I have an unshakeable issue with online dating. No, it’s not a fear of being cat-fished, or even anything more serious. It’s the feeling that too much of my life is in my own hands.
Already, with so much spiritual, philosophical and personal exploration, I feel very much like I am responsible for the way my life pans out. In many ways it’s liberating, but it’s also a very big burden. I am always pushing myself to live outside my comfort zone, to do and say the things I don’t want to do, to experience absolutely everything I possibly can in the time I have. It’s one hell of a whirlwind adventure and it’s incredibly exciting, don’t get me wrong, but it can be difficult to know the line between pushing yourself and over-stretching yourself. I imagine it’s similar to the feeling expressed by many entrepreneurs, wherein they never know how much work is enough work. How do I know if I need to just relax today or if it’s an excuse not to push through a little anxiety/boredom?
The prospect of that same sentiment being applicable to something so central to my personal life is terrifying. Aside from the plethora of reasons that I have an aversion to dating apps (the awkward pretence of romance when you’ve never even met, the fact that so many men just swipe right on everyone to maximise their chances etc etc.), this one fact is what makes them an absolute no-go for me: on top of everything else I feel responsible for in my life, I really don’t want to be responsible for finding my “soul-mate”, the father of my children, my life partner and whatnot.
Ok, I know that’s not the only reason people use dating apps, but to me it seems the only viable reason to engage in such an activity. I would never use a dating app for a hookup, because the concept of intimacy with someone I know little to nothing about makes me feel violated. It’s just something about imagining that a week, a month or even a year later I find out that someone that was once inside me is a Trump supporter….**shivers **. Thank u, next.
Having a profile on the likes of Tinder / Bumble for me would probably be to achieve the end goal of actually dating. And again, for me, dating is a waste of my time if it’s not to find the father of my children. I know that sounds deep, but really it’s the opposite. It’s like, I’m 20, why would I waste my time fishing through guys I’m not all that serious about instead of being with friends, pursuing personal projects etc. etc.? I value my time and my youth, so if you are going to take it up, you’d better be worth it.
With that in mind, allow me to outline why I think partaking in this activity could have a significantly negative impact on one’s mental health. These apps are sold to make you feel like somewhere in their midst hides your future husband, and the only thing standing in between you is your swiping thumbs. Having the responsibility of flicking left or right through hundreds and hundreds of men (do I even have to express how depressing a prospect that is) in order to find some person you’re hoping is out there… that’s crazy. That’s like the biggest responsibility of all time. Not to mention the horrid ratio of productive:counter-productive time. If you have to spend, say, on average 50 hours swiping through dead-ends before you encounter someone you actually date for a while… is it even worth it?! Would you invest time, energy or money in anything else with such disproportionate returns?
Not to mention the way these apps will toy with your emotions without you even realising. You might not ever end up crying over being unmatched on tinder, but the consistent spikes of excitement and falls of disappointment will drain you. Throughout those 50 hours of swiping to find you might actually be highly compatible with, you’re dealing with possibly even hundreds of other matches, last-minute cancelled dates, being ghosted, and a variety of other equally unpleasant scenarios. In essence, whilst the concept of online dating is founded in the fact that it opens you up to more good people, the truth is that it just opens you up to more people, good and bad. And especially without mutual friends, or perhaps some sort of institution in common that you can trust with some level of vetting, and not to mention no in-person first impression, taking into account body language and disposition etc. etc., you open yourself up to a lot of mediocre experiences.
Dating apps have marketed themselves well to show you one side of the equation, to make it seem like they’re boosting it one way, to make you think that you no longer have to deal with the BS of not knowing if someone finds you attractive etc. etc. But really, it’s still the exact same playing field, just with more anxiety.
I can barely decide how many reps of each move to do in the gym, let alone how many men to swipe through on the hunt for Zac Efron. So just like I far too often do with the burpees, I think I’ll pass altogether.
Stay tuned for Part 2 wherein I actually use one of these apps + attempt not to get anxiety / to prove my hypothesis!
And Part 3 when we discuss having standards and how picky is too picky?