Dating applications are just how we date nowadays. In today’s world, many people have started seeing dating as a type of human-catalog system. With this mentality, if someone becomes bored with their current partner, they can just return to the catalog, swipe a few times, and find a shiny new person to try out.
The response to such an observation by the person using the human-catalog system is, “Well, I have to do what’s best for me,” or “That only affects the other person and not me.” But where such a dating approach hurts everyone involved is in the reality that people who have this mindset often end up across the table from another person who shares it.
This causes a view of the other person and the relationship that might develop as being disposable. Whereas relationships should be based on commitment and companionship, one negative of dating apps is that, to some, relationships have become an on-demand purchase that holds artificial, cookie-cutter, and microwavable traits.
The catalog mentality has caused us to view relationships as a trend, of sorts, in our life instead of something that we invest in and hold tightly to going into the uncertain future.
A comparison from today’s world of disposables is the wrist watch. Decades ago, there used to be artisans called watchmakers who not only made watches but also repaired them. Though it’s not completely unheard of, it is unusual today for anyone to have a watch repaired that is malfunctioning unless it’s a very expensive one or a family heirloom. In today’s world of assembly lines and plastic, we just buy another watch even in cases of a mere battery dying. It’s practically cheaper to buy another watch than a battery!
Dating app use has caused many of us to develop such an approach when it comes to relationships but has paired us with others who have as well. And so we, ourselves, risk being seen as a mere season or a trend in someone else’s life to the point that, should they get bored of us or should there be issues to overcome, it’s back to the catalog for a shiny new profile face to replace us and start the process over.
While I’m not saying that use of apps to meet romantic potentials is entirely a bad thing, my professional observation as a relationship coach is that it has certainly brought its harm alongside its convenience. That ‘harm,’ being the catalog mentality of romantic relationships which can creep into other relationships in our lives as well. It can even follow us into matrimony and water down our willingness to save a marriage that will inevitably struggle at times due to the fact that both people involved are imperfect human beings who have the capacity to be insensitive, annoying, selfish, dishonest and a host of other less than desirable traits that humans display.
How To Have Better Dating Experiences
Having better dating experiences will take some discipline and intentionality.
For starters, avoid having the catalog in the first place. What I mean by that is, when you find someone who sparks your interest on a dating app in terms of the eye test and the conversation test, don’t simply add them to an endless people list on an app.
Do This Instead:
First, work toward meeting this person in a public place. A chat box or webcam will never beat face-to-face contact. Realistically, there might be a few people you are talking to on an app. If someone is equally as serious about meeting in “real life,” that person gets enough points to single them out, at least briefly.
People who unreasonably delay meeting you face to face either aren’t that interested in you, are seeing what’s out there for when they bail on the person they are currently dating, or planning for when that person grows tired of them. Such a person is more likely to have the catalog mentality that you are avoiding in the first place.
So consider that a case of the situation taking care of itself.
Second, remove the app from your phone if the meeting goes well. This will help you view this relationship as something that you are allowing to develop and aren’t simply seeing as one of the many potentials from the catalog.
This certainly doesn’t mean that you have to date someone you aren’t attracted to or who can’t hold a conversation. It simply means that you are choosing to have a slower, more focused pace because you realize that you don’t want to be in and out of temporary relationships for the rest of your life (and that is the risk you face with this catalog mentality world).
Third, allow yourself a certain amount of time before going back to the app if it doesn’t work out.
It could simply not work out, even without the catalog mentality or you could be dating someone who has that mentality and chooses to keep playing dating-app roulette. Decide that if the relationship reaches the three-month-mark or so but doesn’t work out, that you are going to wait at least two months before returning to the dating app.
One rule of thumb is to add a month after every six months of the relationship. So if you date for a year you would wait a minimum of three months before returning to the app. Yes, it will take some discipline, but it will help prevent you from developing the catalog mentality which will make a successful, long term relationship more likely to develop.
Now, hopefully, you will meet someone who will consider doing the same.
Coach Lee is a relationship coach who has been interviewed by Cosmopolitan Magazine, Bravo TV, The Today Show Australia, AskMen, Reuters, Elite Daily, and others. He primarily coaches people who want to know how to get their ex back after a breakup or separation. He is a Marriage.com verified expert and has been viewed by multi millions on YouTube.