Online dating can be fun and convenient. As long as you have a few good pics up, you can “meet guys” looking like a complete bum from the comfort of your home. As exciting as the prospects may be, failed attempts and dating horror stories wear on you and turn you off to remaining cyber-available. If you find yourself going back and forth between feeling pumped about searching for guys and being fed up with the dating scene and deleting the apps entirely, you’re guilty of a trend called “vappcillating.”
What exactly does this term even mean?
Someone who vacillates is indecisive, changes their mind, and basically goes back and forth. Apply this to the dating scene, specifically using dating apps, and there you go. One day you’re hot and ready for the picking (or swiping), the next you’re cold and shutting your profile down. Give it a few days and bam, you’re lonely, curious, and profile is reactivated.
Why would someone do this?
Dating is hard! And dating apps are populated with the sketchy, creepy, and insincere guys. There are only so many toxic dating behaviors, red flags, ghosting, catfishing, and personality disorder encountering a girl can tolerate before she’s fed up and done. Deleting the app altogether is a quick-fix and it gives you a sense of empowerment and instant relief to be able to digitally walk away from the hot mess that online dating can be. But, if you’re still single, you’re obviously going to be tempted to come back when you realize you still want to find someone.
Oops, this is me. Am I wrong?
Absolutely not. No one is obligated to even have an online dating profile. Date (or not) whenever and however you’re comfortable. Some people try their luck on multiple apps at one time. Some prefer paid apps while others just stick with free ones. If it gets overwhelming, takes over your life in any way, or you no longer feel safe, by all means, take a break. It’s completely your choice and your responsibility to do what’s best for you.
Are there any consequences of this action?
I mean, it’s not like the dating police are going to issue a fine or anything. I will say for me when I see the same guys have new profiles on dating apps it makes me feel weird about them, but obviously, I didn’t match them the first time around anyway. The only other thing I can think of is some apps, such as Bumble, are a little stricter with their verification and may block your account if you appear suspicious.
Is there an alternative?
Some apps are easier to manage than others. For ones like Plenty of Fish (POF) where messaging goes both ways, you may need to turn notifications off while your inbox continues to get flooded. Apps like Bumble, where the female initiates contact, you can just unmatch everyone and not accept new matches until you’re ready. Guys can’t contact you first so you can give yourself distance without having to abort the entire application from your device.
How do I know if I’m for sure done?
I mean, unless you end up in a successful relationship you never know if the move to step away from the apps is permanent or not. My suggestion would be to just limit usage or see if the app you use allows a pause, snooze, or hidden profile option. That way, you can temporarily suspend your active profile status without having to delete your entire account and start from scratch if you change your mind. If you’re able to just leave the app alone and give yourself a break, you can see if you’re really over it or not. If you find yourself going weeks and months with no interest in picking it back up, that should be a sign that dating isn’t a priority to you or you’re having better luck with more natural in-person encounters. Giving it some time is less than impulsive than emotionally reacting every time a date ends sour or your heart is broken by a lame guy.
What are the benefits of this habit?
I would say in general it’s not good to start and stop things. Also, if dating is consuming your life on a major level it may be a sign that you’re overdue for a personal inventory. You may need to be honest with yourself about needing to work on you instead of fixating on serial dating. It’s never the wrong time to focus on self-improvement and learn how to enjoy being alone.
Where can I get support to break this cycle?
Like I said before if dating is taking your life over in this way, you need to find other things to do. Companionship is nice, but it should never be your sole purpose in life. Guys aren’t everything and you could have just as much fun going out alone or with friends and family. Make a vision board and plan some goals for yourself. Personal growth and overall well-being should always come first.
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