4 Ways Online Dating Holds You Back Without Even Realizing It

Marija Mandic

I used to be on every online dating app. I would spend hours every day swiping right and left, only to end up matching with people who seemed to fall into one of two categories: either wanting a four-second love interest, or a pen pal. I've never been one for texting, so that wasn't going to work for me.

I spoke to a love coach (yes, they exist) to understand what was going on, and why I should seek in-person connections. Here are the reasons she gave me.

1. You're pursuing the idea of a person, not the actual person

I get it. It's fun. You're bored, and nobody has to know that you're sitting on a toilet judging people based on their appearances or whatever they've written in their profile.

You may think you're looking for something specific, like a girl who plays video games, the beach and beer pong. Actually, there's no way to know if you'll like her in person. Or maybe you think you're looking for a guy based on what he likes to spend his weekends doing. On paper (or, you know, your phone's screen), everything might look great. Again, there's no way to know if there will be any chemistry.

2. Match overload

I am a fashion designer. One of the first things I learned working in the industry was not to show your buyer too many options: they will get confused. The same logic applies to online dating. Having too many options complicates things.

3. Apps make it hard to commit

Red fish. Blue fish. Purple fish. All the fish. Here's the biggest problem with online dating: it doesn't make monogamy easy. It actually promotes the opposite by giving you an endless supply of options.

If you're lucky, you might find someone great. But instead of taking a chance trying to get to know them, you continue to swipe because maybe, just maybe, you'll find someone better.

What, so you've found someone who is beautiful, intelligent, smart and career-focused. What if you could have all that plus blue eyes and an incredible body? Keep swiping.

4. Meeting behind a screen can create unrealistic expectations

It's easy to understand the appeal of online dating. It can be nerve-wracking to approach and meet people in a public setting. Here's the catch, though: if you've been chatting on an app and then you decide to meet up, chances are you've built up an idea in your head of what this person is like.

Why is this a problem? Remember, you've never met this person. You've set your expectations based on a handful of pictures and a bunch of texts. Call me cynical, but you're probably going to be disappointed.

So, what should you do? Go out into the world and talk to people! Stop hiding behind a screen. Find a hobby. Be brave and approach that cute guy in a bar. Trust me, I'm right there with you and whenever you're feeling down, just know that I'm in your corner cheering you on!