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Why Online Dating Is Hard And What We Can Do About It

Finding love is never easy. What with all these dating apps being around, you would think that our lives are much better now. But it doesn’t seem to be the case. We swipe and we swipe, trying to look for love on these apps and nothing really happens. Sometimes it feels like ‘the one’ never appears, or otherwise, nobody seems to want us.

So why is it still so difficult to find love now even with all the apps that we have and what to do about it?

Why are we having such a hard time finding love on these apps?

Well, if you are having a hard time looking for love, don’t go and blame yourself just yet. There’s a psychological reason that might help explain why the dating scene is actually more tricky now and it is called: The paradox of choice. Essentially, it means that when we have too many options at hand, we have a harder time choosing and thus, become less happy.

And where else do we have so many options as on dating apps?

But let’s be honest here, ladies, how easy is it for you to swipe left at any nitpicked flaw. And since there are so many more options out there, you convince yourself that maybe the next one would be better?

In his book “The Paradox of Choice,” Barry Schwartz describes this way of thinking as “maximising.”

“Maximizers treat relationships like clothing,” he writes. “I expect to try a lot on before finding the perfect fit. For a maximizer, somewhere out there is the perfect lover, the perfect friends. Even though there is nothing wrong with the current relationship, who knows what’s possible if you keep your eyes open.”

So how do we navigate the dating world in such a confusing climate, you ask? Well, what you need to do is to look at things in a different perspective. Here are some ways you can adapt to look for the right one.


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Stop looking for “Perfect”


This maximizing mentality of striving for the perfect, the best possible option might do you more harm than good. Nobody’s perfect, and this constant searching for perfection will only lead to disappointment. And even in the off chance that you do find Mr-Perfect, eventually some flaws will reveal themselves in time, leaving you with self-doubt.

This is where the maximizers can learn from its counterpart: the satisficers. The satisficer is somebody who would not look for perfection, but will look for something good, and then call off the search once they have found one. If there are mismatches along the way, they would find a way to work with them, instead of seeking better options.

And this is not to say you should not have any standard at all. Being a satisficer doesn’t mean you stop aiming high and only settle for the mediocre. It just means that instead of relentlessly pursuing the next best thing, take time to see the good right in front of you and make it work.



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Stop looking for prom dates


Another thing you can do to reduce your failure count on the app is to stop looking for prom dates. I know, most of us are not in highschool anymore, so how can we have prom dates? A prom date is essentially somebody who looks good in pictures. You will get points when showing them off to your friends. This person will practically be your social accessory.

But it’s true, most of us graduated from highschool ages ago, so why do we still use the same criteria to judge compatibility in a person?

A prom date looks good and gives you a good time for a couple of dates. But the power of the looks wears out pretty quickly. Sooner or later, the fun runs out and you would be finding yourself out there trying your luck again.

No, instead of a prom date, look for who you would consider a life partner. Which qualities are really important to you in a long term relationship? What are the core values that you care about in a person? These characteristics are what would contribute to a good life partner, and will certainly bring you more long term happiness.

Fixating on superficial characteristics will cause you to overlook what really matters.


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Don’t trust “the spark”


For so long, we have been told about the power of “the spark”, which means if the person was meant to be, we would have to be able to feel that right off the bat. A lot of us often rely too much  on this “spark” to determine whether or not the partner is right. But it’s not always the case.

More often than not, we see ourselves feeling off during that first date and assume it would never work out. But feeling usually develops over time, and that brief two hours of awkward ice breaking may not be enough.

It could be an off day for the other person. Maybe it has been a rough day for them, they had an argument at work, or traffic threw them off their A game.

Or, it could be nerves that had gotten in the way. Meeting someone new is never easy, it’s understandable to be nervous. And you know how people get when they are nervous. Oftentimes, you don’t even get to see their real personality.

So by all means, go on that second date. Actually, you should always have a second-date rule (unless the person is a walking red flag). Second dates are lower stakes as there is no longer the pressure of first impression like in the first date. This is why you are more likely to let loose and enjoy the date the second time around.

Second dates are also great for digging a little deeper as all the mundane template getting-to-know questions have been asked already. And, you can avoid the inevitable recurring “what if” questions of not knowing the potentials of what could have happened.

Go for that second date and leave no room for regret. You never know.


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