HOUSTON, TX - Online dating is fast, convenient, and offers unthinkable amounts of variety. However, with all that swiping, it’s created “relationshopping,” in which we’ve become consumers, picking up and discarding people much like shopping. More than half of all online dating users have referred to online dating as a marketplace. You add someone to your cart and remove them when you decide you want someone else. Unfortunately, that same level of detachment transfers to actual dates. Here’s some other challenges you will encounter when online dating:
1. Choices are unlimited. While online dating introduces you to more people, that’s exactly what makes it more difficult. You may be talking to 3 or 4 potential partners at the same time. For some app users even when they verbally commit, they continue to check out other profiles for someone “better.” Remember that finding someone you can trust and love takes time. It requires frequent dates, conversation, and monogamy. None of these things are required with online dating.
2. People are rejected or accepted based on limited understanding. Looking at superficial data such as selfies, height, weight or a short paragraph about dreams and desires have little to do with what makes a person tick or what they value. The ease of discarding someone and picking someone new means you don’t spend time getting to know someone. This can create a lot of frustration on both ends. Things that matter most in a relationship, such as values, are rarely discussed.
3. Texting and messaging are superficial ways to communicate compared to in-person communication. Texting and messaging take people out of context, making it more difficult to be understood or create compassion. When you date someone in person, you get to hear their tone, and see their eyes and gestures. 80% of all useful communication is body language. That means you’re missing 80% of what and who this person texting you is saying or feeling.
4. Online dating makes it easier to avoid commitment. There is a constant fear in relationshopping – that you’re missing out on someone better. If you commit to one person, you may miss the actual one you’re supposed to be with. There is little motivation to work on issues you encounter (which is the purpose of a healthy relationship). It’s so much easier to discard them from your relationshopping cart.
5. Online dating lowers self-esteem. Whether it’s a message you sent going unanswered or someone you really like ghosting you, rejection hurts. Rejection from online dating is quick, constant, and superficial – often based on how you look or what you do for a living. Users begin feeling resentful, hopeless, and bitter. It makes you feel as though you’re trying out for a “part,” and everything in your life becomes focused on getting that part. There is also a concern that you’ll become addicted to online dating. Some people can’t quit looking for the next best potential date. A 2016 study from the University of Illinois found increased anxiety with excessive cell phone and internet usage. Having more dates does not make you happy.
Online dating has opened the dating world and allowed users to meet people they ordinarily would never have met. However, if you’re dating online to find someone you can develop a stable relationship with, focus on values. You won’t have as many dates, but the dates you do have will be healthier. –Mary Jo Rapini