Alright, we are getting into it...online dating. The good, the bad, the ugly and the how-to-sane while online dating.
I'll start by saying I am not a fan of online dating. I'm not really a fan of dating-- at least as it stands in casual dating culture. And the casual dating culture is a large reason why I don't like online dating. It has created far too casual of circumstances for someone as sensitive as myself. I think it has also caused a large number of us to have very skewed time lines for a relationship. If you'll remember a couple posts back I share the time line my therapist gave me a long time ago she said it goes: meet, friends, dating and a long while after that a relationship grows. The time line for online dating is: meet, date intensely for three months, dramatic break up, swear off dating forever and start the process over.
In my experience with it, 8 years of dating in NYC worth of experience, I found online dating to lead people to rush not only the process of getting to know someone but actually skip the getting to know them all together. The fast, swipe right climate has caused people to feel like they have to get in and make this thing between two people happen quickly before it blows up in their face. I'm not a fan of seeing someone's face, swiping right and after a few texts of banter you're on a date. It starts off putting a lot of weird pressure right away on fledging connection and that new connection needs space, not pressure. The pressure is a "date" has all these sorts of expectations of sex and where it's all leading. However, you do not know the person sitting across the table from you and it should be taking A LOT more time until those kind of topics are on the table. As a woman every first date felt like a huge build up-- is this the one?! Will this be the guy that saves me?? Clearly, I had a lot of unhealthy projections going into these dates but, I hear similar stories from clients too.
However, it's not all doom and gloom and I think there is a way to do it right and stay sane. Personally, I am all about meeting someone in the flesh, out in the wild, where there's a good story involved. You might be like, "it doesn't happen that way anymore!". It does! It takes being open, doing the work on yourself, being open, getting out "there" and being open. Back to online dating, if you want to go this route, the best advice I have is to treat it as a way to make new friends. Yep. Friends. I know you want a relationship and you want to get married. Guess what? The stupid time line society has made you believe is breathing down your neck is in fact a lie. Take a breath! Going into to meet new friends will put you into a different mind set one without the pressure and expectations. In that same vein, I think it should be labeled as "meet up" when you meet someone from an app, not a "date". Semantics maybe but, labels create expectations subconsciously. Meet ups should be relaxed and casual like meeting up in the park for a walk, grabbing tea/coffee or going to a museum. I advise they all take place during the day. Why? daytime = more friendship vibes. Again, what you're going for is to get to know the person not rush and force a stranger to get into a relationship as quickly as possible.
Treating apps as a way to meet new friends will help take off the expectations of where it's all leading and allow for space to slowly get to know the person. The bonus of slowly getting to know someone is the ability to see clearly if there are red flags, if friendship is the only thing on the table, there's potential for more or you want nothing to do with the person what so ever. Taking time allows for calm mind and clear thinking. This is what we want before getting into a relationship with someone. We want to enter one with someone with similar values, outlook on life, wants something long term and is compatible with us. All of that info takes time! You are worthy of investing in! Also, a relationship isn't a marker of your worth. Let's all slow down, get to know people first and create longer lasting and healthier relationships.
If these feels like a sticky spot for you, I look forward to connecting over a session.