If you recognize even the slightest inkling of quiet desperation inside of you when it comes to your dating life, this post is for you.
Over the years of seeking a partner, I have used all types of social interplay when it comes to meeting potential mates. In my head and heart, I am on the mission to find ‘the one’, but I also recognize that there is probably more than one potential match out there for me. I think the notion of a perfect match is more of a storybook romance we’ve been indoctrinated with than reality.
I don’t think I’m too far off in my rationale, as this kind of approach to finding ‘the one’ can be traced back to the book of Genesis in the Bible. Abraham tells his servant to go find his son a wife. The only specificities for a wife that he outlines really is that the servant must bring home a woman that is a Canaanite. That really leaves a lot of details up to chance when it comes to personality types, body shapes and sizes, intellectual capacity, and spiritual prowess now, doesn’t it?
Many of us have been brought up with the Disney movie image of finding a knight in shining armor, or a gorgeous cinderella to make our dreams come true. But, no one mentioned that cinderella has terrible conflict resolution skills, and your knight in shining armor expects you to cook and clean after him more like a servant than a partner.
Today the lie of a storybook romance continues through our highly filtered lives of social media. If, only we outlined our imperfections when it came to our relationship world and shared that with the world instead of our highly altered narratives of perfection that most of us feel pressured to share on Instagram.
Whether we like to admit it or not, this unconscious pressure is suffocating. It can sometimes lead us to make bad decisions, by forcing love in hopes of filling that thirsty void of loneliness. if we get even the slightest hint of connection, the oxytocin starts to flow and we forget how unreliable infatuation can be. We blindingly take the bait and are off to the races again.
Statistically speaking, at this point we are doomed for relationship failure.
My long list of failed relationships should serve as more than enough evidence to correct my practices, but I simply ignore the facts. My highly impulsive nature needs to be tamed with boundaries to hopefully at least slow this toxic cycle down I’ve come to admit.
If I am completely honest with myself, I have to admit a certain degree of panic when it comes to finding love, or the chance of never truly finding it. This might be charged due to deeply seated inferiority issues, or a jarring rejection from a young age in which I have tried to compensate for a couple of decades, it’s really impossible to know for sure. All I know is that I need some help.
Now that I am single again, I needed to really investigate and assess what was creating this impulsive monster of desperation when it came to dating apps. It was taking up far too much of my mental space. With all the dopamine pathways being lit up through matches and swipes, my addictive nature was in full flight from reality. I’d find myself checking into Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge dating apps multiple times an hour, let alone a day.
Through journaling and speaking to friends, I wanted to find out a way to approach this habit without going cold turkey, because that wouldn’t work for me. I’m too much of a romantic type. Sure, you could call it a coping mechanism, but I chose to call it a problem of worth.
The first and most successful barrier to entry I put in place was to delete a couple of the apps and only use one. I then went and turned off the notifications to this app. I wanted to take control back when it came to my engagement level. I found the notifications were far too much for me. The first message of a match illuminates my phone screen and I almost salivate like Pavlov’s dogs hoping that this could be the one or at least a gorgeous new face to admire(I’ll speak to my shallowness in another post I’m sure). You might initially have the will-power to ignore the first pop-up message at first, but I doubt you will be able to ignore the illuminated icon as you scroll past it on your home screen.
My ability to resist only lasted so long before I always gave in and logged-in again. Once I was there if I didn’t like the results of the message or matches, I felt the overpowering urge to continue to swipe more and more to increase my chances of finding ‘the one’ again. This could easily take up another 10-15 minutes before I put the phone down again. This morbid cycle would just repeat itself, hour after hour, day after day. “Enough!”, I said to myself and took action.
The impact these dating apps have on our self-esteem seems negligible, but it actually extremely potent and destructive. If you don’t believe me, go and research the brilliant professors of psychology who served as consultants in the creation process of the algorithms that cause more suffering than love as far as I can see. These apps were designed to create impulsive engagement through the use of psychological trickery and scheduled intermittent reinforcement techniques that are very effective. While I considered myself more on the well-educated side of things when it comes to the science of psychology, I still fell victim to their game.
While I don’t want to give up on the quest for love at all, nor do I encourage you to do the same, I’d still like to maintain some level of serenity along the journey. Turning off your notifications is a sure-fire way to jumpstart that process, and maybe even bring back a small semblance of control.
As always my friends, you are loved and worth it!