Tinder might be as addictive as smoking

Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

Although I have never been a smoker — I once tried to start, didn’t succeed — I still believe there is a huge resemblance between smoking and using Tinder.

It’s incredibly difficult to quit.

Today I decided I had enough of shallow meet-ups, unclear expectations, and conversations that would never even have started in real life. So I removed the app from my phone, again. I lost track of the number of times I’ve done that before.

After three hours I downloaded it again.

I couldn’t bear the thought of receiving a message from someone and just let it hang there, leaving them with unfulfilled wishes.

My mind was telling me I could be missing out on something great — finally. What if the moment I decided to get rid of the app was the moment THE guy decided to show up. Someone who knew how to handle his emotions, not be too occupied with trying to figure out who he was or wanted to be. Someone who was not going through a breakup, and neither planning to get way too involved after only one date. Someone who would, I don’t know, be perfect?

All I got was a ‘Hey’ from someone I didn’t remember swiping right on. I was disappointed, obviously. But what did I expect? I believed the way to fill a gap was scrolling endlessly through an algorithm set up in such a way I will never stop using it.

Tinder is addictive because it gives you amazing short-term satisfaction. Every match is another tiny shot of dopamine, one is often enough to get you through the day, but a message is even better. And if the conversation is terrible, another spark of happiness is just around the corner.

Like smoking, I find reasons to tell myself it’s ok to be on Tinder. It’s just something I do when I’m bored, while watching Netflix, or to kill time while waiting for someone. I can stop whenever I want to.

But I can’t. I start to long for these confirmations from strangers. And it distracts me in everything. I’m not even able to enjoy a book whenever I’m on Tinder, all I do is check my phone at least once every half an hour, lost in the possibility to create my own fairytale.

And then I find myself in another conversation I didn’t want to start. I lit another cigarette, my lungs are taking revenge on me for trying to stop — my addiction couldn’t be happier, but I feel miserable.

What I keep forgetting in these moments is that I am also in this equation. I try to fight this endless search for something I will never find, convincing myself that I don’t need any validation from strangers.

I wish I could try harder to be my own fairytale.

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