The depression of online dating

Love takes effort, it requires sacrifice, it demands you take risks. At the Mc Lean Hospital OCD Institute, I underwent a form of treatment called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).ERP works based on habituation, the psychological phenomenon that allows us to ignore repeated sensory input: habituation is why you don’t hear the air conditioner, or feel your socks against your feet.From there, the next step is to speak with people you’d potentially be interested in dating – your openers don’t have to be brilliant, you can get away with asking opinions on local news or the weather.

These tactics were appealing because they required no sacrifice and minimal risk - they did not necessitate that the wooer subject himself to the hypothetical devastating “no.” Through such strenuous non-effort, I expected to find love. Love is not something you can fall into, like a tumbler clicking into place.Because of my anxiety, the possibility of being rejected by a girl I liked felt cataclysmic.So fantasy stories like taught me how to persevere, quietly and nobly, in pursuit of young ladies who were probably quite unaware of my existence."There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day."And mostly they're pretty unfounded." Rosenfeld, who has been keeping tabs on the dating lives of more than 3,000 people, has gleaned many insights about the growing role of apps like Tinder.I wondered to myself, is this what online dating has done to us?

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