Online dating is now mainstream, but are you feeling overwhelmed by choice?
Online dating is no longer a fringe activity—people young and old use online dating services and apps to meet up because they are fast, cheap, and easy. Also, online dating has developed over the years from something sketchy to mostly legit. People who post fake photos or demonstrate stalker tendencies get banned from reputable dating sites.
One of the main challenges around dating apps is the same problem every other app poses: too many choices and too much distraction. Too many dating choices may lead to decreased commitment because you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Unlike online card games or shopping, you put a bit of your actual ego on the line with online dating, so your anxiety may already be ramped up before you get one message. Read on for a few tips to reduce the overwhelm of online romancing.
1. Only go on one or two dates a week
If you live in a sizeable city, or even a small town with blazing fast Internet access, the options for online dating are pretty much wide open. You could potentially have a new date every night of the week—but this is both exhausting and expensive. To better appreciate the people you decide to meet offline, there has to be time for reflection after the date, at least a night or two.
Having five dates in one week, just because setting them up required minimal effort, means each of the people you meet will be compared to the one from the night before. It’s too much information to absorb—what will you actually remember from each date a week later? Will you even be able to remember which name went with which face?
2. Only use one dating app at a time
Dating apps can be time-consuming. You have to set up a profile and then you have to browse thousands of potential dates. If you’re going to invest any meaningful energy in online dating, stick to one app. Having multiple online dating profiles running at the same time will consume most of your waking hours, in either active tech use or psychological angst. One app at a time is reasonable. Also, you won’t burn through all your data in three days this way.
3. Use the dating app for only set time periods a day
Overusing your smartphone is hard on your hands, eyes, and brain. Smartphone addiction is starting to be compared to drug addiction—they stimulate the same pleasure regions in the brain. Minimise the time on yours for online dating by checking and using it only at set times during the day. To fall asleep easier, turn off all back-lit screens an hour before bed. They interfere with melatonin production, making it harder to fall asleep.
4. Go offline if you get overwhelmed or depressed about dating
As with any technology designed to make your life easier and save time, use dating apps consciously, and notice what they’re doing to your emotional state. If you’re spending far too much time on a dating app and it’s impacting the rest of your life negatively, go off it. Prolonged anxiety and depression are no fun to experience and can lead to more serious problems. Turn off your phone and join a meetup group instead, or ask your friends to set you up a blind date.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.