Minding Your Mental Health | Can you find the 'perfect' relationship online? - Joe O'Brien

40% of new relationships are formed online

Joe O'Brien

Reporter:

Joe O'Brien

Email:

joeobrien@mentalhealth.ie

Minding Your Mental Health | Can you find the 'perfect' relationship online? - Joe O'Brien

The global pandemic has been a worrying time for us all. The uncertainty and danger surrounding us in our everyday lives has taken its toll on the vast majority, and minding our mental health is as important as ever.

With that in mind, we turned to the expertise of one of our favourite lockdown discoveries in Trainee Health Psychologist Joe O’Brien’s increasingly popular Head First Instagram page (@headfirst0) and Podcast dedicated to promoting evidence based psychology and mental health information.

ONLINE DATING APPS⁠⠀

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With online dating, there is access to what seems like an unlimited choice of potential partners. But how can we can swipe for hours, and find nobody suitable in the process? ⁠⠀

⁠There are literally thousands of users to interact with on dating websites yet one thing that comes up quite a bit is the constant swiping, only to fail to find a suitable date. And even with the select few who make the cut, people seem to get bored pretty quick. ⁠⠀

⁠“This guy hates cats”⁠⠀

⁠“This woman doesn’t recycle”⁠⠀

⁠“He’s not tall enough”⁠⠀

⁠“Their first message was ‘Hey’ - that means they’re boring”⁠⠀

We live in a world where we have the opportunity to “unmatch” or delete somebody if they don’t fulfil our criteria, with almost no consequences to ourselves. Saturated choice makes it enticing to keep swiping – we tell ourselves there MUST be a decent one out there somewhere, and the excitement of something NEW is more appealing than working on what is already there.⁠⠀

The reality is, people have flaws. I'm yet to meet a perfect person. ⁠⠀

Part of finding a positive and meaningful relationship isn’t finding the perfect person, but rather accepting that people aren’t perfect. Nobody can tick all the boxes. Everyone makes mistakes. ⁠⠀

What happens when we have unlimited choice online is that it’s more appealing to try and find “perfection” rather than accepting people aren’t perfect. This can lead to endless scrolling and excessively high standards. ⁠⠀

So instead of asking “why isn’t there anyone suitable?” instead ask “Can I work on this? Is there potential?”. ⁠⠀

We’d rather delete or block someone who we disagreed with, than to work on it. ⁠⠀

⁠Remember, it’s okay not to agree on everything. ⁠⠀

⁠It’s okay for someone not to tick every box. ⁠⠀

⁠It’s okay to be less rigid about your criteria. People aren’t perfect. ⁠⠀

⁠In any relationship, there will be disagreements and difficulties along the way. If we avoid and ignore them, relationships might be hard for us in the long term. If we’re open to communicating about differences, there is the opportunity for growth.

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If you liked this piece or found it helpful, head over to the Head First Instagram page or give the Head First Podcast a listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.