Dating Apps: Are You Looking for Love or External Validation?
If you've tried your hand at dating apps, you're likely familiar with the cycle of download and delete. Whether you've gone on a few dates with someone and it didn't work out or you've decided you're not finding what you're looking for on a romantic level, you've probably lived this pattern out a few times.
Whether you realize it or not, you may be going through this cycle because you're not actually interested in finding a serious romantic partner and are interested in the apps for a variety of other reasons. Because of the way profiles are structured, dating apps can feel like any other form of social media, in which the approval of others gives you pleasure.
Here are some behaviors you may find familiar that indicate you're seeking external validation rather than a meaningful partnership.
Turning down offers to meet
If you've gone back and forth messaging with a match for days on end but feel borderline disgusted at the thought of actually having to meet up with them in person, you may only be excited by another person's interest in you. Meeting up in person is the logical next step for any escalating interaction, from a simple chat to a prospective partner. So if you're averse to meeting up with any of your matches—not because you're anxious or nervous, but because you simply don't see the point—you may just enjoy killing time getting some me-attention.
Of course, you're obviously not required to meet up with any of the people you match with on a dating app, so throw that notion out the window and enjoy your chats or video calls in peace. Bask in the warm glow of flirting and being desired.
Only interested when they're not
This is a common phenomenon a lot of people experience when dating. Everyone shares the same notion that we'd like to be desirable and wanted, so even when we're dating a person who has shown us few obvious signs of interest, we dig in our heels and want them more.
This has less to do with masochism and more to do with chemistry. Our brains process feelings of desire toward someone who rejects us the same way they process addictive behaviors, so you may be physically prone to want someone who doesn't want you.
Beyond the nature of being interested in people who are inaccessible, you may enjoy empty flirting or chatting with them knowing nothing will come of your interactions, even if that means you ignore the more obvious signs of incompatibility.
Who's the hottest person I can pull?
Let's face it, we all compare ourselves to the candidates on dating apps, regardless of how confident you are in your level of hotness. If you find yourself pausing over an exceptionally attractive person's profile before you decide to like or dislike them, you probably run through the possibility of them liking you back in your head, thinking, This person is conventionally way more attractive than I am.
For this reason, you're likely only in it for the ego boost if you find yourself collecting matches like trading cards, showing your friends how attractive these people are and enjoying that these elite people also find you attractive.
Can't argue with a confidence boost
There's nothing wrong with seeking a bit of external validation from your matches on dating apps, as it will probably give you a much-needed confidence boost. Of course, you shouldn't use other people who are actually looking to find a connection maliciously.
However, as long as you're clear with your motivation for being on the app and don't give people who are interested in something beyond some back-and-forth flirting the wrong idea, there's nothing inherently wrong with soaking up the likes.