How to Care For Yourself When Online Dating
Online dating is incredibly challenging. Most people are simultaneously figuring out online norms, juggling multiple apps, and balancing everything else in their lives. It’s so easy to be consumed with trying to match with others that we neglect ourselves.
But online dating is draining, so it’s critical that we take care of our mind and spirit when trying to match with others online. Here are four crucial ways to take care of yourself during online dating.
Recognize the bravery within you
Online dating can be terrifying. There are no guarantees , which is why it’s critical to use self-compassion, especially when things don’t turn out the way you want them to. Putting yourself out there is brave. Give yourself kudos for being courageous and taking on the uncertain landscape of online dating.
Self-compassion isn’t about just loving yourself. It’s about acknowledging that you’re a human being, and that it’s okay to struggle. Self-compassion reminds us to be kind to ourselves, especially in moments when we are ruled by self-doubt.
Throw numbers out the window
Have you ever heard the phrase, “comparison is the thief of joy"? This phrase has held up so well over the years because it's true: nothing helpful comes from comparing ourselves to others. What might be relevant to online dating is the numbers —how many people you match with, how many people you’re talking to or how many pursue you, how old you are, what age you want to reach certain relationship benchmarks, etc.
Does simply wanting to be in a relationship by a certain age ever allow you to achieve that goal? Most likely not, but it does rob you of your ability to enjoy the process and put yourself out there. Don’t concern yourself with numbers, and stop comparing yourself to other people. I know this is easier said than done, but try instead to focus on what you’d like to get out of each interaction. Focus on the present moment instead of being too concerned with the past or fearing what will happen in the future.
Balance now with later
Most people get stuck when they forget to balance long-term with the short-term. Focus too much on the short-term? You might miss out on someone or something with long-term potential. Focus too much on the long-term? You miss opportunities for fun, present moments, and have more room for long-term worries to seep in.
Balance is imperative. Think about what dating gives you in the short-term and the long-term. Make note of the now benefits (having conversations, putting yourself out there, hope), while keeping in mind what you want in the long haul.
Basic needs come first
I know most people think this is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people neglect their basic needs the moment they get stressed.
Make sure your basic needs are covered. Eat regularly. Sleep sufficiently. Make sure you’re connecting with friends and family for support. Exercise and go to the gym.
When these needs are taken care of, we are less vulnerable to negative emotions. Online dating already opens us up to vulnerability, so it’s crucial that you take care of your basic needs for nourishment, rest, safety, and connection.
Taking care of yourself is necessary during online dating. As a baseline, make sure your basic needs for safety, fuel, connection, and rest are well-covered. Use self-compassion to remember that you are a human being and you are brave no matter what happens. Being kind to yourself includes not comparing yourself to others and balancing your short-term needs with your long-term goals. Being kind to yourself is not a privilege that is earned — it is a basic human right. Take care of you.