Online Dating and my Mental Health
I used to use dating apps to find love. But sadly it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. You might have good self confidence when joining and that carries on throughout your experience. If this was you, then you’re lucky. This is how I started off, I was ready to meet people and maybe find “the one”. However, you have to start by sorting through a load of photos of yourself, making sure they show the ‘real’ you, when in reality they’re just a snapshot of happiness for that one moment. Next is the bio – what do I say about myself to make me attractive and interesting to other people? So, we have the profile, now to find a match. I would read some profiles and like some photos. Swipe… no match. Carry on, swipe… no match. Now repeat this hundreds of times.
What is wrong with me, am I ugly, does my profile read badly, do I come across as not cool, fun or kind?
So you edit your profile a bit more, remove some photos, swap some around, change the wording. Maybe remove the part about your really nerdy hobby in case that is scaring people away. I would carry on reading others’ profiles liking them, swiping them… and still no matches.
My feelings towards myself would then start to feel negative. I would start to believe the voice inside my head that I’m not worth being with – I’m ugly, I will be forever alone. How do people get matches on these things? Then randomly you would get a match, result! You would read on their profile “If you send a message with hi how are you, you’re not worth my time”. How else would I start a normal conversation with someone I don’t know. “Nice photo of you with your dog”, is this exciting enough to get your attention. I tried it. Nothing! Seen, but no reply back.
Affecting my self-worth
The voice in my head is now in overdrive. “You’ve matched with someone and still aren’t worth their time. You will be alone forever”. My confidence drops faster and faster. Without realising it, it started to affect my life in other ways. Work, hobbies, family, even looking after myself properly. I’m clearly not worth being with. But at the same time I couldn’t help but open up the app and think to myself, just one more swipe might be it. When in reality it wasn’t.
When you have become so obsessed with not being alone, you actually make yourself feel more alone.
It’s a weird one. However, honestly the best advice I could share is to delete those apps and ask yourself: Were you going on there to give you a bit of confidence boost or validation? Then maybe work on yourself, build that confidence up again away from finding validation from others who don’t know you. You’re worth being with, you’re a cool, funny and a kind person. Someone will see that in you when you stop looking. It’s the same with your mental health, if you continue to work on you, people around you will absorb into you like a sponge. Stop looking for the quick confidence boosts or quick mental health fixes. These things take time, and you’re worth the time and investment.
Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be a day about being in love with someone else, it can also be about loving who you are, appreciating all the good qualities you have and all the amazing things about yourself. But also remember to remind all the friends and family around you why you love them, what they offer to you and why you love them being in your life. If you’re dreading V-Day, make it a day about you. Arrange to meet up with friends or family member, or go to your favourite shops or your hobby you enjoy.
Make the day about you, by loving who you are.
If you can relate to this story and have similar thoughts about yourself and experience, remember you’re not alone. I, and many others, have experienced this and there is love out there for you.
Help and Support
Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your well-being. The group offers peer support. They help to reduce stigma by normalising conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here. You’ll find links for 1-2-1 and groups of mental health support we offer here. If you’re in a crisis, treat it as an emergency. Call 999 immediately or The Samaritans, FREE on 116 123. NHS Dorset’s Helpline ‘Connection’ can be reached on 0800 652 0190. It’s also available 24/7.
Today’s Guest Blogger
Thank you to our wonderfully open ambassador Craig for sharing his story about online dating, and how it can negatively impact your mental health.
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