Online/Virtual sessions are conducted.

Commitment in the Age of Dating Apps

January 8, 2024

Setting up your dating app account requires one to reveal personal information and preferences. The initial fear of finding someone on the dating platform, in a few weeks, transforms into meeting multiple people from various backgrounds. The most common fear observed with customers who are on these platforms is whether people believe in commitment at all. Is it merely an explorative space where men and women both experiment with casual relationships and sex? Some individuals judge these platforms as a space to explore polygamous relationships and personalities. While the older norm of romance was monogamy- finding one partner for a lifetime. Dating platforms have redefined the norm where one feels they have the opportunity to meet multiple partners at a given time in their life.

Sohail, a 38-year-old marketing head of an established company was divorced at 35 years. He was told by his friends to seek partners on dating apps. His work and travel were hectic and consuming, where he did not have any opportunity to meet potential partners. After hesitantly signing up on the dating app, Sohail met a few girls casually. Some he connected to on interest and hobbies others he could not relate to at all. What confused Sohail was how he was to recognize the right partner and how long would the process take. Many girls he met were impulsively looking for marriage. Having gone through a failed relationship, he had his own fears of repeating the same mistake. His fears were misperceived as having commitment issues by others. On these platforms, he did not understand the concept of dating. While many women he met kept talking to him for weeks and months, they also spoke to other men simultaneously as he failed to commit. Sohail enjoyed the attention and validation that he acquired from the dating apps but he was not able to establish trust in the partners he met. In due course, he lost the belief in finding a stable committed partner through these apps. In counseling, he revealed that he was disappointed and uncomfortable with continuing in the same way. While his family knew that he was meeting girls frequently, they kept questioning him for being choosy and stubborn. His friends on the other hand kept teasing him by calling him the eligible bachelor in town. Sohail felt immensely lonely and unsatisfied in all his relationships. Coupled with his fears of an unsuccessful relationship he was stuck and frustrated in his personal life.

Sohail identified a pattern of people pleasing, wherein he would go out of the way to make others happy since childhood. He believed in being passive in relationships as he was a conflict-avoider. In therapy sessions, he often stated that his desires and needs were not met in his romantic relationships. He also acknowledged that he barely expressed his needs as he felt that they would not be catered for. In the psychological intake history form, Sohail revealed a history of emotional neglect. He stated that his dad was travelling for work and his mom was a doctor who also worked long hours. He was cared for by the nanny and felt disconnected from his parents while growing up. For him, relationships were about spending time socializing with the family and catering to their needs as this is what he observed his parents doing. In therapy, Sohail voiced his emotional needs for belongingness and nurturance. Sohail had to get out of an unhealthy pattern of feeling guilty when he expressed his feelings. When he dated girls, he had to consciously instruct himself to express his needs in the relationship. Sohail’s reflections in therapy helped him to be a wholesome person. He had pent-up feelings of guilt, anxiety, and shame. He was looped in a negative pattern of being the caretaker in all his relationships. As he progressed in meeting new people Sohail, became clearer about what he desired from relationships and a partner. He looked out for common values, lifestyle preferences, and someone who valued emotional connect. He felt this was the right way to address his void and need for belongingness. He learned to handle conflicts and arguments in relationships rather than bottling up his feelings. He accepted the norm that occasional arguments and disagreements were healthy in companionship. Sohail learned the strategy of agreeing to disagree and handled his romantic relationships without operating out of fear.

Courageously Connect.

Allow me to nurture, while you walk the path.