Navigating the online dating world

Header image for the article Navigating the online dating world Credit: FANSHAWE STUDENT UNION PUBLICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DEPT.

“Roses are red, violets are blue, how did I get so lucky to match with you?” That’s what they always say before they ghost you, right?

We’ve all been there, from being catfished to ghosted to in a relationship to seeing your partner on multiple dating platforms, and that’s not all. Issues with dating apps are cause for concern for everyone, not just single folks.

A healthy relationship is vital to our psychological and physical wellbeing. Companionship helps us deal with stress and increases our sense of being. Dating apps were designed to be convenient so that people may easily connect with like-minded individuals. Whether you’re new or experienced with dating apps, there’s always important information which may get overlooked.

First off, do not take anything personal. Today, we live in a society which embraces ‘cancel culture.’ A culture in which one is excluded from any social circle both on and offline for various reasons. Political biases and personal development are some of the underlying reasons why people adopt this mentality.

Similarly, the behaviour of ghosting is comparable to cancel culture and is more prevalent in the dating scene. Ghosting occurs when one drops all forms of communication and contact without an explanation. This sudden disbandment may leave you doubting yourself and your worth. But there may be several reasons why the individual left unwarrantedly. It’s best to periodically assess our approach with people but also understand that some things aren’t meant to be, and it’s important to move on. Besides, sometimes people do come around, it just may have been a crazy work schedule that left them feeling overwhelmed and too busy to respond to your messages.

Next, let’s talk safety! Recognize that everyone on these apps may not be who they say or look like they are.

Disclosing information such as the location of your workplace is risky. Exchange vague personal information and provide details once you have physically met up with the individual and feel comfortable. This is your journey of finding someone who best suits you and if your gut instinct feels bad, then this person may not be right for you. As well when scheduling dates, consider dates in public areas like restaurants, parks and arenas. If you are strictly following COVID-19 protocols, then virtual meetups or physically distanced activities are great options.

Following matters pertaining to your safety, it’s important to also set boundaries. Be clear about your intentions and reasons for being on the app. In addition, be open to expressing your feelings, and if your feelings aren’t respected then you are not obligated to continue interacting with the individual.

Lastly, be patient. Don’t dwell on minor issues like not receiving immediate replies or as many matches. Perhaps the specific dating app you are using may not be entirely suitable for you. If you identify with a specific religion or nationality, do research and register with an app that will help you explore those with similar interests. These apps may not be the place where you can showcase your best self, and there is nothing wrong with that. Investigate dating opportunities outside of the digital world as well.

Finding dates and being in a healthy relationship may be difficult, especially amid COVID-19. But it shouldn’t hurt you and make you feel small. It’s a journey which has ups and downs and rebuilding and starting over are driving forces for a healthy mindset when in the dating scene. Take care of your mental health, stay safe, and remember to be patient.