Online Dating, Recovery, and Self-Esteem

The world of online dating has devolved into one simple action: swiping. In new versions of the popular dating app, Tinder, all one has to do to validate their interest in another human being as a potential life partner is swipe. By moving their thumb across the screen of their smart device to the right, an individual signifies their interest in their potential mate. Swipe left, however, and it’s the end of that inquiry. What does the swipe indicate? Physical attraction. Of course, when looking at one’s online dating profile, there is a wealth of information. For example, multiple photos, biography, height, weight, interests and hobbies.

Online Dating, Recovery, and Self-Esteem

Some dating applications only allow access to such information after both parties have swiped in the positive direction mutually. Many have argued that this platform for dating has simplified the common bore of ‘real’ dating. Others have warned that the practice is shallow and sabotaging to feelings of self-esteem.

Online Dating, Recovery, and Self-Esteem

Dating in recovery, especially early recovery, is a sensitive subject- and it is entirely subjective. Some feel the ability to completely disconnect their recovery from dating. Others are too swept up in the emotional processing of recovery to be able to authentically connect with another. Many counselors, therapists, and treatment professionals advise against dating within the first year of recovery. Dating, sexual activity, and intimacy can cause both positive and negative emotions.

The feel-good feelings of dating can be a distraction, or even act as an addiction-swap, for people in early recovery from drugs and alcohol. Hormones like adrenaline, serotonin and oxytocin are released in dating interactions. Addiction in the brain relies on the production of pleasure, thus overly positive sensations can be triggering. Pleasure in addiction is often a byproduct of avoiding pain. Dating, relationships, and romance can often result in pain. Without the emotional armory that is slowly developed through the recovery process, one is vulnerable to being extra hurt.

Problematically, the only resource they have for dealing with pain is drinking and using. A simple breakup or perceived rejection could dangerously lead to a relapse. Self-esteem is fragile during the early recovery months. Patients often protest, asking “What is the harm in dating?” Their treatment providers will quickly rebutt with, “What is the harm in not dating?”. Online dating is not proven to increase self-worth. Focusing on the self and recovery is of utmost importance for laying the foundation to live a long, sober life.

 

Aurora Recovery Centers is dedicated to helping you become the most fulfilled and authentic version of yourself you have ever known. There is life after drug and alcohol addiction. Call us today for more information on our treatment programs for men and women 1844-515-STOP.

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