Online dating, seems like everyone is doing it! Online dating has been around for quite some time now, yet as of recently, it has become more popular among people of all ages. Because we are all seeking some form of connection.
All the apps and the different ways in which they operate can feel confusing. Attracting the people that are not your “type” can feel frustrating. Taking a risk initiating a conversation only to be left hanging can feel discouraging.
Some people get lucky and they fall in love with the first person they match. Most don’t and it takes time, effort, and strategy. If you are contemplating the online scene or are partaking in it but feeling stuck, keep reading. If you’ve done the online dating thing and it just feels forced and unnatural to you, that’s okay too. Online dating is not for everyone and it’s not your only shot at love.
I won’t bore you with a lengthy explanation, although I can go and on about it. In short, we are all born with an innate need to seek and maintain intimate (not just sex) contact with significant others (not just your partner). This quest for connection is a primary motivating factor for humans across the lifespan, not just as babies. We thrive when we feel securely connected to others. Thus, there’s no real independence. We are interdependent on one another. Secure attachment goes hand in hand with autonomy because the safer my relationship the more confident I feel to be my true and authentic self.
When our significant others are present, if our attachment is secure, we experience a sense of peace, comfort, and security. Their presence becomes a safe haven for us. Being with a loved one calms our nervous system and reduces feelings of anxiety. They create an environment in which we can be healthy and grow.
When we lack a secure attachment we are afraid that our needs for connection won’t be met. We have a deep desire to engage intimately and fear our vulnerability. We might act in one of two ways: we will be very forward about our desires or we will deny our needs and give priority to other aspects of our lives. Relationships will feel difficult and tumultuous. We might have a hard time putting our guard down and letting others in. We might have a hard time being happy while single. We might get involved in relationships we don’t care for to avoid being alone.
Your attachment style develops in childhood and continues to be affected by the experiences you encounter throughout your lifetime. Your relationships with your primary caregivers, close friends, and romantic partners will help shape your attachment needs. Your style is not fixed can change based on life events and specific relationships.
Attachment & Online Dating
Your attachment style will impact the way you show up online. It will determine what you write on your profile and the pictures you select. It will influence how active you are on online platforms. It will impact your swipes and how you interact with your matches.
If you have an insecure attachment style, about half of the population does, you might approach online dating from a scarcity mentality. Thinking that this might be your only chance at love. You might be so eager to match that you are swiping right mindlessly without considering whether there are any shared interests or even a physical attraction. You might bombard them with messages and experience panic attacks when they don’t respond as quickly as you’d like. You might constantly feel on edge about connecting with more people and leaving a great impression. You might overlook red flags and justify behaviors that you are not comfortable with.
Or you might write vague information on your profile and post an avatar instead of a picture. You might log in once a week for a brief 30 min. You might mindlessly swipe left without really looking into people’s profiles. You might enter the online platform with negative preconceived judgments about the people who engage in online dating. After connecting with someone, you might experience overwhelming anxiety or doubts about the compatibility, and instead of addressing it head-on, you might ghost them. You might come up with a million excuses to not ask them on a second date.
Regardless of the scenario that might resonate with you the most, you will be left unsatisfied by your online dating experience because you have approached it from a place of fear. Fear that you will be rejected, that you won’t be good enough, that you might be too much for them, that you will mess things up, or that they won’t understand you. These are attachment-based fears that were likely formed as a result of previous negative experiences with significant others.
Secure Attachment & Online Dating
People with secure attachments are not afraid that they won’t find love. They don’t have a negative perspective of themselves, others, or the world. They believe that there are many people out there that can be a good match for them and many others who simply aren’t.
This takes the pressure off and makes it easier for them to present themselves authentically online and eventually in person when they meet potential partners.
They are master communicators and are clear about boundaries and dealbreakers. They acknowledge red flags and discuss them with their potential partners. They provide others with the benefit of the doubt before jumping into any conclusions. They don’t ever ghost and instead are direct about why they don’t feel comfortable keeping a connection. They take things in at face value and let them unfold. They get to enjoy the experience of dating instead of dreading it.
You might not think that you fall under the secure attachment branch and that’s okay. You can pretend to be securely attached by embracing the approach described above. It will feel challenging and unnatural yet, it can help shift your perception about yourself and relationships.
Revamp your profile so that it can transmit confidence and openness to the online dating experience.