You’re probably familiar with the advice, “Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.”
Several studies have found that going to the supermarket on an empty stomach leads to not only buying high-calorie groceries that are bad for you but also overspending on the items you don’t need.
One of the reasons is self-control— hungry people are more likely to grab instant food that satisfies their cravings than to buy healthy ingredients and spend time cooking a proper meal.
In a nutshell, they make bad decisions that they often regret later.
The same logic could be applied to dating.
If you use dating apps when you’re lonely, you’re likely to pick unsuitable people to date.
Let me explain.
Loneliness goes hand in hand with low self-esteem and low willpower.
While low self-esteem causes you to drop your dating standards, low willpower makes you vulnerable to temptations that don’t serve you in the long run—well, say goodbye to healthy boundaries.
For example, when you’re lonely, you don’t feel good about yourself. All you want at this point is to be with someone.
Since you haven’t met anyone for a while, you’re easily excited and impressed by any bit of effort. It doesn’t take much, or long, for you to get involved with someone regardless of whether they make a good partner for you or not.
You’re likely to go for the “expensive, high-caloric items” of the dating world, meaning people who appear desirable on paper and can satisfy your immediate needs but have little in common with you on fundamental levels.
Ironically, when you rush into a relationship to avoid loneliness, you don’t actually feel less lonely — you might even feel lonelier and sadder when you fail to build a genuine, meaningful connection or if your dates suddenly ghost you.
I understand it’s a hard time to be single.
If you’re in the UK, another lockdown surely doesn’t help your mental health and loneliness at all.
The long period of isolation might even make you realise that you want a long-term companion. It lights a fire under your butt to put yourself out there and find that special someone as soon as lockdown ends.
But, in reality, using dating apps is not the answer to loneliness — connections are. And there are many ways to feel connected without exposing yourself to the hidden risks of online dating and hurting your love life altogether.
Don’t use dating apps when you’re lonely.
Do these 5 things before dating again
It’s easy to treat dating apps as just any apps. When you’re online, everyone is just a name on the screen, who could disappear at a click of a button.
But a dating app is not just an app though — one of those names could become your spouse or the most important person in your life someday. It’s far more important than getting a taxi or ordering food.
If you don’t go on LinkedIn and say nonsense to recruiters because you take your career seriously, then don’t go on a dating app and act like you can just do whatever.
If you want a quality, long-lasting relationship, you need to take your love life seriously and approach it strategically.
When vaccines become available and it’s covid-safe to meet people again, don’t jump straight into dating — make sure you’re emotionally healthy and not dating from a place of fear or loneliness.
Here are 5 things to do instead:
1. Pick up your pre-lockdown hobbies again.
The first step to combat lockdown loneliness is to be in touch with your whole self: indoor and outdoor, internal and external.
Try to resist the urge to fill your tank up with first-date dopamine — make yourself feel better by doing something you love instead.
2. Spend time with loved ones.
Connections don’t only exist between romantic partners — you can find connections with your friends, family, or community too.
Have quality time with loved ones; give them the covid-safe hugs you can’t give during the lockdown. Maybe it’s even a good time to get a dog.
3. Find a wholesome routine.
The early stage of dating is anything but predictable. You don’t know your dates well and you can’t be sure how things might pan out.
So it’s best to have a wholesome routine that will provide you with a stable foundation to weather all the unexpected twists and turns of modern dating.
That way, if things go wrong, you will always have yourself and your life to fall back on and waste no time to start over again.
4. Set your dating goal.
Don’t think of dating as a source of instant gratification; think of it as a tool to get you the love life you want.
Take time to really think about what you want out of dating this time, what your standards and boundaries are, what you value in life and in a romantic partner, and so on.
5. Think abundance.
When the lockdown is over, many people will be out meeting new people. So if you hold off dating, you might experience FOMO — fear of missing out.
But remember that taking time for yourself post-lockdown is good for you. Don’t let the scarcity mindset trick you into making hasty decisions that would waste your time and might even leave lasting emotional impacts.
Believe that love is abundant for you. When you feel truly ready to date again, there’ll be a world of people ready to meet you.