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If you’re single (or non-monogamous), you have stories to tell about online dating. It’s hardly breaking news that using dating apps can feel like you’re navigating a minefield. People aren’t always honest and it’s way easier for people to ghost you online. So many people have sworn off dating apps for good. But, I say: Not so fast.There is no surefire way to avoid dating trolls and bots. But there are some self-care choices you can make. The process begins with asking yourself some tough questions about your approach and your motivation. It also involves a healthy dose of attachment theory.

Tough Questions

Are you telling people what you truly want in your online profile? Have you developed an online profile for what you truly want? Or, is your profile filled with info you think will make people find you more attractive or likable?

If you settle while writing your profile, you’ll end up settling for the responses you get. Don’t be afraid to “scare” off a few people. For example, if you want a long-term relationship, try something like, “I want somebody who is not afraid of talking about their feelings, who likes to snuggle and is wanting to build a life together.”

So, for starters, make a list of what you truly want. Next, take a good look at your profiles. Make sure they reflect your personal wants and needs. What good is it to attract people you know are not compatible?

What About Attachment Theory?

Generally speaking, there are four different types of attachment adaptations. We most often mold our adaptation during childhood — usually from our primary caregivers. These adaptations are:

  • Secure: Demonstrated by a positive view of yourself and others
  • Ambivalent-preoccupied: You value others but may not see yourself as worthy of them
  • Dismissive-avoidant: Not depending on others, maintaining a distance
  • Disorganized: A fear that trusting someone will lead to you getting hurt

Of course, there will be overlap. But, a familiarity with attachment theory can be quite helpful once you’ve started to meet in person with someone from a dating app.

Applying Attachment Theory to Dating

Ideally, you want to attract someone with a secure attachment style. Some signs include:

  • They directly let you know how they feel. A secure person won’t string you along. If they’re not feeling it, they’ll say something like: “I really enjoyed meeting you, but I don’t think this is a relationship.”
  • Not afraid of “being trapped” or losing their independence. They see dating as a path to a potential relationship.
  • Makes quality eye contact and gives you their focused attention.
  • Comfortable making plans and shows flexibility. They don’t leave you wondering when you’re going to see them again.
  • Open to talking about the relationship. They communicate honestly and confidently about why they’re dating and what they’re looking for.
  • Closeness breeds further closeness. Intimacy creates safety, not insecurity or unbalanced dynamics.
  • Not into playing games. You won’t be wondering why they didn’t answer a text right away. They’re not the type to use something like that as a test or a power trip.
  • Introduces you to friends and family and shares intimate details in a paced way. You both take emotional risks slowly but steadily.
  • Makes you feel good about yourself. Don’t ignore the signs if you don’t feel great about yourself with somebody!

The absence of the above qualities could be an important red flag. However, these red flags are less likely when you use online dating in a conscious way. To find out more about how relationship counseling might help you, set up a free consultaton.