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Dating apps won’t help you find love and here’s why

For most of human history, relationships were relatively simple

For most of human history, relationships were relatively simple for a banal yet immovable reason: it was extremely hard to meet anyone acceptable – and everyone knew it. Dating apps won’t help you if there are only a few people in the village if travel is expensive and when social occasions are few and far between.

History had many drawbacks. It encouraged people to accept offers from suitors they were unconvinced by. It meant that characters who would have delighted each other died lonely and unfulfilled because there were few mountains or a river between them.

Being understood

Technologists have used their genius to correct these historical obstacles and provide us with unending choices. Meeting someone new is now a constant possibility. But this breakthrough at the level of introduction has obscured an ongoing challenge at the level of ultimate purpose. They may have made you easier to meet, but dating apps won’t help you become any easier to love.

We remain — each one of us — highly challenging propositions for anyone to take on. All of us are riddled with psychological quirks that serve to render an ongoing relationship extremely problematic: we are impatient, prone to making unjust accusations, rife with self-pity, and unused to expressing our needs in a way they can be understood by others. And that’s just the beginning.

That we can meet so many people has obscured our ugly side, breeding in us the charming yet misleading idea that we are in trouble because we have not met “the right person,” also known as “the one.”

It’s nothing to do with anything questionable or unpleasant about our nature, nor paradoxes in the human condition as a whole. Hunt further and a more reasonable candidate will emerge who will, at long last, see things our way.

Too many choices

Choice has drained us of the patience and modesty to deal with the everyday tensions that come our way. We forget that almost everyone is charming when we know nothing about them.

Part of what it takes to be ready for love is to be able to imagine the difficulties that we cannot, as yet, know too much about – the bad mood behind the sweet smile, the difficult past, the love of camping.

Even though there are bazillions of people we might meet, there are not so many people we could really love. Dating apps have made it easier to connect but they haven’t helped us be more patient, imaginative, forgiving or empathetic. Quite the opposite.

Most of the issues we experience with any given candidate will show up in almost anyone we might stumble upon. Dating apps won’t help you, because the issues are yours, not theirs.

Emotional maturity

We will be ready for love when we surrender some of our excited sense of possibility and recognise that though we might have many choices, we don’t — in reality — have so many options.

It may sound dark, but this will, in its own way, be a liberating realisation that can help us redirect our energies away from the exhausting circuit of new encounters towards a search for the kind of mutual emotional maturity on which true love can one day be built.

This article appeared more or less in this form on the School of Life. The School of Life is absolutely not the place to head on a deadline. The site contains many days’ worth of excellent stories.

Dating apps won't help you find love and here's why | News by Thaiger

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.