We’re living in an age where finding a date is as easy as ordering a pizza. You simply download a dating app, upload a few pictures, and boom–several willing singles are flooding your inbox.
This instant gratification can lead us to not value the relationships that we do build as much, because we know that as soon as things turn a bit sour, we can hop right back on the dating apps and find another date.
Knowing that there is an endless supply of potential suitors makes it easier to break things off with the person you’re with, often for the smallest things.
Commitment doesn’t mean the same today as it did in a pre-dating app world. Now, if you agree to get off the dating apps after a few in-person dates, it’s considered a big commitment.
What happened to focusing on one person at a time? How can you possibly build a real connection with someone when you have other people waiting on the back burner? You can’t, and if by some miracle you are able to, it’s not going to be as solid of a connection as if you had devoted all of your attention to that person from day one.
There’s also the issue of texting versus actual phone conversations. Something is seriously lost when you’re typing responses on your phone instead of answering with your voice.
Each response is carefully considered instead of the natural flow that comes from talking on the phone or in-person. Tone is difficult to decipher, and it can lead to some serious misunderstandings.
So now you’ve started a relationship based on an initial attraction to a photograph, a quick scan of a profile, and a few calculated text messages. You can see why so many relationships that start on dating apps fail. The connection isn’t as strong from the beginning, so the slightest thing is going to break that connection–especially if you know you can easily hop right back on a dating app and start talking to someone new within hours.
Is it possible to be active on a dating app and not fall into this instant gratification trap? Sure, but you have to stick to some rules, and it’s not easy to do when there is so much temptation out there.
1. Loosen up your physical requirements.
Attraction is an important part of any relationship, but there are some really physically attractive people with awful personalities. If you open yourself up to someone who’s not normally your “type”, you might be surprised how attractive their personality is.
2. Don’t play detective on their social media.
We all have a past. It’s perfectly fine to connect on social media so you can make sure they’re not a complete psycho, but scouring through all of their posts has the potential to create expectations prior to going on a physical date, which almost always sets the relationship up for failure.
3. Talk on the phone more, text less.
Texting is another part of that instant gratification culture. You can communicate with your significant other at any time, anywhere–but something really gets lost in translation when you’re doing more texting versus talking on the phone. Hearing someone’s voice and tone and knowing what they’re saying is real and authentic can go a long way in building a true connection.
4. Have an honest conversation about when to delete the dating apps.
If your first date went well and you plan on going on a second date, there is nothing wrong with bringing up the possibility of deleting the dating apps while you explore the relationship. Many apps even allow you to keep your profile up, but “take a break” temporarily. It is very hard to build a connection with someone when you are talking to other people, so don’t be afraid to address this sooner rather than later.
5. Take it slow with intimacy.
Unless you are both clearly looking for a hookup, set a rule as to how long you’re going to wait to become intimate. Taking this pressure off from the beginning will allow you to focus more on building an emotional connection before a physical connection. There is nothing wrong with hooking up on the first date if it’s what you both want, but this instant gratification can sometimes take away from the emotional connection you’re trying to build and things tend to fizzle out a lot faster.
Dating apps aren’t all bad. Many people have met the love of their life on a dating app, so it’s obviously possible. Staying focused on the long-term goal of building a lasting, healthy relationship versus that instant gratification will make it easier to find your happily ever after.
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