Been there, done that! I can, without a doubt say, I am never going back, to one of those apps that makes a person feel crappy about themselves. Dating apps were developed purely with the intention of helping people find a partner, of any kind as each may please.
So what made me quit? After countless right swipes, minimal matches, multiple ghostings, three-four failed dates, I began questioning myself and then butchering my self-esteem.
You might have already drawn some sort of not-so-good image about me in your mind, because a girl that gets rejections in different ways, again and again, will obviously not be a good match for anyone right? NO! It’s a wrong understanding. Typing this out is difficult, but it’s a fact. I am an averagely good-looking independent woman.
There are many like me, I am sure, on these dating apps, who punish themselves for failing to find someone, by questioning their self-worth. Questions like, ‘did I do or say something wrong?’, ‘did I dress up too much?’, ‘did I come across as desperate?’, ‘was I too average looking for them?’, ‘is it my weight that’s driving people away? ‘are my dark circles making me look less beautiful?’, ‘is my tummy making me unattractive?’, etc begin to pop in the mind of the user.
Rejections hurt. Imagine getting multiple of them at any time of the day or night. It’s only natural to jump to negative conclusions immediately and also question yourself after being made to feel ‘not good enough’ about yourself by someone who has not known you at all.
Data by a global security software firm states that about 21% of Indian adults are on dating apps. After the US, India is the second largest revenue market for dating apps. This is enough for us to gauge the amount of Indians that might be facing severe self-esteem issues. Mental health experts say that dating apps do more harm to an individual’s mental health than good.
Dating apps definitely do work. Some do end up finding meaningful relationships for themselves, but the number is very less when compared to those who develop severe self-esteem issues.
How do these dating apps take a toll on mental health?
Apps like Bumble, Tinder, and Hinge let people connect with others without the need of stepping out. Its lets users carry a network of people looking for a partner, literally in their hands everywhere they go whenever they go. Right from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night, or sometimes even in the middle of the night, users can look for a match. This ease of looking for someone however can spiral into toxicity in multiple ways.
When a user fails to match with even a single individual after swiping right on hundreds of users, or when matches unmatch a user right in the middle of the chat, or when the user gets stood up on their first date, or even when a user gets ghosted by the match, especially after the first or second date, disappointment begins to set in, in most cases leading to concerns like depression.
So what must be done to stop ourselves from falling into the abyss?
Firstly, it’s important to know when to stop. Swiping can become an addiction. The first step to counter low self-esteem is to put your phone down. Instead of spending maximum time on dating apps looking for a connection, invest time in those around you, those who keep you grounded, the ones who see you and accept you for who you are with love. It’s these people you should trust more than someone you have never even met, before questioning your worth.
Set a limited amount of time for using dating apps. One hour of your day is enough to look for some connection. If you find someone, good for you. If you don’t, it’s fine. It’s not like you have anything to lose.
Define your boundaries and set clear expectations. Everyone has their own reason to be on the app. It’s necessary you define that reason for yourself and also respect others’ reasons. This way you will know what and how much to expect from whom.
What others do with you on dating apps is mostly never about you or because of what they think of you. I have had guys unmatch me after having great conversations for days, some have avoided meeting me after having met the first time, some chose the easiest way of all to do away with me: ghosting. After months of self-questioning, trash talking, and feeding into low self-esteem, I sat back to reflect. How can there be something wrong with me I wondered. I am surrounded by a beautiful set of people who love me for what I am.
So, others’ approach towards you on dating apps has got nothing to do with you, it’s all them. What people on dating apps think about you should thus be the least of your worries.