While online dating is one of the most popular ways to meet other singles, are online dating apps keeping you single?
It’s not the apps but it could be that you think that online dating is like shopping that is keeping you from finding love.
the business aspect of online dating:
Online dating is a billion-dollar industry. The industry is similar to video games. The game is to get you to use the app frequently. In order to do so, they push you new matches daily. The more time on their site the better. As a business, they make money by having many subscribers and through paid advertisements. Even on the free sites, they are collecting information from you used for data mining.
paradox of choice
As a result of receiving so many matches, it’s easy to believe there are endless choices and partners. This creates what is known as the ‘paradox of choice.’ The paradox is that with many choices you end up choosing no one. Your attitude is, ‘Why would I ever settle because maybe a better option is one swipe away?’
A second way that online dating keeps you single is by what I call the ‘shoppers mindset.’ Today you have certain expectations. You say, ‘Alexa, find me a husband.’ Similarly, on dating apps, you have high expectations. You write in your location, age, income, and fitness levels, political party, and depending on the app answer questions about preferences and qualities of ideal partners.
But here’s the problem, the current culture expects to get what it wants.
In your profile, you clearly write, “I love to travel and am looking for someone to explore the world.” When a man without a passport contacts you and says, hey I like your profile, I think we have a lot in common. You think, “Wow, can’t he read?” Now you are frustrated because you spent time designating your preferences and you didn’t get what you expected, argh!
ruling people out too quickly
Without knowing the actual size of the dating pool most of the time you are looking to exclude verses include people. After all, you don’t have the time or resources to date, everyone. This leads to filtering people out for sometimes benign reasons which can feel harsh.
A client of mine was corresponding with a guy she really liked however it went south quickly after this text exchange. “Wow, I wish you would have told me you have a cat. It doesn’t make sense that we should meet after all. I have a dog and it just won’t work. Good luck to you on your search.
Imagine if the couple had met in person? If they were both attracted to each other and laughed the night away how might they have handled this differently? Who knows, maybe your cat and his dog would be great friends?
emphasis on traits:
While the example above ended prematurely you might give another person too many chances for the opposite reason. Your search, for a Christian, vegan man who lives 5 miles away from you, is successful, liberal, drinks socially, and is over 6′ tall. Because a man like this is rare when you do meet the one you think you have found your unicorn. Only later you find out he’s also insecure, has anger issues, and no relationship experience. In this case, you are frustrated because you gave him too much credit and wasted your time.
being too picky
With a large sample size, expectations for perfection and the apps themselves not being able to screen for character traits, the most common problem is that most people are ”too picky.’
In many ways, it’s easy to hide behind your list of 222 non-negotiable traits. You can blame the app, the city you live in, or claim that they are not enough good men to date. But what if it’s you? That underneath your pickiness is really your fear of being vulnerable, of taking a chance on love and being hurt?
how to make DATING APPS work for you
Now that you know that online dating is a business, the paradox of choice, and the pitfalls of the shoppers’ mindset how can you make online dating work for you?
You are the one using the app, don’t let it use you. Turn off push notifications take breaks from the app as needed, in order to not get overwhelmed.
Try not to think of it as finding your ‘soul mate’ which sounds rare and unattainable. Online dating apps are nothing more than an introductory site that matches people on a small number of criteria.
If you are not attracting enough prospective partners how can you make your profile more appealing? Do you need to get better pictures, update your profile, or be more open?
people are more forgiving in person
Stop with the hundred questions on email, text, or phone. Push to meet someone in person, the only way to assess chemistry is in person.
Many couples in long-term relationships will tell you that if they had met their partner online they may not have been an obvious fit. In real life, people are more forgiving especially when there is a mutual connection.
When it comes to finding a partner online be prepared for doing some sifting. It may take you a while to sort through people, go on dates, and get to know people on a deeper level to assess real potential.
Try not to take things too personally but be able to be objective and make changes as necessary. If things are not going well can you figure out what changes you need to make? Is it timing, or do you need to look deeper into your own attachment style?
Clients will ask me how long they have to date, the answer will vary. You have to keep at it until you are successful. A consumer reports article called, ‘Match me if you can.’ looking at which dating sites were most popular didn’t find obvious differences. Their advice was that all had pros and cons but in the end, if you stick with them they work.
While online dating apps are the easiest way to meet, be careful about falling into the Paradox of Choice and/or adopting the Shopper’s mindset. Remember the pool is not endless and you must give people a chance by meeting in person. Keep your standards high but your expectations reasonable. It takes time to build a connection and to figure out whether someone is right for you.
Go ahead, get online today but do so with the right mindset. The right person may surprise you!
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook @backtolovedoc I post almost every day and it’s the best way to stay connected.
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