In the modern age, dating has evolved from meeting someone physically and developing a relationship through letters to meeting someone online through the use of dating apps. The internet has allowed people from all over the world to connect platonically and romantically. While all that sounds great, online dating has many dangers to it as well, be it physical, mental, or emotional.
The first thing that always made me feel odd about online dating was the fact that it completely goes against the first lesson most people are taught as kids, and that is “do not talk to strangers”. This also extends to not meeting up with strangers. It’s interesting how most people are absolutely down to meet a complete stranger within hours of swiping right on them on a dating app. While there are many ways to ensure that you’re safe, such as telling someone you trust about the date, making sure you meet in a public space etc., there is still always a chance that a person might get into physical danger through online dating. While I myself was fortunate that I never encountered such danger, I had female friends who have encountered men who wouldn’t take no for an answer, which made them feel like they were in danger. This is why I recommend everyone to always tell someone they trust the details before they go on a physical date so that someone can sound the alarm should something go wrong.
Onto the mental and emotional toll that online dating can bring about. I’m combining these two because I feel like they are rather connected. When I was using dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, they were fun at first. I got to talk to new people and was entertained by some of the profiles that I would see out there. However, I started to notice a few patterns over time that would kind of mess with me mentally and emotionally.
The first was that a lot of people seem to be very dishonest/deceptive. As a woman, it’s really common to encounter guys who would say that they’re looking for something serious, but in reality, they are just looking to hook up. At the start, I was rather naive and couldn’t really tell, but I started seeing certain patterns now, such as their chats getting super risque in a short while or them pressuring me to meet up too soon etc.
Another thing that really messed with me emotionally was how easily some people would ‘ghost’ or cut a connection. There were a few times when I felt like I was vibing really well with some guys, and it felt like something serious would come out of it. But often, these connections would abruptly end via ghosting, or they would just suddenly say they were no longer interested. While I understand that this is fairly normal and people do ultimately have the right to end something whenever they want to, I won’t deny that the experience does sting, and it has somewhat made me pessimistic about online dating.
Ultimately, it can be hard to get to know someone online as people can pretend to be whoever they want to be. Things also tend to be fast-paced online, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I think one of the ways that one can “protect” themselves when trying out online dating is to have super low expectations. You can’t be disappointed when you don’t expect anything in the first place. I also think that another way to navigate online dating healthily is to set boundaries so that you don’t waste time on the wrong people. For example, some person is insisting that you guys meet up within the first few sentences of texting each other when you’re not comfortable with it, feel free to make it clear that you aren’t and if the person still insists, do not feel like you can’t end the conversation with that person. If someone isn’t willing to respect your boundaries from the get-go, they’re unlikely to be a good partner. Stay safe out there people!