Can Your Self-Esteem REALLY Handle "Dating" On Tinder?

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Can Your Self-Esteem REALLY Handle "Dating" On Tinder?
Love, Sex

The dating app's "hookup culture" isn't for everyone ... and if it's not for you, that's OK!

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I signed up for Tinder, just to see what it was about. I used the app for one week and I must say, that was more than enough for me!

Of course, Tinder isn't really a "dating" app, now is it? Though Tinder is awesome and it's also fun ... I couldn't help but think it is also really dangerous for some women.

Honestly, I got a little overwhelmed while swiping left, right, and sharing messages with random men I encountered on the app, in such a close vicinity, who seemed very eager to hook up. I quickly became concerned for other women out there in this fast paced dating (turned hook up) culture, who might lack background about how Tinder works and/or enough core confidence to say "no" to dangerous or soul crushing behavior that Tinder goers notoriously engage in!

But, are my concerns warranted? 

Granted I am 46-years-old — not an old lady, but I'm also not a youngster out there for the first time. Maybe most people on Tinder do hold to the thought I will definitely have sex with you if I right swipe you. It's possible. 

But, really ladies? Call me old fashioned (Or just old?). Because, I usually like to, at the very least, know the last name of the guy I am going to have sex with. Or … um, hear the sound of his voice first — basically, something more than nothing!

My question: Ladies, why are you just saying "yes" to these men who haven't done anything to earn full access to your beautiful bodies?

Why are you hooking up with men who aren't honoring you as a person (and don't even view you as one)? No conversation first (fyi: A handful of emojis don't count). No interest in who you are. No need to clean up, dress up or woo you. 

Just a "come as you are and let's f*ck" request?

Ladies, is this where Gloria Steinem thought we would end up? Is this sexual liberation or just self-destruction?

Tinder does have potential for finding "Prince Charming" ... if you're "game" for constantly fending off an avalanche of guys who aren't good for you.   

However ... first you need to gain insight about what scenarios are best for you, and which simply are not. (Not to mention, who is good for you and who is not.)

You also need a solid core and loads of self-confidence or Tinder quickly becomes a game of power and control, with a sexual sparring match involved to see who wins. Is that really fun? I'm not so sure. You need a clear understanding about how you feel about men at the current moment. Love them? Hate them? Indifferent?

Decide your intention before you start swiping away. Ask yourself, does my behavior liberate me or hurt me?

Ask yourself, does this man in front of me want to honor me or objectify me? If you feel objectified (and that's not what you're searching for) go back to the clarity piece — Is your intention for this hook up "to feel liberated" or not?

Tinder is capable of being very damaging for someone who isn't sure what she's looking for or a woman who seeks approval and acceptance from men (thinking she will get it through being overly sexual and promiscuous). Even worse, Tinder is potentially damaging for a woman who has been hurt in the past, thus she's currently angry at men and using her sexuality as a way to assert power over men in an attempt to hurt them. Ohhh! That's a complicated and very destructive situation!

If you're truly clear on what it's for and feel solid and strong in yourself, Tinder is a fun place to meet guys and, yeah, have sex with them (if you want)! Go for it! You're an adult! But, if we're honest ... who among us are really that self assured and impermeable to self-doubt and low self worth?

I know, when I was in my younger years, dating via Tinder would have eaten me alive!

I had a younger friend recently go off Tinder because she said her self-esteem couldn't handle it. I guess I'm wondering, can anybody's self-esteem handle it? (I've heard it's hard on men, too!)

In the end, with measured caution … I do believe that life is what you make it! In life, if you're clear on what you're seeking and your intentions, it will come to you. So it goes with Tinder!  

Girls! Ladies! Email me and let me know your experiences on Tinder or other dating apps (or just your dating experiences in general)? Or if you need some help getting clear about who you are, contact me and we can talk! Jennifer Maddox LCSW, MASM is Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in individuals, adolescents, and couples.