Online dating can be a challenging experience for many people. If you have a disability it can bring in unnecessary barriers and mishaps. Meet Disabled Singles shares the experience of one of its users who took the plunge to come off Tinder. Since deleting her account she has found happiness in doing other things in life that are more worthwhile than sitting behind a screen being addicted to image-driven sites.
I was a recreational Tinder user for a few years. As much as I appreciate the fact that it was trying to connect me to my ‘perfect match’ it just wasn’t working for me.
Frankly, any kind of website or online community featuring ripped bodies, blinding bleached teeth or unrealistically posh lifestyles always ends up creating a dent in my already fragile self-esteem.
Mainstream and shallow disabled dating sites aren’t that much better either because they just keep reminding me that I’m different and that my place in the general population is debatable.
So, one day, I worked up the courage to go off the grid and delete my social media and Tinder profiles. They were such a distraction from even a remote chance at leading a normal life.
It took me a few weeks to get used to the fact I was in ‘Tinder rehab’ and wasn’t allowed to check out anyone’s profile or open it 10 times a day to see if anyone had messaged me. As the days went by, I realised something that should have been clear as day a long time ago – I had freed up so much of my time! I read two books in just as many weeks.
I reconnected with long-lost contacts that I once cherished, but had talked myself into believing I didn’t have time to fit into my busy schedule. I started taking long walks again – something that I loved doing but felt less and less motivated to do as time went on.
Without a single relapse, I made it to week five. I was so proud of myself I told everyone! I replaced my Tinder addiction with things I loved to do that actually filled my heart with joy instead of leaving me feeling empty and undesirable. I got my life back.
It wasn’t just Tinder that made me question everything. It was all the social media sites as well. I realised that I would never find acceptance by sitting in front of a computer for hours, staring at the intimate details from the lives of people I didn’t even know, but longed to be a part of their circle.
There is one crucial aspect of checking your phone as if your life depends on it. Always being online, and maintaining an online presence kills every bit of self-confidence that you work so hard to achieve. And why does it do that?
Because it’s not real. No, exclamation point! It’s imaginary, fake and designed to always leave you wanting or striving to achieve more.
I turned to Tinder to find a nice person but instead found an enormous amount of self-doubt. I still wonder why it took me so long to realise that. I call it ‘Tinder addiction’ because I couldn’t resist the urge to keep coming back, even though I knew it wasn’t good for me.
Since deleting my Tinder account I’ve made it a point to go out into the real world more often and meet real humans. Although this has never been easy for me, I now know that I’d rather face my social anxiety in a real than a cyber social setting because I find real people to be more forgiving.
I know that the right person will notice me and see past my physical shortcomings – I don’t need Tinder or Instagram to make doubt that.
I also know that a high level of self-confidence doesn’t come easily for anyone, let alone for disabled people. What I’ve learned the most from my Tinder experience is that I’ll never spend so much time on something that was making me feel so lousy ever again.
Instead, I want to focus on planting trees, reducing the amount of plastic waste I produce or gardening. To some people, this may seem nonsensical, but to me, it makes perfect sense.
I’ll never be happy if my everyday habits or addictions are messing up my efforts to find the kind of person I’m searching for.
I’m not saying everyone should drop their phones and go offline., But what I am saying is this – life is too short to spend it doing something that isn’t giving you joy when there are so many other things you could be doing instead.
By Meet Disabled Singles
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