Online dating has grown increasingly popular among all ages for a number of reasons. Having the ability to scroll through potential matches literally anywhere as long as you have your phone is extremely convenient and saves time. It can act as a buffer if you experience anxiety when meeting someone new face-to-face. The list of benefits goes on, but unfortunately, online dating doesn’t come totally without consequence.
Dating sites present hundreds of opportunities to talk with potential partners, and while this can be exciting and fun it can also lead to hurt feelings and frustration. In reality, dating sites lead to increased exposure to rejection. Self-esteem, confidence and the willingness to put one’s self out there can all be jeopardized.
It’s not necessary to delete or totally avoid dating apps to avoid these negative consequences, but any individual using these apps should be aware that they can have an impact on their sense of self. It is important to engage in the online dating process with the right mindset and be prepared for the unexpected without engaging in negative self-talk. Focusing on staying positive can make online dating a fun and productive process.
Let’s look at some ways to manage some of the potential negative aspects of online dating.
Feel the Emotions
It’s valid to feel hurt, sad, or frustrated during the process of dating someone new, and it is important to allow yourself to fully feel these emotions rather than suppress them. Suppressing emotions can lead to them coming out in other ways that may not be healthy. Establish healthy coping strategies: vent to a friend, process your feelings with a therapist, or use them to fuel a good workout.
Understand that the person turning you down has their own things going on, or reasons that it won’t work out, and understand that if you aren’t right for that person, they aren’t right for you.
Have Realistic Expectations
Sometimes early in the courting period, we glorify the individual because we don’t fully know them. With that being said, ask yourself if your expectations of this person are reality-based. Do you have expectations that you will be in a relationship five years from now? One month from now? Or that they don’t have any flaws? Live in the moment and have realistic expectations. Take each unmet expectation as an opportunity to learn from it.
People can fall into unhelpful thought patterns when dating doesn’t work out. They overgeneralize or think something is always true based on a limited number of experiences or attach a label to themselves after a negative experience. These can significantly lower your self-esteem and deter you from dating altogether. Remember that dating is one aspect of your life; it does not define you and, above all, remember to love yourself.
See a Therapist
Talking with a therapist can give you tools to help improve or maintain high self-esteem and navigate through the dating world. Sometimes talking with an unbiased third party such as a therapist can help you to see other perspectives that may be beneficial and apply to different aspects of your life, even outside of dating.