You are locked in the house. You are single and seriously searching, or just in need of someone to while away with as you self-distance. ‘Hmm, why don’t I try online dating,’ you encourage yourself. Immediately you swipe left the games begin. ‘Is it all worth it?’ you wonder.
In a past publication, I shared my quest for love online. I had found love in a hopeless world, to quote Rihanna, and I went ahead and spilled my heart and joy on a weekly publication. I even dared to call him boyfriend, but little did I know that my dating naivety will bring my poetic corona love crumbling down.
It was foolhardy, because I am on this single blessedness journey, a wholesome love that transcends romantic love. But the shock that ended it all was the discovery that I was in the relationship alone, in my head. I blame myself for not taking heed to Joan Thatiah’s (Plain Truth columnist) wisdom when she warned me that it’s only a relationship when he says so; even if you have met his family and friends. My air castle of farm life and enjoying green energy with Alex flew away.
That sums up my online love experience. I will not be bold enough to say never again. What I learned was that, if you go online with a free mind and with no expectations you might just enjoy it. But I would not advocate for an individual looking for a ‘serious’ relationship to get entangled. The process is tedious and the people exhausting.
Eva Wambui thinks online dating is a waste of time. She joined Tinder hoping to meet the love of her life but came out empty-handed. “I used a flower as my profile photo because I didn’t want my looks to be the center. In the bio I described who I was and what I was looking for,” she says.
She matched up to this guy Faizul, but after many back and forth chats, it fizzled out.
“He ghosted me. I felt rejected. To me, online dating is a waste of time,” the 31-year-old, says. Rose Monge shares the same sentiment. She met a guy through a Christian dating App but the man failed to be consistent. “It was a case of hit and run,” the 30-year-old, says.
Catfishes, time wasters, rude or disgusting messages from horny guys, sexual propositions, dick pics, and a lot of creepy vibes, conmen are just a bunch of the pitfalls of online love.
“There is too much choice. Many people don’t see why they should focus on you, while they can swipe left and get another hotter catch,” Marion Ledi, who is back looking for her mate offline, says.
According to research by Pew Research Center Americans who have used a dating site or app in the past year say their recent experience left them feeling more frustrated (45 percent) than hopeful (28 percent). It is up to each one to pick themselves up.
In the last five or so years online dating has picked up in Kenya. It has gained even more traction now with the onset of curfew, lockdown measures, and limited socializing.
It is an arduous task making a connection online, sieving out the good and the bad, the real and the chaff, looking out for your safety, and establishing open communication. Your self-worth is also on the line; with every match/connection or lack of being a test on your confidence.
A University of North Texas study found that dating app users report lower self-esteem and lower psychosocial well-being than non-users. This could be related to frequent and regular rejection. “Indeed, dating apps could contribute to a culture of human ‘disposability’, with users becoming part of a “throwaway society. All this may be driven by a ‘tyranny of choice,'” says Rob Whitley, Ph.D. an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at McGill University and a research scientist, in Psychology Today.
“We found that being actively involved with Tinder, regardless of the user’s gender, was associated with body dissatisfaction, body shame, body monitoring, internalization of societal expectations of beauty, comparing oneself physically to others, and reliance on media for information on appearance and attractiveness,” said Jessica Strübel, Ph.D., of the University of North Texas.
For the courageous and bold, be careful wading through the online murky waters of love. However, for me and my tribe, online dating is a colossal time-waster and a face slapping experience.