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I Was Addicted To Dating Apps And This Is What Kept Me Under A Spell

I Was Addicted To Dating Apps And This Is What Kept Me Under A Spell

I’m eating my lunch, and all of a sudden I feel a vibration floating through the surface of my table. I hold my breath and take the phone – “OMG, a Tinder notification!” Instantly I immerse myself in the app’s virtual universe and lose the sense of time. 

My lunch break is over, I need to rush back to the office and my lunch is staring at me with huge disappointment.Could you box this up for me? Thank you.” I ask the waiter and explain that I will finish my lunch in the office.

On the way back I started thinking… Am I addicted to dating apps?

Since the dating apps were released I was sooo enthusiastic and started dating hard. I would swipe left and right, change photos, and rewrite my bio a couple of times. Often I would stay up late and wake up overwhelmed by all the texting. 

The tiredness didn’t prevent compulsive swiping during my free time. Even when I felt I’d had enough, I couldn’t make myself stop.

After a while, it became apparent there is something very addictive about dating apps, the same as with social media. It didn’t take long until I realized I was actually obsessed. This is how I figured out what makes dating apps so addictive.

1. I was addicted to a perpetual swiping loop

There is a sea of limitless flirting possibilities and it’s all so exciting! So many men, so little time. Suddenly you find yourself wanting to have them all. You jump from one match to another, hoping the next one will be better.

Before you know it, you fall into the trap. You’re in an endless loop and you see no exit door. Also, free plans soon become insufficient, you have to pay for additional features (pay-to-play!), and you do it because you’re hooked!

Been there, done that… 

2. I liked the gaminess

Dating apps have addictive design features that resemble game-like experiences. Swiping, push notifications, complementing, showing progress, and rewards – they’re all triggers to draw you in and make you feel enchanted.

It all feels as if you’re just playing a game. Even the interface is game-like.

I was like under a spell, one part of me was here in the real world and another one was continuously hooked on my dating app existence.

3. It would elevate my mood

There is a neurochemistry trick behind dating apps. When we are involved in exciting and pleasurable activities our brain releases dopamine. Dopamine, A.K.A “feel-good” hormone, is the chemical messenger that turns on the brain’s reward system.

The swiping, matching with someone, all the likes and comments – it all lifts your mood and makes you feel thrilled and full of hope.

That’s when it hit me! I was actually addicted to dopamine, that’s why it was so hard to free myself.

4. It would help me when I felt lonely

If you’re shy or introverted you’ll find it difficult to meet people in the real world. Dating apps allow you to explore an abundance of choices and possibilities.

It’s easy to deceive yourself and believe dating apps will help you find a partner much faster than you could otherwise.

I know I thought so, but I was naive and unaware of the dating apps’ side effects.

5. I found the adventure into the unknown

Again our good friend dopamine! The unpredictability of interactions on dating apps increases our levels of “feel-good” hormone.

Besides, there is curiosity and thrill of the unknown. When we start searching for matching users we’re imagining different scenarios and trust me, it brings a lot of joy.

As there was a plenitude of options, sometimes I was afraid to miss out on great matching opportunities. FOMO makes you sink in the swiping mud, getting even more addicted!

6. I was able to escape reality

If you are not really satisfied with your relationship you may be prone to escape and dive into the parallel world of online dating.

There you’re not you, your alter ego can wear so many hats, and the experience is thrilling.

I kept building my “dating muscle”, and changed my “dating image” frequently. I felt so powerful. As if I was able to create so many different storylines and versions of myself.

Even if your relationship feels off sometimes, you mustn’t forget that users of dating apps are real people. Although it all seems like a virtual play, someone might take it seriously and it can become dangerous, at least.

So make sure your escapism doesn’t hurt anyone, especially your partner.

Help yourself! Do a dating app detox.

If you think you might be addicted to dating apps, get ready for a detox. I don’t say it will be easy but stay firm and follow my tips.

First, when you eat, you just eat, so keep your phone away during the meal! The same goes for sleep – make your bedroom a tech-free area.

Turn off notifications! You don’t need constant interruption. Let yourself feel present in the moment.

Stop multitasking and limit yourself to one screen at a time. Choose one or two dating apps and don’t juggle between too many options.

Make sure to reserve one chunk of your time that will be tech-free time! No TV, no phone, no tablet, no computer! Just you and real-life interactions. You can spend time with friends, family, or your dog. Even a nice book will do the work.