Dating apps can often be bad for guys because men are at a disadvantage. This episode discusses how to handle being ghosted.
Dating apps for some guys, it can be pure torture. Welcome to episode 16 of the anxiety therapist podcast. I'm your show host Frank Sasso, I'm a licensed clinical therapist.
Related: This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. Receive 10% Off the first month of therapy by clicking the link.
Please do me a favor and hit the follow button now on whatever app you're using, this way you never miss another episode. So today you're going to hear some of the stories I hear from men who use dating apps and the vicious anxiety cycle that goes along with it. You know, in my private practice,
I've worked with dozens of men over the years who have used dating apps to try to meet someone new. Now, some of these guys go on them because they're hoping somewhere in the back of their mind to get into a relationship and others will straight out just tell me, they're looking for a hook-up. And then there's somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. I've had guys who've come to me and said they feel guilty because they're sleeping around with too many people.
So whether you're a male listener, who's trying to figure out why a girl ghosted you after the first date or you're a woman who is curious what guys are thinking when they go on these apps. I hope this episode provides you with some good insight. All right, just a fast disclaimer before I get started, this show is not meant to replace psychological treatment or medical care. And I'm not your personal therapist.
Yeah. Dating apps. They can introduce a lot of anxiety for both men and women out there. But in today's show, I just want to focus on the guys because I get a lot of feedback on this subject from men in my clinical practice. I have to say it wasn't that long ago that online dating was considered something to be embarrassed of. It was like this taboo, but these days it's totally acceptable.
In fact, it's one of the most popular ways people meet and start a relationship. I did a little research out there and I discovered that just in the United States alone, over 44 million people were using dating apps to try to meet someone new. Now, just imagine that for a moment, 44 million people, we're talking about almost 13% of our total population who are using apps like Tumblr, Bumble, match.com, and many others trying to find romance.
So because there are so many people out there who are using these apps naturally, I see a lot of men in particular who come to my office because they're trying to work on their self-esteem. A lot of these guys will go on the dating apps and get emotionally crushed. After getting rejected, they'll get ghosted or people will just talk to them and then disappear. And they wonder what the heck is going on. It can be a rough ride for a lot of guys. Now let me say this first today's show isn't to bash people who use dating apps. In fact, I think they can be quite useful for people if they're used responsibly keyword responsibly. So let me just share some of the stories I hear from some of the men I work with to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.
Not too long ago, I had a patient who I'm just going to refer to as Blake because I want to honor his confidentiality. In fact, I already spoke to him and he said, I can tell his story just so long as I don't use his actual name. So Blake came to me for emotional support and help with his self-confidence after he had just gotten out of a relationship that he was in for four years.
So this guy, he's 30 years old, he's very handsome and he's very successful. But after his breakup, he was sort of just out there feeling really down and wasn't sure what he was going to do next. Well, after a few months of working together, I was trying to help Blake get to a point where he could feel his feelings again and allow him to grieve. And at one point, I think maybe four or five months after the breakup, he decided to give some of these dating apps, a try and remember now he had not been out there in four years.
Well Blake gets on the dating apps and he starts to meet people and he was emotionally crushed as a result. Now this doesn't happen for everyone, but for him, he had some bad experiences. And I hear this from a lot of other guys. For Blake, he would get a date set up, he'd get very excited about it. And he looked forward to it at the end of the week. So he'd show up to the date.
He'd spend a lot of money on a bar tab and dinner and engage in all this conversation. And before you know it, he thought that everything was great, that there was going to be more dates only to find out when he tried to contact the person a day or two later, he'd been ghosted. The person just completely disappeared. And wouldn't talk to him again.
And I need to tell you that as a therapist, trying to work with a person who's struggling with self-esteem some of this rejection that goes on can make it very challenging for the person to try to build up their self-confidence.
So with Blake in his case, I needed to help him reframe the situation. In other words, look at the situation without trying to personalize it and understand that there's a lot of other factors that go into some of these online dating especially the rejection other than the person just doesn't like you. I want to talk about that here because the reality Is there are, and lots of guys out there like Blake Who go through this emotional letdown. they'll go on these dates and completely get ghosted out of nowhere.
So when I'm working with guys around this subject, I first try to explain to them that dating is like a pendulum, especially on the apps. Sometimes it's not going to work out very well. And other times that pendulum will swing and you'll get in a hot streak. It's just sort of this rhythm of life if you will. But most importantly, what I try to explain is not to take this too personally, and that is simply because a person does not know all the facts behind the situation when they meet someone. let me give you an example. I will say to someone like Blake or another guy, how do you know that this a girl that you met and spent all this money on for dinner and drinks, didn't just get out of a relationship and a day later she's back with her boyfriend, or how do you know that the person you went out on a date with isn't so addicted to all the messages and the attention that they're getting on these apps, that they really don't have any intention at all of getting in a relationship.
Then there's the other part. And that other part is a person's schema. Schema means the world view. For the person that you went out on a date with they might have it in their mind what the perfect guy will be. And because they have this idea in their mind, anything that deviates from that will mean that they just don't want to continue exploring, getting into a relationship.
There are lots of reasons why people get ghosted and there are lots of reasons why these dating apps don't work out. I'm actually going to read a little bit of information about why it's difficult for guys on these dating apps here in a second. But before I do, I just want to stress two points to guys that are listening out there and women might find this interesting too.
If you're a guy out there, the first thing you're going to want to do is know your outcome. What do you want to happen as a result of going on this date? What's your motivation behind it. If it's to go out there and hook up with someone, then it is what it is. And I'm not even going to try to pretend that people don't do that because they do all the time. But when the person doesn't contact you again, you can't feel bad about it because maybe the other person you met, isn't looking to hook up.
So that's number one. Number two, change your expectations. This is key. If you go into it with the expectation that the date you're going on is going to result in this world when relationship there's a deep love, then you might find yourself being led down and we call this black or white thinking, right? If you go on a date with someone and they don't talk to you again, that means that you're never going to be able to meet anyone. And you're not attractive. That's simply not true. There is a variety of other factors, as I've said before that go into this.
The other thing that I would say to guys out there is set up some boundaries before you go spending tons and tons of money, hundreds of dollars on these first dates. Now the boundaries might be something like, well, I'm going to spend X amount of money when I go on a date. And that's it.
I know that this is hard for a lot of guys because they don't want to seem cheap. The other thing that you can do is set up dates that aren't in that traditional environment of a bar or a restaurant. For example, I've had many patients I've discussed with them and encourage them to meet a person to go for a walk, maybe somewhere in a nature area. If that can't work out, maybe for a cup of coffee or to go out for an ice cream, these are places where it can be intimate, but also allows you the guy to not have to spend a ton of money on this date Only to feel like you're left out or you're let down.
So if you're a guy out there who's experiencing this kind of anxiety around meeting someone on the apps and maybe even a sense of depression or low self-esteem, it's really, really important that you pull the lens back and see the entire picture here. This is what I mean. Let's say you go on the app and you swipe and you swipe and you see the, to drop dead, gorgeous, beautiful woman. And you send her a message that you want to go out on a date. All right, well, if she's drop-dead gorgeous, she's beautiful. Chances are definitely that there are dozens of other guys that think the same thing and have probably sent her a message. So this way you have to understand that you can't personalize this. The other part is this don't beat yourself up with this black or white thinking. What is black or white thinking?
Black or white thinking means that there's no grey area example. I took her on a date and we had a really good time and she doesn't want to have another date. Well, that must mean that I'm not a good guy or I'm not attractive or no one will ever want me. Guys, that's simply not true.
That's negative self-talk which will turn into this self-fulfilling prophecy. When you're out there on the apps it is going to take a few dates before you meet someone that you can warm up with and either have a casual relationship or a long-term romance. That is just how it is. I haven't even mentioned how difficult it is for some of the women out there. There's a lot of women who were on these apps who get I'll just say it. There are predators guys out there who just stalk them. So they really have to be careful. Again, there's a lot that goes into it.
All right. I want to read from an article titled why online dating doesn't work for most guys, it was put on the website, Vidaselect, and it was written by Allie. I'll leave a link in the episode notes so that you can check it out yourself. I'm just going to read from the article and then I'm going to throw in my 2 cents. So she puts down the number one problem that it's hard for men on the dating apps is tons of men compete for the hottest women. Most dating sites and apps have more men than women, which means the most attractive women get bombarded with messages. The competition is absolutely fierce.
All right, I'm going to jump in here. So guys, when you hear it, that it's really important again, that you're not personalizing this. I mean, how could you, you've got this beautiful woman who's getting just bombarded. She's inundated with tons of guys contacting them. Her. She might be confused herself about what it is she wants and what she's looking for. So that's number one.
Number two, she writes is it's hard to quantify compatibility matching algorithms don't work because they typically rely on information that is easily quantifiable online, such as behavioral traits and simple beliefs. But how do you quantify chemistry on a dating site? She brings up a really good point here. There is nothing like face-to-face interaction and no computer, no science in the world is going to be able to predict that. And that's why it's a game of numbers. This is a process that takes time.
The final item, number three, that she puts down. Why it's very difficult for guys on the apps is trying hard doesn't equal having a strategy. Odds are excellent. If you don't have a game plan firmly in hand, you're probably going about it all wrong. Even the slightest misstep can destroy your chances and you're making a number of mistakes. So in other words, guys, she's saying that you need to have some kind of plan in place and she actually spells out what that plan would be on the website, which again, I'll leave the link in.
All right, let me leave with this final point around the dating apps for guys. If you're a guy out there and you're just looking for a casual hook-up, it's important that when you meet this person on the date that you're upfront.
You're not going to say, I want to hook up. Someone's going to walk away from you if you sell it like that, but there's nothing wrong with saying, Hey, I'm looking for something casual. Don't go out there and you meet this woman, and you tell her that you're looking for a relationship and that's exactly not what you're looking for, because then you're actually hurting someone else. And you're doing to someone, something that you wouldn't want done to yourself.
All right, let's move on to today's listener, email. Today's listener Email comes from Jodi out of Manila Philippines. I'm going to read you her email, and then I'm going to share what I wrote back to her. Here's what she wrote. "Dear Frank, we're still under quarantine here in the Philippines and the COVID-19 virus seems to be getting worse. I'm not able to get to the gym and engage in any kind of exercise. Can you give me any kind of examples that I can do that will help me to keep healthy and reduce my anxiety?" All right. Well, here's what I wrote back to Jodi.
Related: 5 Ways Working Out Helps Anxiety
Dear Jodi, thank you so much for tuning in and listening to this show. It really means a lot to me. You know, Jody, my wife is also Filipino, and she tells me that things are rough there with the virus during this time in the Philippines. But here are some things you can do. Number one, if you have the internet available, go onto YouTube and look up any kind of yoga routine or any kind of aerobic exercise and try to follow along with it. Just 15 minutes a day is enough to sort of break that anxiety and help release some dopamine into your brain.
So that's the first thing. The other thing that you might want to try is getting your hands on a suspension trainer or what is popularly called here as a brand name, as the TRX. This is as a suspension trainer that you can hang from a door or from a tree and do a full-body workout. It incorporates everything from our aerobics to gymnastics, to calisthenics. You can do all of it on a suspension trainer.
The third thing that I would say to you is to try to create your own exercise routine. If the other things I mentioned aren't available, here's what I mean. You could write down on a piece of paper, I'm going to do 15 setups. Then I'm going to do 15 air squats, and then I'm going to do 30 seconds of walking in place. So you put that all together and you time it and you do several rounds. So it would look something like this, 15 setups, then 15 air squats, and then 30 seconds of running in place. Then pause and stop for a minute. Repeat it five times. Now you've got a situation where you've totally stimulated your body to start pumping blood. And best of all, it didn't cost you any money. I know that it can be hard to work out on your own, but you're going to want to do this just to keep your spirit going and to reduce some of that anxiety"
Thanks for listening to the Anxiety Therapist Podcast.