Swipe Left: Is Instant Gratification Ruining Online Dating?

Believe it or not, Tinder wasn’t always known as a “hookup app.” In fact, when yours truly initially downloaded it back in 2013, it had only been out a matter of months, and I actually exclusively dated a man I met via swiping right. There were no cheesy pickup lines and not too many Netflix & Chill offers. Instead, I had some decent get-to-know-you conversations and offers to meet for dinner or brunch somewhere trendy on a Sunday afternoon.

We are now living in a ‘hurry up and microwave it’ dating world, where taking our time to get to know one another is far too risky; we’d rather just get everything out of the way immediately. We take it upon ourselves to get to know our potential dates via their social media profiles before even meeting them in the flesh. It’s not unusual to realize we are projecting what we want the other person to be like, rather than taking our time to get to know him or her in real life.

And once that person fails to live up to our expectations and projections, it’s back to the drawing board -- or rather, back to swiping.

But is there is a correlation between swiping right and being disappointed? Let’s say you aren’t on apps to have a series of one night stands and are trying to actively find a mate. Here are the reasons you may be running into some issues:

  1. You text for days before meeting instead of talk on the phone or via FaceTime.

It’s perfectly fine to (lightly) get to know someone via text before agreeing to meet with him or her in real life. But keep in mind that our responses when talking through text messages are often premeditated. Sure, you’re able to have a decent back-and-forth with this person; you are not face to face, and you have time to come up with a decent answer when asked a pressing question. It’s also likely you are discussing, in depth, your entire worlds via text instead of in person. In your mind, you think, “Wow! We have such a great connection!” and then you get your hopes up just to discover once you are sitting across from this person, you have zero chemistry.

  1. We set our expectations beyond high and call it off over things that have nothing to do with character

So what if he wore a shirt from Old Navy? Maybe his mother bought it for him, and he likes how soft it is. And so what if she has on dark red lipstick? That doesn’t mean she is incapable of going on hikes sans her Becca highlighter. Instead of ignoring those things and getting to know the human behind those not-even-in-style glasses, we write them off based on insignificant and superficial reasons.

He or she didn’t instantly please us, and therefore, that person is no longer a viable candidate.

  1. We rush to be in serious commitments before letting something organically grow

We all have that one girlfriend (or maybe it’s you! yay!) who disappears from our life entirely when she has a new partner. This partner becomes her best friend, only friend, and complete social life. She says “I love you” right away, meets the entire family and vice versa, and then is completely crushed when she discovers three months in that this is not The One.

We tend to fall in love with superficial aspects of a person before getting to know who they are inside and out. Again, when our high expectations are not immediately met, we tend to lose interest. And believe me, I get it; it’s exciting to finally find someone you don’t immediately want to set yourself on fire upon meeting. However, there is no reason — and I mean NO reason — to hang out with this person every single night following your first date.

Relationships need to evolve, and patience is key to letting that happen. Sometimes we discover a few months in that this person isn’t the right match. However, if you haven’t already moved into their apartment, well, the breakup might be a hell of a lot easier.

  1. We accept very little before getting into a sexual relationship

There is no right or wrong time to finally have sex with someone you've been dating, but if this person has yet to even take you out on a date, sending them a nude might give off the impression you aren't looking for much more than a fling. After all, you met this person via online dating. You don't really know this person, yet, and it's likely he or she is talking to multiple people at one (just like YOU are, so don't get bent ouf of shapte just yet).

For heterosexual relationships, it's important to keep in mind that women may be further along than men in terms of evolving away from sexist attitudes about sex. Demanding a certain level of respect immediately from your online match may be the key to getting more than a request for late night drinks at a dive bar. If he can't give you that, he's likely not serious about turning you into a girlfriend. Don't mistake the guy who wants to take you out for drinks and sleep with you with the guy who wants to go to a casual dinner and talk about your goals and passions (and also sleep with you, but if you don't want to, will still call you).

When it comes to dating, it's best to treat a relationship like a living, organic being. It will require patience and care, along with time to grow and evolve. While we do hear stories of love and first sight and moving in together after a month, that doesn't mean that specific path is going to work for you. And just because your match is someone you CAN potentially see yourself with long-term, that doesn't mean it will happen right away. You may have instantly matched on a dating app, but now it's time to sit back, release any pressure, and see where it goes.