Is online dating in decline?
I was listening to a discussion on Triple J radio yesterday about how young people are becoming increasingly jaded with and anxious about online dating. People are sick of the swipe-left, swipe-right culture that has evolved since the inception of apps like Tinder.
What is the main pit-fall of online dating?
While online dating has been successful for many, it is perhaps falling prey to the same malaise which is occurring with disturbing consistency across every social media platform. That is the rise of the Troll.
According to "Psychology Today" Trolls are narcissists, psychopaths and sadists. Interestingly an ABC report from 2017 asserts that Trolls have high levels of cognitive empathy combined with psychopathy traits. This high level of cognitive empathy means they know exactly how to emotionally manipulate people while also understanding what hurts people and not caring thanks to their psychopathy. They take sadistic pleasure in the pain they cause.
The comments section of any online post will reveal nasty remarks and baiting comments designed to trigger arguments. We are becoming desensitised to bad manners and cruelty. The impact of this is that more reasonable people are stepping away from online discussion resulting in a social distillation process which may eventually result in online dominance for Trolls.
Things to be wary of online
I believe this is also why the more reasonable and genuine among the dating hopefuls may be starting to pull away from the online-dating option. If you speak to any seasoned online dater, you will quite likely hear of horror stories. These stories are so common that they have categories which include:
Ghosting - someone who seemed keen disappears off the face of the earth;
Gaslighting - someone manipulating them into disbelieving facts;
Financial scamming - the charming person who suddenly finds themselves without funds and asks for a few thousand, e.g. to tide them over or help them out of an emergency
Love bombing - the person that comes on strong loves you from the start, can't get enough of you, can't do enough for you and then as soon as they know you're hooked they change and become controlling.
Catfishing - they completely misrepresent whom they are, e.g. old men pretending to be young guys, married people pretending to be single, women pretending to be men and vice versa
Juggler (I don't know the term for this, so I've created my own) - someone keeping their options open by dating multiple people while implying to each of them that they are exclusive
Of course the above categories are not confined to the internet; however, the internet provides the perfect petri dish in which this kind of behaviour will flourish. Indeed the novice narcissist can hone their skills by engaging with multiple victims, using each online interaction to polish their manipulation techniques.
Why does online dating make us more susceptible to being tricked than real life dating?
It's no wonder that people are jaded with this type of engagement. Meeting someone online means that you initially have to accept the version they present of themselves as true; without the supporting evidence of seeing them in their natural habitat, at home, at work or socialising at sporting or community events. Seeing people in real life isn't fool-proof; however, it provides more clues to their authentic self than a carefully scripted online profile, and the red flags, if any are often on display before your opinion of the person, becomes set. The problem with assessing online dating profiles is that once we accept something to be true, it's usually hard for us to change that belief. If we chat to someone online and take them at face value they are a lovely person; we may be more likely to ignore the red flags when we do meet them in real life because it creates cognisant dissonance for us. Consequently, we are more likely to turn a blind eye to behaviour that doesn't fit with our pre-existing belief.
This online dating roulette has resulted in a large group of walking wounded people who've been misled by predatory narcissists, manipulated and hurt by the fallout of online encounters. These people often suffer terrible blows to their confidence and self-esteem. They may avoid dating altogether, or become isolated as they are not sure how to make connections in real life any more and are too wary of going back online.
How to reduce the risk
I work with many people that have had this experience, helping them rebuild or in many cases develop the confidence they've never had before. It is always prudent to take your time on the dating scene, to dip your toe and carefully measure the temperature of the water; however, these days loneliness is so prevalent that the temptation is greater than ever to throw caution to the wind. I work with my clients to build up a greater sense of self-worth. Self-worth heightens their instincts and connects their intellect to their intuition, this, in turn, makes them far less likely to dismiss red flags or put up with behaviour that is not appropriate, respectful or conducive of a healthy relationship. Healthy self-worth enables them to resist the seductive nature of a love bombing narcissist so that instead of being swept off their feet, their feet are kept firmly on the ground so that they can enter a relationship at a pace that is healthy and allows them to get to know someone accurately and safely.
Since I've started my Counselling and Hypnotherapy practice in Melbourne, Hypnotherapy has become increasingly accepted as the 'go to ' therapy for issues such as weight loss, smoking cessation and anxiety. I want more people to learn how effectively Hypnotherapy can help to improve their quality of life. Hypnotherapy does this by assisting them in learning to value and appreciate themselves and be the best version of themselves they can be. Hypnotherapy allows people to self-reflect, resolve unresolved issues that have been keeping them stuck and connect them to their inner resources.
If you are recovering from a broken relationship, negative dating experience or just want to improve your confidence and self-worth, why not give me a call today on 0435 923 817. My Clinical Hypnotherapy Practice is in Mentone, Melbourne. I also see clients online via Zoom or Skype
Melbourne Hypnotherapist Georgina Mitchell was born in Ireland, moving to Australia in 1989. Georgina Specialises in helping people with Anxiety Disorders and is an active member of the Melbourne Hypnotherapy Community. In Melbourne Hypnosis is being accepted as effective tool for anyone wanting to achieve a positive change in Mood, Behaviour and Habit.
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Please note as with all therapies, Results for Therapies delivered by Hypfocus may vary from person to person