Step 1. You admit to yourself that you’re spending too much time on dating apps.
Once you’re able to do this you’re allowing yourself to let go of the hold and influence dating apps have over your life and your self-esteem.
Step 2. You recognize that you’re trying to get something from dating apps that the app can’t give you.
When you first uploaded your profile on Tinder or Bumble you thought it would be fun and maybe you’d meet someone special. Scrolling through profiles more anxiety provoking than fun. Every date you go on has become increasingly frustrating and disheartening. You keep going back to the app expecting the outcome to be different. The app can provide you with the opportunity to meet lots of different people but it can’t provide you with genuine connection.
Step 3. What you’re looking for is inside of you.
If you’re looking for a relationship to validate your self-worth then you’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of heartache. When you’re dependent on another person for your own sense of self and happiness, then you’re at the mercy of another person. The only person you can completely control is you. You have to be happy in and out of a relationship.
Step 4. Think of the hangover instead of the high.
When you look back on your dating app experiences, do you forget about the “hangover” and romanticize the “high?” One way to prevent this is to identify how dating apps make you feel. Create a list of how you feel when you’re on the dating app. Close the app and then create another list of how you feel. Then make a list of how you feel 3 hours later. Compare the before and after feelings to see if your hangover is more painful than your high.
Step 5. You’re now going to “out” yourself to a friend.
I want you to share with a good friend your true dating app experiences and feelings. You may tell your friends all of your dating experiences but for this step I want you to challenge yourself and dig deeper. I don’t want you doing your “dating sucks” comedy routine. That’s too easy. I want you to talk about how these apps really make you feel. Share with your friend what you really want in a relationship and the ways in which you’ve compromised what you truly wanted in order to feel better in the moment.
Step 6. Now that you understand the underlying feelings of your dating hangover, when you get an urge to go on the app, you have to remember to play the tape through.
You’ve identified your feelings when you’re on the apps and when you’re off the apps. While you may feel strong at this moment, letting go of old behaviors is always challenging. There will be times when that Tinder app will be calling your name. What do you do when you feel that urge? You play the tape through. When you have an urge to go start scrolling through Tinder again, you want to play out the scenario in your mind. Initially you might feel good but you have to remember that you’re going to have to get off the app eventually. Once you’re off the app or after you’ve gone out on another dissatisfying date, how do you really feel? When you’re feeling lonely it’s easy to focus on what the high will give you but you have to remind yourself that with the high comes to the hangover.
Step 7. You need to stop beating yourself up.
If you want to change your relationship with dating and love, you have to change the relationship you have with yourself. This means you can no longer berate or beat yourself up about your past dating mistakes. Stop beating yourself up for not finding “the one.” Focus on how you speak to yourself and the way you choose to see the world.
Step 8. Make a list of all the ways these dating apps have not given you what you wanted.
Get out that piece of paper and pen again…it’s important to acknowledge the ways in which these apps harm you and your sense of self.
Step 9. Do something for yourself that moves your dating life forward that doesn’t include apps.
There’s a whole world out there that doesn’t involve apps, the Internet, your phone, texting, etc. Before you joined all these apps, what did you like to do? Did you like to play sports? If so, join a co-ed softball, kickball or capture the flag team. Did you like to cook? Take a class. It’s not, “stay on all dating apps” or “be doomed to be alone and lonely forever.” There are other ways to create connection and meet people.
Step 10. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
You’ve done a lot of work already but this is an ongoing process and you’re going to have to keep “checking yourself.” This means when you find yourself rewriting history and telling yourself that dating apps “didn’t make you feel so bad about yourself,” you need to stop, admit that you’re not being honest with yourself and then to try and figure out why you’re trying to sabotage your progress.
Step 11. Keep moving forward, don’t look back.
I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell you when and where you’re going to meet someone really special. You’ll make all these changes but “the one” may not appear for a few weeks, a month, maybe a year. You’ll inevitability feel frustrated and disappointed and decide you might as well go back to dating apps. If dating apps didn’t work for you before, they’re not going to work for you now. Trust that by making these changes, you’re going to feel better emotionally, spiritually and mentally and that’s ultimately what you’re seeking. When “the one” shows up, it’s an added bonus.
Step 12. Get outside of yourself. Do something for other people. There’s more in the world than dating.
You’ve gone through all the other steps and you’ve been working on yourself. The best thing you can do is stop looking inward and start looking outward. Ask yourself, “What can I do to help someone else or better the world?” What about that community garden in your neighbor that you’ve been telling yourself you should volunteer for “one of these days?” You never know, the person you’ve been searching for on-line may just be the volunteer organizer.