Has the increase in options dommed us to fail in love?
What did I do wrong? It felt like we had the perfect chemistry. We'd never spend more than five minutes without texting each other. Every message had a spontaneous emoji. We shared everything. We'd know when the other was about to fall asleep just by reading our texts, and we could tell if the other had had a bad day. We never went on an actual date but we got to know each other really well. Or I least I thought so. He said he wanted to go out with me –I was sure as well–, but everything ended abruptly. Now he has ten voice messages, fifteen WhatsApp notifications, and a couple messages on Facebook. I never heard from him again.
There's a big chance it was all a lie. I'll never know if he was really single. If I was the only one he was flirting with online. If he really wanted to meet me instead of just sharing words and some photographs. Behind a screen we can become whoever we want, even if it's a sham.
The deception many amazing, intelligent, and admirable people face online each day is no coincidence. Having many prospects to talk to in social media and not getting involved something with anyone real isn't a matter of bad luck, but part of the "Tinderella Syndrome." This curious and unknown phenomenon takes its name from the app most single people use to find their perfect partner: Tinder.
This flirting app –launched in 2012 and used by many– is the social tool that has achieved more dates in one month than the kisses one person gives in a lifetime. The dark side of this simple, accessible, and immediate way to match people is precisely the easy way for both parts to find their "perfect partner" through profiles with embellished features and edited pictures.
Flirting with one or many people through social media or apps doesn't guarantee a successful romance. On the contrary, the constant use of these digital tools only shows the fear people have of knowing a person in a real way; therefore. What's more, they prove their fear of commitment by getting their feelings entangled in something that's more than just a gadget. At least that's what Jeny Stallard and Emma Kenny, psychologists and columnists, assure.
How to know if you have the Tinderella Syndrome?
-You're fluent in text writing. You know exactly what to say to make someone fall for you. However, when you're at a meeting or you go out somewhere, you find it difficult to approach a stranger. Direct contact, face to face, stresses and frightens you.
-The interest a person awakes in you easily turns into an obsession (the only thing that matters to you is how long they take to write back). After some days your interest in someone fades away; what used to excite you is now boring. This then pushes you to find a new prospect.
-When you finally agree on setting up a date with one of your Internet prospects, you're burdened with anxiety. Your insecurities start to flourish, and in the end –or most of the time– you cancel the date using any excuse.
-Once you decide to go out with one of them, you find it impossible to perform as you usually would online. You think you don't look as hot as you do on your profile picture. You think you're not as funny as you are in your texts. You're sure they have lost interest in you (even if it's not true).
The Tinderella Syndrome Paradox
The Tinderella Syndrome suggests an interesting, yet worrying paradox. Apps, and technology in general, intend to make everyone's life easier. However, apps like Tinder, instead of being an aid, or a platform to widen our social circles and meet real people, have become the cause of social isolation and undeniable loneliness.
Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards