The paradox of technology has never been more evident than using our phones for online dating.
Gone is the need to go to singles bars and clubs, knock back a tankful of Dutch courage and then wait for the next weekend to go at it all again. These days, technology brings millions of potential dates to your fingertips, the stigma of online dating has all but gone, and the next person is just a few swipes or clicks away.
Far from it. Rejection is real and impacts our heads, even online. An unanswered swipe, a ghosted post date - shrug it off maybe but the damage accumulates and chips away inexorably at our self-esteem. Rejection hits the same part of your brain that processes pain so the brain has trouble telling the difference between a broken bone and a broken heart.
And online dating technology gives you the opportunity to feel rejected, fast and often, wherever and whenever you want. Studies confirm that online dating users have significantly lower self-esteem than those who do not use it. Users start feeling disposable and develop a heightened awareness of their looks. Perceived faults with self-image can then become all-consuming until we start questioning our own worth. We are then on a slippery slope which accelerates exponentially to a tipping point which is very hard to reverse once crossed.
Low self-esteem, online addiction, burn out, and anxiety are the tip of the online depression iceberg. We are seeing a big push on mental health awareness at the moment but the full impact of online dating and social media has not yet been recognised.
There is a reason that technology leaders do not allow their children to use ANY social media sites. (The Social Dilemma is a must watch for anyone using online apps, social media or otherwise.) Technology leaders develop and sell these apps because they are profitable and popular. The apps are geared for the user to stay on as long as possible. App developers and their families do not use them. If you do continue to use online apps, set yourself clear rules of engagement. Go in with clear expectations, only use them for, say, an hour a day at a time of your choosing, profile your authentic self and don’t get fooled by scammers and fake people.
However, the best way to meet someone right has not changed since dating began - an introduction by friends. A date that has been vetted and approved by people that know both you and your date gives both of you the best chance of success. So, if your friends are not doing the job, do the next best thing and pick up the phone and get an expert to do the work for you. The people at Berkeley are real people, experienced and with access to thousands of vetted clients looking for love.
Making that call is a small step but it might be the first step in changing your life for the better, forever.