The world of online dating can be a painful and unforgiving place, especially when you’re not in the right mindset.

The digital love gods seem to have a penchant for making mildly hopeful single people lose all faith in humanity.

Nothing’s worse than getting the same awful outcomes, one after another, when you’re grappling with online dating burnout and bitterness.

Online dating burnout has the potential to make you lose touch with what really matters in life.

Based on my experience as a psychologist working with hundreds of online daters, the psychological toll that online dating takes on people’s mental health is more about the way potential mates act online than the experience of countless, failed dates.

People seem willing to gamble with their hearts though. After all, the payoff can be incredible.

Yes, it’s always possible you’ll meet “the one,” but it’s almost certain that you’ll be thrown for a nauseating virtual tour consisting of superficial people who can become too perverted too fast, too superficial for too long, unpredictable and freely willing to cancel a date while you’re in route to the meeting place.

The two keys to online dating are learning how to play the dating game and knowing when it’s time to shift gears and pull back to regain your sanity.

A properly timed pause from online dating can recharge your soul, elevate your mood, ground you and give you time to make changes to your dating strategy.

In fact, knowing when to press pause on your online dating profile could be the difference between finding that special someone and giving up with bitterness and self-loathing.

10 Signs It’s Time to Step Back From Online Dating Sites

1) You’re looking for sex, but you’re seriously disappointed when it’s not love.

A little distance from swiping and checking can bring a refreshing sense of perspective and inner balance. Patience is an essential ingredient for staying sane in the twisted universe of repetitive dating.

2) Small internet dating letdowns feel catastrophic.

Pausing your dating accounts can give you a chance to empty your stress tank and take better care of yourself. If you relate to this, only a break can give you the reset you need to ride the ups and downs of dating.

3) You’re prone to depression and your internet dating behavior is making it worse.

You want to be in the right mindset to when you meet new people. Be careful with the fantasy that meeting the right person will take you out of your depression. First, allocate the bulk of your energy to managing your depression. Then, add swiping and checking to your life.

4) You find yourself on dates with people who have character traits that would never work for you.

A reset can go a long way, but the key for people who relate to this sign is to better understand what attracts you to people you don’t respect or who mistreat you. The “bad boy” or girl is exciting, but do they have what it takes for a committed relationship?

5) No one seems eligible to date because you’re obsessed with specific physical features in a partner, which leads you to reject many otherwise perfect potential partners.

Physical attraction is, of course, essential as the initial glue that bonds you together. However, if you’ve had no luck with online dating AND you categorically reject most eligible dates because of their lack of superficial feature, then you probably need a break to regroup.

6) You constantly badmouth online dating and you feel like a victim of the process.

Attracting the right mate requires you to, at least partially, agree to the rules of the internet dating game. Moreover, if you appear bitter and you act like a victim of too many web dating failures, you might not seem so appealing to potential mates.

7) You develop a powerful addiction to checking your dating apps all day long.

When the hunt for a mate becomes the payoff, you’re in trouble. An obsession with checking the apps means that you’ve lost your focus and you need to pull the plug on synthetic dating to regain inner balance.

8) You feel sickened by the small talk that’s necessary to establish the initial online connection.

Small talk with strangers via messaging is a thorn in the side to most people. People suddenly ghost you, they say inappropriate things, they force you to partake in an endless messaging exchange with no sign of actually setting up a call or a date and they push to get your phone number too prematurely.

9) You can’t get past the first date with nearly everyone you go out with.

This is a clear sign that something’s not right with your dating strategy. It’s either how you present or your filtering process for choosing dates that needs an adjustment. A short dating cleanse can go a long way in helping you shift your mentality.

10) No matter what you say or do online, you can’t land a first date.

This is often a sign that you need to redo your online profile or change the way you flirt in the digital world.

If you choose to take a break, consider a month-long cleanse from going on internet dates or checking your apps. You’ll see that you feel better after a true break.

Online dating is not for everyone. Some people need a more organic approach.

Take a look at Michelle Toglia’s amazing post in Bustle, which is full of advice for meeting people in real life.

Also, it can be incredibly valuable to solicit feedback from people you’ve dated on what kind of first impression you give.

Please feel free to add more signs of burnout in the comments section. I’d love to hear your perspective.