Let me tell you a story. A few months ago, I decided to give online dating a try. I downloaded a few popular apps, set up my profile, and started swiping. At first, it was fun. I felt like a kid in a candy store, with so many potential matches to choose from. I was excited by the possibility of finding my perfect partner, or at least some fun dates. But soon, the fun turned into frustration. I realized that I had no idea what I was looking for, or how to narrow down my options. I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of people I could swipe on, and I started to doubt every decision I made. Was I being too picky, or not picky enough? Was I wasting my time on the wrong people, or missing out on the right ones? Was I settling for less, or aiming for too much? These questions haunted me every time I opened the app, and they made me feel anxious and unhappy. I was experiencing what psychologists call the Paradox of Choice, and it was ruining my dating life. The Paradox of Choice is the idea that having more choices can actually make us less happy, more stressed, and less satisfied with the decisions we make. It can affect not only our dating lives, but also our careers, our hobbies, and our self-image. In this article, I’ll share with you how the Paradox of Choice works, why it affects us so much, and what we can do to overcome it.
The Grass is Always Greener
One of the main reasons why we struggle with the Paradox of Choice is that we always think there might be something better out there, waiting for us to discover it. This is what psychologists call the “Grass is Always Greener” mentality, or Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). FOMO is the feeling that we are missing out on something more exciting, more rewarding, or more fulfilling than what we have. It makes us constantly compare ourselves to others, and to wonder what if. What if I had swiped right on that person instead of left? What if I had gone on a date with that person instead of this one? What if I had chosen a different app, a different profile picture, a different bio? FOMO makes us dissatisfied with our choices, and makes us want to keep searching for the elusive “perfect” match. It also makes us afraid to commit to anyone, because we don’t want to close the door on other options. I know this feeling all too well. A few weeks ago, I met a guy on a dating app who seemed really nice. We had a lot in common, he was funny, smart, and attractive. We went on a few dates, and I really enjoyed his company. But I couldn’t help but wonder if there was someone else out there who was even nicer, even more compatible, even more attractive. I kept checking the app, looking for new matches, hoping to find someone who would blow me away. I didn’t want to settle for good enough, I wanted the best. But by doing so, I was sabotaging my chances of finding happiness with someone who was already good enough for me.
The Pressure to Be Perfect
Another problem with having too many choices is that it can make us more demanding and less grateful. We start to think that we deserve the best, and that anything less than that is not good enough. We become less happy with what we have, and more obsessed with what we could have. This can cause us to feel stressed and anxious, as we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make the perfect choice. We also spend more time and energy on making decisions, as we try to compare and evaluate each option. My friend Sarah is a perfect example of this. She is a successful lawyer who has been looking for a partner for a long time. She has tried many dating apps, and has gone on countless dates. But she is never satisfied with anyone she meets. She always finds something wrong with them, or something missing. She has a long list of criteria that she expects her partner to meet, and she is not willing to compromise on any of them. She spends hours on the apps, swiping and messaging, hoping to find the one who ticks all the boxes. But by doing so, she is missing out on the opportunity to connect with someone who might not be perfect, but who could still make her happy.
The Fear of Commitment
Furthermore, this kind of behavior can also affect how we relate to others and form bonds with them. By always looking for new options and never settling for any one choice, we may find it hard to keep close relationships and build trust with others. We may also miss out on the benefits of commitment, such as intimacy, loyalty, and support. For example, I used to date a guy who was always indecisive about our relationship. He never knew what he wanted, or where we stood. He would always say things like “let’s see how it goes”, or “let’s keep it casual”. He would always hesitate to make plans with me, or to introduce me to his friends or family. He would always avoid talking about the future, or our feelings. He was always unsure if he was ready to commit to me, or if he wanted to explore other options. He made me feel confused, frustrated, and insecure. I realized that he was not able to commit to me, or to anyone. He was too afraid of making the wrong choice, that he was not able to make any choice at all.
Make the Best of Your Choices
So, how can we escape the Paradox of Choice and make better decisions in our dating lives? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some simple but effective tips that can help you overcome the choice overload and find your happily ever after:
Limit your options: We know, we know, it’s tempting to swipe on every hottie that pops up on your screen, or to download every app that promises to find your perfect match. But trust us, less is more. Having too many options can make you feel overwhelmed, confused, and unhappy. So, do yourself a favor and narrow down your choices. Pick one app that suits your preferences and goals, or set a few criteria that are important to you, such as age, location, or hobbies. Then, focus on those options and ignore the rest. This way, you can save time and energy, and make the decision process easier and faster.
Be grateful: It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side, or that there is always someone better out there. But guess what? The grass is greener where you water it. And sometimes, good enough is good enough. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have or what you could have, try to appreciate what you do have and what you have achieved. You could also express your gratitude to the people who are in your life and who make you happy. This way, you can increase your satisfaction and happiness with your choices and your relationships.
Commit to your choice: Once you’ve made a choice, stick to it. Don’t second-guess yourself or look for alternatives. Don’t keep one foot in the door or one eye on the app. Give your choice a chance and see where it leads. You could also invest in your choice and make an effort to make it work. For example, you could communicate openly and honestly with your partner, show interest and support in their life, and spice things up in the bedroom. This way, you can avoid regret and disappointment, and enjoy the benefits of commitment.
Trust your gut: Sometimes, the best way to make a decision is to listen to your intuition. Your gut feeling can tell you a lot about how you feel about someone, or how compatible you are with them. So, don’t ignore it. If you feel a spark, a connection, or a chemistry with someone, go for it. If you feel bored, annoyed, or uncomfortable with someone, move on. Don’t overthink it or rationalize it. Just trust your gut and follow your heart.
Seek feedback: Another way to make a decision is to ask for advice from someone you trust, such as a friend, a family member, or a therapist. They can offer you a different perspective, a valuable insight, or a helpful suggestion. They can also support you and encourage you in your decision-making process. However, don’t let them make the decision for you, or influence you too much. Remember, it’s your life and your choice. You have to do what’s best for you.
Be flexible: Finally, remember that no choice is permanent or irreversible. You can always change your mind, or change your situation. If you realize that you made a mistake, or that you’re not happy with your choice, don’t be afraid to admit it and do something about it. You can always break up with someone, delete an app, or try something new. You can always learn from your experience and grow from it. Don’t be too hard on yourself or too rigid in your expectations. Be flexible and adaptable, and embrace the uncertainty and the adventure of life.
By following these tips, you can overcome the Paradox of Choice and make better decisions in your dating life. You can also reduce stress and anxiety, and increase happiness and satisfaction. And who knows, maybe you’ll find the one who makes you swipe left on everyone else.
The Bottom Line
The Paradox of Choice is a real thing that can mess with our dating lives big time. It can make us feel like we have too many options and not enough time. It can also make us more fussy, less thankful, and less loyal. But it doesn’t have to be like that. By following the tips we shared with you, you can beat the Paradox of Choice and make awesome decisions in your dating life. You can also chill out and cheer up, and feel happier and more satisfied. And who knows, maybe you’ll find the one who makes you forget about everyone else.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give online dating a shot. But remember, don’t let the Paradox of Choice ruin your vibe. You deserve to find love, and you can find it. Just trust yourself, be grateful, and commit to your choice. And have a blast along the way. You rock!