As a dating coach and love, I hear a lot of complaints about online dating. Single women and men alike complain about the amount of people online are lying about their age or height or weight or your hobbies (and / or more!). Or they find that people seem singularly interested in playing the field, irresponsibly communication management and treatment of online dating as a supermarket to hook casual. There is also, of course, date outdated complaints – that people become bored or arrogant or bored.
Trust me, I used to join this tirade. It felt good to bond over the trials and tribulations of what size was someone “IRL” (in real life) after the first round of Google searches, interrogations and innocent mutual friend Facebook “stalking”.
For that reason, when my clients today want to list their complaints about this modern way to meet potential mates, I nod and say you are absolutely right.
Most of them look at me, surprised, like me, a relationship coach living in 2015 expected to defend online dating as a practical and exciting way to meet someone.
Well, they also have reason to be shocked, as I truly believe that modern technology has allowed us to accelerate the process of meeting people, exposing people and communities who have not found in the places we go (work, gym, parts of our friends) in our own daily lives. But I do not say this deliberately.
Instead, simply tell them that they are right about that but they feel they are. But not for the reasons they think.
Here’s the real reason everyone is right about online dating: our brains are wired to see patterns that prove ourselves right. It is evolutionary, something wired in each of us. If a person comes online through a negative lens, thinking everyone is out looking evasive hooked, he / she will find evidence to support that, although his / her brain passes over the evidence to the contrary.
Remember the last time you bought a car? To the point you start thinking about buying that particular model, most likely did not realize that on the way very often. But once your brain becomes aware of its existence, and even tuned to notice details about it, you begin to see the car everywhere.
The same happens in our search for love, thanks to our good old friend of the unconscious mind. In summary, our unconscious mind is comforted by habit. That’s why habits are so hard to break, even if they are “bad”. None of us can deny that humans love to find patterns, make patterns, following the patterns and so on. Our ego minds want so badly to be right, so that when we experience the world, we often wear blinders to experiences that could be us wrong. And this is not a bad thing, really. Our egos are trying to keep us safe. But this form of belief can certainly put a damper on our life – love, work and otherwise.
By participating in online dating a jaded or negative space, the experience is more likely to meet that expectation (or lack thereof). The same happens when we actually go on dates. If we approach the expected date of the person to be boring or shallow or angry, then we will see the other person through a filter, looking for evidence of these qualities. We create our own reality in this way.
So how can we change this paradigm?
The answer simple, but not necessarily easy. Enter the experience with an open mind and heart. Try to clear your mind of expectations and beliefs about what is or is not dating online before trying it. No, I am not encouraging Pollyanic a naive approach. But you can begin the process of looking for love online with a fundamental belief in the place you anchor: you already have everything you need within yourself. This will allow you to remain as neutral as possible. At the same time, also allow the other person to freely appear as himself, without the filtering effect of their judgments and assumptions.
That said, if you find your judgments bubbling just to realize what your mind wants to be labeled “bad”. The beauty of being aware of this way is that you can take your power back and no longer have to navigate data from a negative space.
Look at it this way: the online world is much bigger and more spacious than the worlds each of us lives every day. Appreciate that space, and realize how to release it. There are beautiful, open, conscious people around the world looking for love just like you are.