As a newly single 23-year-old who had a serious relationship for four years, the online dating game was one that seemed enchanting. Upon the initial download of the apps, I won’t lie, I felt like a kid in a candy store.
There’s some type of crazy, good satisfaction with knowing that the person who you have deemed attractive has reciprocated those feelings. It was an ego boost that initially had me feeling incredibly confident.
The more I swiped, the better I felt. The more matches I had became equivalent to my level of confidence. I presume this is the same correlation that exists with regard to Instagram and Facebook “likes”.
Men were validating my physical appearance and that in turn allowed me to determine that I was “doing well”.
However, I would like to point out that this personal definition of “doing well” is inaccurate and self-deprecating.
I know I am not alone here in my way of thinking. These apps are like a high. They make you feel like you won some type of invisible prize, but then, the feeling goes away. So you keep going like it’s a slot machine. Pulling a lever in the hopes that THIS time will be the time you get it right.
I met several of the people that I matched with in person from this app and got to know a few of them quite well.
And even when I found myself developing feelings for people, I still proceeded to keep the apps.
When I was bored, I would play the game of swiping left and right. When i was feeling low or having a bad day, I would do the same. I began to use the motions of left and right to reassure myself that I was doing ok.
We’re told not to put all our eggs in one basket, so we go out with multiple people to experience new things, all while simultaneously destroying the potential of a relationship when the other person see’s your phone light up with Tinder notifications.
FOMO (fear of missing out) has worked it’s way into almost every aspect of our lives, dating now being one of them. We’re so worried that if we stop swiping that we may be missing out on the next best thing.
So we keep playing the game. We keep swiping and matching and repeating the motions. Left, right. Left, right.
A revolving door of step and repeat that often ends in a whole lot of nothing. When things would end with one person, I would open up the application to validate myself once again.
If I wasn’t receiving a lot of matches, I would become frustrated and feel as though there was something wrong with me. As if my physical appearance was all that I had to offer.
But the truth is, in a lot of these online apps, that is all you can offer upfront. A loose promise of being sexy and then maybe you might have a great personality.
I swiped left on a great deal of people simply because they were not “hot.” It’s ironic that we’re all so worried about missing out, that we actually end up missing out.
We swipe left on people who aren’t necessarily society’s definition of attractive because we believe that the hotter the person, the better their personality will be. Thus, disregarding people who may really be great humans.
While one-night-stands are glorified and random hook ups are the norm, the world sends us a lot of mix signals because at the same time, being single is stigmatized as a bad thing and being in a relationship is generalized as successful.
All of these mentalities contradict one and other, so it feels impossible to win at a game where the rules don’t really add up. While the directions may seem pretty straight forward, the deeper we go, the more blurred the lines become.
Technological advancement has changed the way we form and maintain relationships, but do not be fooled that the idea of progression is always just a positive one.
We are all so accessible to one and other, which one would think would make it easier to form a special bond. However, it feels as though our infinite amount of options has led us to doing just the opposite. We’re ordering one of everything on the menu just to make sure we get a taste of everything, but this just results in a nasty stomach ache.
This is not to chastise anyone or online dating, but it’s to raise the prospect that we should question it more so than we do.
If moving left and right is supposed to make us move further along, why does it now feel like we’re stuck in the same place?