How to Guard Your Heart with Online Dating Apps
Dating is a complicated, taxing, and sometimes mentally toxic world to navigate. Factor in the pitfalls of online dating apps, and the whole process can leave anyone feeling emotionally exhausted. I know I’ve felt this way a million times over!
Raise your hand if this sounds familiar to you: You download Bumble with so much hope and optimism, as you feel a twinge of excitement at the thought of taking control of your life.
You swipe right for some cute guys, enjoy the flirty banter, and feel a thrill when a great prospect asks you on a date. You start to envision a future with him on the first date: everything from date nights at romantic restaurants to movie nights in to cross-country road trips together to your first anniversary to your first shared home to even your wedding!
You focus on the solid job he has, his fun friend group, and how close he is with his family, subconsciously squashing each of the seemingly minor concerns that pop into your head.
You think to yourself, “This is the one. We’re so good together. A perfect match.” After a few weeks of dating, you’re more starry eyed than ever, only to realize that he’s not texting you as often and he’s not asking when he can see you next anymore. One day, you text him and he ghosts you, swiftly putting the brakes on all your hopes and dreams.
You’re left confused, wondering what you did wrong. You feel the hot sting of rejection, wondering why you weren’t good enough. You let the hopelessness sink in, wondering if you’ll ever find someone.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Dating — yes, even online dating — is supposed to be fun! You’re supposed to enjoy meeting new people, going on fun dates, and learning more about yourself and what you value in a partner.
Taking intentional steps to guard your heart while online dating is the key to preserving the fun and maintaining your mental health and self-confidence. From my own personal experiences with the tricky online dating scene, I’ve learned 3 ways to guard your heart:
1. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
When I’ve met a guy who I thought was perfect for me, I’ve tended to singularly focus on him:
When is he going to text me next?
He’s such a great guy! I feel bad pursuing anyone else at the same time.
When is our next date?
I can stop looking now. Things are going well and I can see things working out with him!
This kind of thinking ends up being self-destructive and has led me to disappointment. I used to only talk to and meet up with one guy at a time because I was so optimistic that this person would be “the one.” After experiencing the sense of loss when things haven’t worked out though, I’ve learned to not put all my eggs in one basket right off the bat.
Now, when I online date, I continue talking to and seeing other people even after I’ve met someone who I think is a great guy. This helps me to not zero in on any one particular person, instead keeping my mind and options open. It also helps avoid the feeling of hopelessness if things don’t work out with someone because you know that you still have plenty of other amazing options.
There really are always more fish in the sea!
2. Don’t Rush Things
I’ll be the first to say that I always imagine a future with someone, even before I’ve met them in person!
But getting to know someone takes time. To protect my heart from getting invested in someone prematurely, I purposefully stop my thoughts from running wild about a guy. I remind myself that it’s only been one date and that I don’t know him well enough yet to know if he’s the right one for me.
I keep in mind that it’s not about getting him to like me. It truly is about being myself, getting to know him, and evaluating if we’re the right fit for each other.
Take it one step at a time, friend! I know it’s hard because we have so much love to give, but we have to bide our time and make sure that when we pour our love onto someone, it’s the right someone who is worthy of it and of us.
3. Remind Yourself of Your Awesomeness!
With online dating, it’s so easy to get swept up in the other person.
If things are going well, we think, “Oh my goodness, he’s so smart, successful, and so gosh darn cute! I really want it to work out!”
If things turn sour, we think, “Wow, he was so funny, thoughtful, and generous. I wish it would’ve worked out.”
But, sweet friend, don’t forget that YOU are so incredibly smart, successful, funny, thoughtful, generous, and SO gosh darn cute! YOU are so honest, profound, caring, kind, talented, and awesome! The point of dating is to find your most compatible partner and if things don’t work out with someone, it’s for a good reason! It simply means that he is not the right fit for you, which is perfectly okay! In fact, I dare say it’s even a good thing!
Don’t forget that you are in the best hands possible. God is the author of your story and He has such a colorful, vivacious, and magical plan for you; one just as colorful, vivacious, and magical as you are!
For every positive thought you have about a guy you’re seeing, make sure to balance it with an even more positive, life-affirming thought about yourself. Your relationship with yourself will define any relationship you have with a guy in the future, so remind yourself often that you are absolutely the loveliest creature and that God delights in you! And don’t forget that anyone who wants to be a part of your life needs to know this too!
Online dating is hard, but it doesn’t have to be grueling! If you make it one small part of your life and not your entire world, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the process! Your heart is the most gorgeous and precious thing. Wait for the one who will treat it with as much love and care as you give it!