Seeking Her Approval

“When do you want to meet up for a drink?” That was the penultimate question I’d pose to all of my Tinder matches. If I didn’t receive a response within an hour of asking, I virtually cut them loose, concluding that they “weren’t worth my time”.

This pattern defined my dating life for the better half of a decade. After graduating from college, I moved to the “big city” to start my career. I was wide-eyed, full of ambition, but also scared. I had never lived on my own — outside of an academic environment — and didn’t know what to expect from the “real world”. Despite my fears, I was excited to start a new chapter, to join a new community that went beyond college students; but, for whatever reason, I was most excited to start dating. 

Having never dated before, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew what I really wanted. My desires were so strong that they became my # 1 priority to date for the sole purpose of physical gratification.

Pursuing online dating led me down a path that would become all-consuming. I thought that I was leveraging technology to simply cut through the awkwardness of dating, but I was lying to myself. What I really wanted was to protect myself from rejection by quickly assessing whether or not someone found me attractive enough to engage physically.

That’s all I wanted, and that’s all it became. 

Every woman I connected with digitally was one more woman I fantasized about. I objectified her and justified my actions as nothing more than “what single men do”. With every woman I met, I felt more guilt and shame. My view of a healthy relationship with women became more and more distorted.

Every woman I connected with digitally was one more woman I fantasized about.

This pattern continued as I moved from city to city. But, as time progressed, so did my desire to change. I wanted to turn from my addiction once and for all. But soon, despite my best efforts, I returned to my destructive habits. I was back on Tinder, back on the websites, looking for what, I really didn’t know. Slowly, through a deep journey of introspection and reflection, I discovered that the reason I was behaving this way was because I was seeking acceptance and value from women. I sought pleasure and temporal satisfaction I found through them because I didn’t think anything else would satisfy. 

I have finally come to realize that the worth and value I crave will never come from such relationships. I tried to defeat the feelings of worthlessness by being valued by everyone and everything except the only one in whom my genuine worth and value can be found: the Creator.

With the help of friends, I am growing in my discovery of my true worth and that of others. Accountability is what is freeing me from my destructive habits. In fact, that is what inspired me to create an app to help others overcome their addictions.

Photo Credit Kevin Gibbs

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