Am I Damaged Because I Play Tinder Like a Video Game?

May 14 at 8am

I may have an Tinder problem. Seriously, it’s become like a video game I play. It’s getting to be a little weird. I’ve probably been out on over 25 dates in 2014, and hooked up in one way or another with almost all of them. It’s becoming a fetish in and of itself. I don’t even think about serious relationships anymore. I just want to score more and more points, and by that I mean get naked with more and more women. These are people I’d never even have considered at the end of my last real relationship. The real problem is that it’s not just one-nighters, I’m kinda leading a lot of people on with like mini relationships. I’m suddenly all quantity over quality, and I just don’t feel like stopping. Am I broken or just having a real long rebound?

Sincerely,

Possibly Broken and Having a Blast

You had me confused about whether you were bragging or asking a question until the end, and with a sign-off like that I’m still not completely convinced that you’re not just boasting, but let’s just assume you have a problem that you need advice for.

It sounds like you’re concerned with your behavior, and I think you should be, PBHB. There’s a compulsive edge to it that is not likely to bring you to a happy place. I think the rule is that if you’re unable to control your conduct, you’ve got a problem. So here’s what I propose: try a Tinder purge. Take the app off your phone, (no need to close your account) and don’t use it for as long as you can; seven to ten days is a good start. Notice your urges pressing at you and commit to redirecting your energy to something else. In your break from lady-collecting investigate what’s driving you, and reroute your sexual and romantic energies into whatever you can. It’s possible nothing much will happen, but more likely that you will learn the answer to the question you’ve asked me. Spoiler alert: I think you’ll find that you’re beyond rebounding and caught up in a rut.

Unlike Tetris, you’re dealing with real people who have hearts, and messing with them is a weak move, my friend. It sounds like you’re creating the illusion that you’re available for intimacy just to get your ego (and other bits) stroked.

One of the many problems with social media is that it’s super addictive. There’s this feeling that we’re connecting to people, and in a way we are, but it’s pretty one-dimensional. Because it’s not emotionally taxing in the same way meeting people IRL is, we can find ourselves both more connected and less intimate at the same time. It can be like playing blackjack and wanting the dealer to keep on hitting you so that you get that elusive high of winning. But getting likes/stars/right swipes from how you present yourself online isn’t a satisfying feeling for long. Neither is living life without people really knowing you, only what you choose to show them, especially if it’s not especially genuine.

Dating is not a video game. Unlike Tetris, you’re dealing with real people who have hearts, and messing with them is a weak move, my friend. There’s nothing wrong with wanting casual sex or mini relationships, but it’s terrible to lead people on to get those things. It sounds like you’re creating the illusion that you’re available for intimacy just to get your ego (and other bits) stroked. Now don’t get me wrong, I think sex is the bees knees and should not be underrated by advice columnists or friends and family. I want you to have as much of it as you can, but to do it right. So here’s the second part of my advice: be upfront. Be honest with the women you’re hooking up with, but also with yourself about how long you can go through life without emotional intimacy. It’s easy to like yourself when you keep on seeing yourself through the eyes of strangers who are falling for you, but it’s not real. Or rather, it’s real, but only in the most limited of ways. If you want a glorified glory hole I’m not here to judge, but you’ve got to tell your partners what you’re available for and get their consent first.

The Mission’s resident advisor gets booked months in advance by San Franciscans seeking help with everything from figuring out their love lives to communicating with their pets. So we asked Jessica if she’d come on board to do a weekly advice column, Truth Talk, for The Bold Italic. If you have a burning question for Truth Talk with Jessica Lanyadoo, you can post your question anonymously here or email her at truthtalkwithjessica@gmail.com, and check back on Wednesdays to see if she has an answer for you.

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