a severe frustration with the online dating process and a period of abandonment of the dating website in question.

Online Dating Fatigue may last anywhere from 1 day to 3 months, possibly longer if left untreated. Doctors classify ODF as mild, moderate, or severe:

    A tired, ache-y feeling, followed by a closing of the sufferer's laptop or turning off of the sufferer's desktop computer. May return to online dating in approximately 1 to 7 days. Does not require treatment.
    A frustrated, head-bang-y feeling, followed by an angry, passive-aggressive Facebook update about how annoying online dating is. May return to online dating in approximately 1 to 2 weeks. May or may not require treatment.
    A mixture of anger and hopelessness, followed by a feeling of certainty that either the sufferer will die alone or that he/she is never going to do online dating again. If the sufferer is ever to return to online dating, treatment is required.


It is difficult to pinpoint the exact series of events that leads to a case of ODF, but the condition is generally preceded by a concentrated period of effort put into online dating. Concentrated effort may be defined as any of the following:
  • hour of slogging through profiles and blurry pictures
  • sending out flirts, winks, and emails
  • writing and rewriting the sufferer's profile to portray oneself in the best light possible
  • searching through albums to find the best pictures of the sufferer
If this concentrated effort for a period of a week or longer yields little to no result, the sufferer is likely to contract ODF and may require treatment.


The following are common symptoms of ODF:
  • Feeling defeated, as though all one's efforts are futile. 
  • Irrational desires to hurl electronic objects at hard surfaces. 
  • Listlessness and the urge to curl up under the covers and never come out. 
  • Wishing, either aloud or in the sufferer's head, that online dating never existed or that the sufferer had never participated in it.

Occasionally the symptoms of ODF will clear up on their own, given enough time and cocktails. The sufferer will return to online dating. However, in severe cases, time and cocktails just aren't sufficient, and additional treatment is required.

Talking to fellow ODF sufferers may help one find relief from ODF symptoms. Knowledgeable advice and venting are known cures for ODF. Going to bars and bookstores and restaurants without dating success may also cause sufferers to find that the only other place to find single, (questionably) eligible matches is, in fact, online.

But the number one cure for severe ODF cases is to hear just one success story of someone who has met his/her girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/sex partner online.

Because one vague, far-off ray of optimism is stronger than months of trial.

Sometimes we forget why we do it. Why we put ourselves through the humiliation, the stress, the hours upon hours of scanning through profiles and pictures and sending out flirts and winks and messages. Because in the end, we're hopeful. Even if we hate to admit it. We're optimistic that somewhere, somehow, he or she is waiting. 
And he might just be one click away.

For treatment on a related dating disorder, see Chronic Dating Fatigue.


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