More And More, If You’re Dating, You’re Dating On An App
Dating apps aren’t the only way to meet a partner, but there has been a rapid change in how people date, accelerating even just in the last few years. Tribeca Therapy was recently featured in a column on Business Insider responding to a question whether finding love is possible offline.
Speaking to Julia Naftulin, Insider’s resident sex and relationship reporter, our director Matt, who is a regular on her panel of health experts and relationship therapists, explains how dating apps have become more and more ubiquitous through his fourteen years of practicing couples therapy. “I think just about everybody who is meeting people outside of college, graduate school, or work is meeting people through apps,” he says.
It’s Worth Looking At How Dating Apps Are Used
While the pervasiveness of dating apps means looking for an alternative to cure your dating woes is more likely than ever to lead to frustration (and a dead end), the question of how these apps are used is worth looking at. With the influx of dating apps, dating has become about both marketing and sorting. Like it or not, learning how to present yourself online matters.
On the flip side, navigating–and not being led astray–by marketing is equally important, which is where sorting comes in. There’s a tremendous amount of information on dating app profiles, which means you have to sort out and not be dispirited by creeps, dick pics, harassment, hostility, ghosting, fake profiles, lies, half-truths, and attempts at manipulation.
Self-protection Is Key On Dating Apps
What is needed when looking for a relationship on dating apps is self-protection–both emotional and physical. This is key for two reasons. The first is obvious: you don’t want to get slimed, mistreated, or worse. But, the second is to not be overlooked. If you enter into dating using apps, you need a high level of confidence that you can protect yourself, whether that means telling someone off if they’re nasty, setting dates up in public with a solid “out” if they go wrong, and figuring out quickly if someone is unsafe and acting accordingly. When you don’t have that confidence, it can be a challenge to be open to meeting potential dates online.
Ambivalence And Chasing The Wrong Person Can Also Get In The Way Of Dating Success
As Matt noted in the article, daters that struggle with dating apps may also be putting up their own obstacles, namely chasing the wrong person and ambivalence. Beginning with chasing the wrong person, unresolved emotional stuff from childhood is most likely to express itself in dating. There are a number of different psychological phenomena at play, but in short, this often looks like dating someone we (generally unconsciously) believe will help us resolve old emotional pain rather than someone who will compliment our lives and be good company.
In addition, ambivalence and not being fully resolved about dating inevitably means you’ll be exposed to the worst parts of online dating without the rewards (some nice dates, at least). Why? Because the good parts of dating are about falling in love, getting close, and letting a complicated human get close to you. You can’t do those things ambivalently.