Pros and cons of easy dating

Science backs the idea that this lowers self-esteem and increases depression. experts weigh in...

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Gone are the days, when singles hit pubs on the weekend, hoping to hit it off with a potential love interest. Smartphones have changed the dating game, allowing people to meet, hook-up, fall in love online all in a matter of seconds. A date is just a few swipes, clicks or texts away. Technology has made easy dating possible but it comes with its share of pros and cons. Here’s looking at the positive and the negative effects of easy dating.

A levelling ground for introverts

Earlier, if you were an introvert, chances were you would shy away from approaching a potential love interest because you lacked the courage and confidence to ask her/him out. With the arrival of smartphones, all of that has changed. Online dating has levelled the field, and you literally carry all your potential love interests in your pocket. Swiping left or right or with just a few clicks, you can interact or move on to the next person available. The world of dating has literally expanded giving people plenty of choices. In fact, according to a new study published by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, with more and more users whose desires are shifting, the stigma of finding a mate online is lessening. However, despite accessibility and easy dating, there are things to be concerned about.

How it can affect your self-esteem

A study published in 2016 found that that being actively involved with Tinder, regardless of the user’s gender, was associated with body dissatisfaction, body shame, body monitoring, internalisation of societal expectations of beauty, comparing oneself physically to others, and reliance on media for information on appearance and attractiveness, which was revealed by Jessica Strübel, PhD, of the University of North Texas, who co-authored the study with Trent Petrie, PhD. The pain of being rejected in online dating scenarios can also take a toll on people. In fact, a study published in 2011 found that being socially rejected activates the same parts of the brain that physical pain does. That means that opening oneself up on dating apps — where you can be rejected faster than ever— can have a real impact on well-being. So, while technology has provided people with plenty of choices and opportunities to meet more people it has also led to them getting rejected faster. We asked experts for their take on this.

The problem of plenty

Clinical psychologist Seema Hingorrany believes that currently we are grappling with the problem of having plenty of choices. She says, “Every day, there are more dating apps and sites mushrooming, the more they multiply, the more casual relationships are getting. I see 10 to 12 clients in a month who come to me with symptoms of depression and anxiety only because they were ghosted or rejected online. Emotions and feelings are not really considered, it’s very unfortunate. Most of these dating apps sadly have become hook-up platforms where instant gratification is the focus. People have plenty of choice so trivial fights  make them end a relationship on a whim as they move on without a second thought believing they will find someone better.” This belief partly makes sense, but it also deludes one into holding a candle for a Perfect Godot who may never come.

Social rejection is a reality

Earlier, rejection was a private shame that one coped with without prying eyes. Now, everything is in the public domain. Instant gratification is a reality and so is instant rejection. A negative response or no response at all is become the norm rather than the exception. Psychiatrist Dr Hemant Mittal, says, “This social rejection makes a lot of people feel unwanted and question their desirability and even has an impact on their overall self-esteem. In many cases it can lead to anxiety and depression.” The best way to cope with this is to break away from the herd. Know what you want from a relationship. Avoid getting involved with something you are not comfortable with. The focus should always be your happiness and well-being. Look at online dating as a tool to make dating easier, and not as a pond to discriminately fish for short-term relationships.

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