The Minefield of Online Dating

The Minefield of Online Dating

These days it feels as though many of us have or know somebody who fell in love and even met their life partner(s) on the internet. With more and more dating sites and unlimited opportunities to meet someone on-the-go, technology enables us to connect with geographically diverse people. Many of whom we would typically not cross paths otherwise in our regular routines or social circles.

However, the dating process is difficult and most of us do not enjoy sifting through “hey” messages and bad pick-up lines; leaving many of us experiencing online dating fatigue. This might present as an attitude of indifference, feeling insecure, depressed and hopeless, bored, and even angry. People are left with asking themselves why they feel burnt out. Some experience this fatigue after a few dates and others do even if they have never gone on any. Fears or insecurities about the past and future can certainly influence our emotional state.

So how can we feel less exhausted? Let’s start by shifting our focus. Remember your first responsibility and commitment is to yourself and your own wellbeing. Take into account of your behaviors and consider the way you engage on websites or mobile apps. Swiping right or clicking “like” on anything that catches your attention may not be fostering your intentions for connection. Many of us tend to mindlessly interact when we are experiencing feelings of unpleasantry. Emotions such as loneliness and boredom may correlate to where and when you are active on these platforms: after an ending to a relationship, alone in bed late at night, in between work projects, or again, when we are simply doing nothing. These emotionally driven experiences may be contributing to a behavioral pattern that is not quite aligned with your heart or your actions. 

We can combat this by creating a ritual time and space around your use of online dating. On average, people spend about 90 minutes a day online dating. That’s 12 hours a week and this can start to feel like a part-time job. Finding a space in your home where you feel relaxed and attuned with yourself as well as designating specific times to engage in conversation or swipe. This leaves room to process whatever emotions come up; so that they can be seen, welcomed and tended to. These are all small examples of practicing and incorporating mindfulness while honoring our humanity (and you just thought you were trying to find the love of your life).

No matter what you are looking for, if you are not getting what you want out of your dating experience, shifting your mindset may not only help find you a good match but it can also improve your relationship with that person. By being intentional and present in each moment, it also ensures you don’t get caught up in the potential of what a new relationship could be. As opposed to what it is, or stay stuck in past relationship mistakes. There are even dating apps rising to the occasion like MeetMindful. Which asks users to share their philosophies on life, and what aspects of themselves they are working on as a way to encourage vulnerability and establish trust. A similar app, Sapio, encourages users to upload personal stories to help members form connections on a intellectual and spiritual level. 

Be sure to secure a friend, trusted colleague, coach, or therapist to share your dating journey with. This can be key in counteracting any sense of isolation that may come up from using these apps as well as help support you process the challenges that come with dating. For better or worse, technology has revolutionized the dating landscape. Most are in search of a meaningful connection and directing our thoughts can be a helpful tool towards cultivating our approach not only with ourselves, but with others as well. Like so many other things in life, there is no one size fits all but I am confident mindful dating will be a valuable guide. 

Lindsay Enright, MS, LCMFT provides couple, family, and individual therapy virtually to those located in Maryland, Virginia, and California. Call or email today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary consultation with Lindsay!