We as humans were not built to online date. We weren’t ready for it, and yet it came crashing down on us like a wave. The technology was there, and suddenly there were more apps than any of us could even keep up with. Technology often operates like that—we discover a new way to use it, think that just because it’s there that we should use it, and have no idea what the repercussions may be. Now, don’t get me wrong. Online dating can be an incredible resource. I just went to two weddings for couples who met online. I am very close to one couple who, based on their geography and lifestyles, may have never met if it weren’t for online dating, and they’re truly perfect for each other. But any time something gives us so much access, we can be over-stimulated, and we can wind up more confused than we were when we began. Here are signs you may need an online dating cleanse.
You don’t know what you like anymore
You honestly can’t differentiate a good from a bad app anymore. You’re either rejecting or accepting literally every match, no longer using any judgment skills. All the profiles are becoming a blur now. You can look at a profile right in front of you and couldn’t possibly say if it’s a good one or a bad one.
You feel disconnected from real life
You feel out of touch with real people. When you go out in the real world—like to a bar—you feel oddly distant. You feel like you’re having an out of body experience and watching yourself be in this place, rather than really being there. You’re just so used to being on a computer that the real world now feels foreign.
You’ve become socially awkward
You have a mini meltdown if a man approaches you in real life. You’re so used to having time to compose the best response in a direct message—now you have to be charming in the moment and your brain short circuits.
You only get dressed for an online date
You’ve forgotten that you can actually just meet someone in your everyday life, and so you don’t make any effort on your appearance when you leave the house unless you’re meeting an online date. That means you’re at the movies in a robe and at the grocery store with rollers in your hair.
You’ve started confusing people
You’ve made the mistake, many times, of confusing matches. You ask one match how his sister is doing but he doesn’t have a sister—that was the other guy. You accidentally repeat a story to one guy, not realizing you’ve already told it.
You’ve run out of new matches
The apps have started sending you matches you’ve seen before. You’ve actually run out of matches. Now you’re expanding the geographical reach of your filters to places that are, realistically, too far away. And you know you’re not up for a long-distance thing.
You wake up stressed about new messages
You wake up in the middle of the night panicked that you may have overlooked a message, or forgotten to reply to someone, or not seen a match.
You feel emotionally tapped
Online dating can be a roller coaster of emotions. You’ll feel so hopeful about one guy—he seems so perfect that you think your search is over—and then you’ll be totally let down. This can happen five times a week with online dating, and can leave you emotionally exhausted.
You’re slacking in your responsibilities
Your dishes and laundry are piling up. You told your mother you’d call her back on Monday and now it’s Sunday. You’re slacking in other areas of your life because you spend every minute of free time online dating.
You’re obsessively editing your profiles
You change your profiles every day. You’re swapping in one photo that’s nearly identical to the last one and changing the tiniest detail in your profile that, probably, nobody will even notice.
You think all websites are dating sites
Dating websites are the only websites on your mind. If someone mentions a website, like a website for jewelry or food delivery, you just hear “site” and go, “Is that a dating site?! One I don’t know about?!”
You have no new stories to tell
You don’t have anything to say if a guy asks you, “Have you done anything fun lately?” because all you’ve been doing is online dating. You haven’t actually lived life for a while.
You’ve had a lot of sex you’d like to take back
If you do a tremendous amount of online dating, then just the way the numbers work will mean you wind up actually meeting up with and sleeping with more men than you likely would have if you weren’t online dating. The point is, you’re feeling a little gross about some of your recent hookups.
Your friends are getting mad
You only talk about online dating, clearly tuning your friends out until they’re done talking so you can talk about some dude’s profile you saw. You’re on your phone at brunch, responding to messages. Your friends feel totally neglected.
You feel like an addict
You generally feel like an addict. You get anxious if you haven’t checked your messages in an hour. You’re spending more money than you should on paid sites. You’re dropping other responsibilities to do it.