There is a quote from an old German movie called ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant’, which best describes human situation. “I believe that people need each other, they are made that way. But they still don’t know how to stay together.” All of us are social animals, and we all crave for company. Recent popularity of online dating apps has convinced us of the same. 5 out of the 50 most popular social media apps are Tinder, Bumble, Match, Plenty Of Fish and Zoosk. All these apps were meant to make dating easier. But, have they? Let us take a look at what research has to say.
Relationship between online dating apps and self-esteem
According to 2017 study, which included about 1300 participants, the percentage of people using Tinder had lower self-esteem when compare to those who didn’t. This means that one of the reasons why people use online dating apps is because they are not comfortable in their own skin. On the other hand, it could also mean that using such apps might ultimately harms self-esteem.
Deep inside, most of us think very highly of ourselves. This superiority complex is coupled with the insecurity that we do not look how we actually are. That’s one of the reason why some of us keep posting our selfies online wearing new and fashionable clothes, and trying different Instagram filters. It is just to rid us of the insecurity that we don’t look good. By liking our posts or commenting on them, others are appreciating our looks. And this ultimately gives a boost to our dwindling self-confidence.
This is exactly what happens on dating apps. People who are very conscious of their looks, but who also think that they are not appreciated enough for them, join dating apps. For them, the major question is not going on date or meeting someone. Looking at their matches on a dating app just pampers their insecurities regarding their looks.
Pain of rejection
No matter whether you are looking for date or just appreciation from the others, rejection hurts. Millions of people use online dating apps every day, and it is obvious that there aren’t a few who are facing constant rejections. Reading or hearing about the stories of others more successful than them with the apps puts salt on their wounds. The worst of all is rejection. When you get a match, and get unmatched just after sending your first message, or don’t get reply at all, you receive a blow. The painful blow of rejection.
According to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011, rejection is very similar to physical damage. The pain that we experience after rejection causes our brain the same distress that it suffers while dealing with a wound or a physical injury. Moreover, just like a wound leave its scar behind it, in the same way the pain of rejection stays with us in the form of a lowered self-esteem.
According to a survey done by match.com, 15% of the singles are suffering from online dating addiction. Also, though men were more prone to this type of addiction, it is the woman who usually suffer more because of it. Another Survey done by singles in America for valentines 2017 stated that 57% of Millennials are lonely, and 22% of Millennials admit that technology has made finding love more difficult.
These statistics clearly show that many online dating apps might be doing the exactly the opposite of what they were meant to do. They have given rise to a lesser-known psychological disorder called ODAD (Online Dating Addiction Disorder). People with this disorder swipe all day long not only because they want desperately to go on date, but because they are addicted to looking at new faces on the app every day. This compulsive behaviour considerably harms self-esteem of a person. If they are not helped early on, that this condition might become more severe. It might severely affect one’s normal social life, and one’s relationship with family.
Tips for overcoming online dating addiction
Admit that there is a problem:
The first and the most important step for solving a problem is admitting that there is a problem. It is clear that you’re not getting anything from the dating app. And if you are getting something, then that is not what you want, as it is only dissatisfaction that initiates compulsive behaviour.
Share your experience:
Even psychology has reinforced the importance of a confession. If you haven’t discussed this problem with anyone, now is the right time to do it. While talking to someone who knows you best, tell them about your situation. Do not hide anything. Talking about your problem would help you in looking at it from an objective perspective. It would reduce your guilt, and make you more comfortable with yourself.
Leave your phone alone:
When you were born, you weren’t born with a cell phone in our hand. Your increasing dependency on one clearly shows that something is not right. You should give yourself at least one hour everyday during which you shouldn’t use your cell phone.
Seems impossible, isn’t it? It would definitely not happen if you and your cellphone are in the same room, or even the same house for that matter. Just go out for a walk, for a cup of coffee, to meet a friend, or to do anything, and leave your cellphone alone. And once you come back, see how little has happened in the meantime.
Make it a point not to say no to friends who are going out. If there’s a movie in the cinema, go out with your friends and watch it. Do things that don’t make you feel lonely and worthless. If you don’t have friends, that’s okay too. Find a hobby. Join a language course or register for a long trip. Opening yourself to human interaction would definitely reduce your urge, as subconsciously that is what you’re looking for.