After a bad breakup, Kristina, 27, was not yet ready to find a new partner. She wanted a simple, non-drama way to boost her confidence. So she downloaded Tinder Gold, a paid upgrade to Tinder that allows users to browse people who have already swiped directly on them. “I had a bruised ego … so I loved the idea of choosing from the men who picked me first,” she recalls. “Most of all, it was a huge ego boost.” Kristina found herself use dating apps for validation, with no real intention to prosecute someone she has met online. “Every time I slipped on a sexy guy in the group, it was a match,” she explains. “I was so flattered.”
Kristina used apps primarily to feel good about herself – and it turns out this practice is pretty common. According to an October 2019 study by MTV News & MTV Insights, 61% of respondents (aged 18-29) said they were more interested in find out who is attracted to them online than dating anyone. This statistic suggests that dating apps are essentially a forum for public affirmation. And the reason is obvious – it’s exciting to have that adrenaline rush when you get a flirty message from someone sexy. It’s similar to the validation you get when posting a fire selfie that accumulates tons of rave reviews on Instagram. Everyone has insecurities, and hearing positive comments from others can temporarily allay some of those doubts.
“While we use dating apps in the name of finding love, there is also a selfishness that seems to be there,” Terron Moore, vice president and editorial director of MTV News, told Elite Daily. site that conducted the study. “And I don’t even know you could blame anyone for that.” I think we are all interested in our own way. He notes that although the study results showed that a majority of people seek validation, it is not mutually exclusive with finding a partner. Forty-two percent of those polled said they are looking for a long-term relationship, and 30% are looking to date people casually, though they also hope to boost their self-esteem.
Kristina admits that she date At times made her feel “selfish”, but she still believes that the experience has helped her through a difficult phase in her life. “Using dating apps and seeing how many guys there are dating me helped me feel desirable again after being in a relationship that made me feel so unwanted and lonely,” she says. . “I’m not proud to rely on male validation for confidence – and it was only one piece of the puzzle – but it definitely sped up the process.” Although she was planning to stay single for a while, she met a guy after two months who she “fell hard and fast“for. Today, a year later, they are still happy together.
Use apps to build trust can also help people keep their romantic outlook at an emotional distance. For Courtney, 24, using Bumble and Hinge for validation is a way for her to protect herself from grief. “I face a lot of insecurity [and] anxiety around my romantic relationships, so by using the app more for validation, I can control the narrative and my feelings. she explains. She was recently paired with one of her college crushes and she felt comfortable knowing she could end the conversation whenever she wanted. “Does it work in the short term, kind of like junk food from a love life?” ” she says. “It makes you look forward to knowing someone loves you, without having to deal with the real relationship or risking hurting yourself.”
According to the relationship therapist Rachel Zar, many people use apps for validation because it seems safe and easily accessible. “The risk – both emotional and physical – is low,” she told Elite Daily. “And the dopamine shot we’re getting – if it’s short-lived – feels really good.” Without even leaving home, you can access hundreds of potential matches that will tell you over and over again how attractive they find you. And there’s no real danger in chatting with them through the app, where you can always block their profile if you start to feel uncomfortable.
It’s not inherently bad to feel flattered by compliments, Zar says. It only becomes a problem when the external validation starts to affect the way you feel. “It gets unhealthy when you feel like you trust the number of messages or matches you get to dictate all of your self-esteem,” she says. “Self-esteem determined by the opinions of others is precarious; it can just as easily be given to us as it is taken away from us. You need to be confident in yourself no matter what other people think of you, otherwise browsing dating apps could feel like putting a band-aid on a deeper wound. It helps momentarily, but it doesn’t actually combat your insecurities.
It’s not inherently bad to feel flattered by compliments. It only becomes a problem when the external validation starts to affect the way you feel.
24-year-old Tracie found herself in this situation as she tried to recover from an ex. “My coping mechanism for dealing with a breakup would be to distract myself by going back to apps instead of just dealing with and healing my emotions first,” she told Elite Daily. “I quickly came back to the apps and found myself rebounding… but it didn’t work! I would still have feelings for my ex, and it would cloud my new relationship. She eventually decided she had to stop until she healed from the split on her own. “I was definitely using apps as a crutch to make myself feel like I was still worthy,” she says. “If I continue to bring in all of the lingering vibes from my last relationship without erasing them, I won’t be able to fully engage with another person and be able to have a healthy relationship. I wanted to stop the cycle and heal myself!
Tracie was on to something, Zar said: Seeking validation can sometimes make it difficult to find a healthy relationship. “It’s important to try to develop self-esteem that comes from within rather than from others,” Zar told Elite Daily. “It means developing a sense of what it means for you to be worthy or to be successful based on your own value system. And only you can really know how to walk that line. If that means you have to take yourself off dating apps for a while while you work on loving yourself, it could help you come back to the dating scene more aware of what you want in a partner.
Zar suggests setting yourself small, achievable life goals that you can easily accomplish and be proud of. “Prepare for success by creating goals that seem genuinely achievable,” she says, “and have a lot of self-compassion that sometimes we all fail.” Take care of your physical health with a focus on sleep, social time and mental space for pursue your passions. You can also consider resources like therapy to help you overcome any painful past experiences that might affect the way you see yourself now.
In addition to the fact that the use of applications for validation can make you feel worse, you could also trick people into doing it. According to the MTV study, 43% of people slipped directly onto someone they weren’t physically attractive to, and 39% spoke with someone they didn’t intend to meet in person. For people who really want to meet their matches, this leads to frustrating uncertainty about the intentions of others. By only chatting with people you are really interested in, you can avoid cheating on them.
Moore explains that in some ways having competing online dating goals – seeking validation versus seeking love – can be counterproductive. “There seems to be a gap between being on dating apps to find love and being on dating apps to feel that self-validation,” he says. Focusing too much on getting an immediate confidence boost can distract you from your goal of finding a real relationship that translates offline.
But above all, make sure you’re not relying on apps to mask an underlying sense of unworthiness. You don’t need Tinder matches to feel beautiful, just like you don’t need a partner to feel whole. There is nothing wrong with shamelessly flirting with someone who really appeals to you, as long as it fills your cup rather than making you feel empty. The only person who can truly make you feel loved and precious is you.