In a college psychology course (twenty years ago), I read about behavioral experiments performed on birds. They were taught that hitting a button would dispense food. Once this behavior was in place and the expectation set, the food was with-held. The initial response was for the bird to hit the button with increasing force and frequency. When nothing happened, the next response was for the bird to give up completely.
The last time I had a boyfriend was four years ago. I hate myself for being so focused finding another one. I hate how much time and energy and money I've sunk into this increasingly discouraging project. I hate how many times I've written about this obsession on this blog. I hate myself for writing one more right now.
I'd say the past four years of feverish dating, using Match.com, the Reader Matches website and various other dating services and strategies, is analogous to that poor bird hitting the button with increasing force and frequency. It's probably time to stop. That psychology textbook probably described the quitting behavior as followed by despondency.