The process of finding love in modern times has never been the fairytale state of affairs that we’ve been led to believe. In a way, it was grossly irresponsible for our parents to read us fairy stories when we were little as they gave us drastically unrealistic expectations of relationships. As little girls we’re conditioned to believe (by all but the most forward thinking of parents) to believe that a handsome prince will come into our lives when we need them most. He will be unfailingly kind, and good and infinitely handsome and you will fall in love with one another instantaneously and forever. The reality, however, is rarely that decisive. Prince Charming can become Prince Harming and beneath that charming veneer may reside someone who is at best just slothful and indolent or at worst cruel and vindictive. It takes time to strip away the surface and really get to know a person.
Unfortunately, we live in an age that’s all about veneer! We live partly in the real world and partly on social media through which we present the world with a heavily stage managed version of our lives. In an age where we have selfie apps that will instantaneously airbrush out our flaws we face a growing disparity between the real world and its digital counterpart. Thus, the conversation turns to dating apps. Digital database matching has been used for dating since 1965 and indeed prototype versions of online dating have been used in some form or another since 1695. But as we become ever more reliant on digital technology the surge of dating apps websites and services has proliferated. Now it seems that no matter what you’re looking for in a partner you can find it online. There are services like iMarriages for people looking for matrimony. There are any number of services for people looking for more… casual encounters. There are dating apps for goths, geeks, gamers and any number of other subcultures. While the market is saturated by different dating apps, it’s always important that whatever service you choose in the pursuit of finding a meaningful relationship (however you define it) it’s important to remember that there are certain caveats…
It may be overwhelming at first
If you start to use an app, it can certainly be an overwhelming experience at first and you may need to develop a thick skin fairly quickly. Expect to get deluged with messages from legions of would be suitors. Some of whom will be decent guys who genuinely want to get to know you better, others will have less noble intentions. You’ll quickly learn to categorize the “definitelys”, the “maybes” and the “definitely nots”. You’ll also learn to love the block or mute button.
If this all seems a bit much you may prefer to use Bumble, one of the few dating apps whereby women can only approach men.
It can be hard work
Although the rise of apps has allowed people greater convenience, it’s nonetheless hard work looking for love in any context. As with anything worth having, finding love can require a lot of effort, trial and error as you experiment with various apps to find the one that works for you. Persevere even if it all gets a little tiresome.
Try to get to know the real person as soon as possible
We have an unhelpful habit of meeting someone and overcommitting to them in our heads at an early stage. We see only the veneer of charm that they exude and the managed reality that they provide us with and fill in any blanks with best case scenarios. As such, we can construct an idealized version of a person that we fall in love with. Over time, this inevitably falls away and we see the real person as they are, for better or for worse. The trouble with getting to know someone in the digital realm is that it takes longer to strip away the veneer and get to the real person underneath.
Make sure that you meet in real life as soon as you’re comfortable lest you fall in love with a partial figment of your imagination.
Beware of scammers
Most of the people who use dating apps are just like you; busy people reaching for a convenient way to find other like minded human beings. Unfortunately some will also be cynical scammers preying on the insecurities of single and vulnerable people wither for private gain or for their own twisted enjoyment.
People behave… differently on these apps
The pseudo anonymity of these apps allows people to exist in a world that is, for all intents and purposes, free of consequence. And that leads people to behave differently. The dating app is a realm where people behave in ways that would be egregious or even illegal here in the real world. From sending angry misogynistic diatribes to unsolicited pictures of private parts to the childish act of ghosting you should never accept such immature and disrespectful behavior. Before you use an app make sure it has a way of sanctioning people who behave irresponsibly.