Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Where before, school, tuitions and Shaadi.com is where you'd probably meet new people now with social media, accessibility to everyone around us had increased exponentially. From Whatsapp to Instagram DMs, Twitter and even LinkedIn, connecting with someone has never been easier.
Such omnipresent access has changed the way we do our relationships. Where before, we only knew what our dates chose to reveal to us, now we have the option to profile them ever before we say hii. We've made up our mind even before giving people a chance. But when it comes to relationships on social media, this is not the biggest problem we have.
Enter Ghosting, many of us have had new friends and potential partners suddenly stop communicating with us. We've gone from chatting with someone for hours and days together to suddenly not hearing from them the next moment. Now, a lot of millennials that we see in our therapy sessions, have had at least once instance of being ghosted and regardless of the nature of the relationship, it has left them feeling surprised and anxious.
Then there's what we call Stashing, a recent trend in relationships where your date is happy spending time with you in person but does not introduce you to their inner circle of friends and family. We've had a many female clients express to us how this behaviour often makes them question their relationship, can they really trust the person in front of them and on many occasions has also lead them to self-doubt. Thoughts ranging from "not being good enough" to "feeling too needy" have been common.
In 2016, Tinder reported 7.5 million daily swipes in India, and the highest average number of messages exchanged per match in the world. As of 2020, Tinder statistics tell us on average, a user logs in 4 times a day.
Well if such experiences aren't enough to cause anxiety, there's also what's called Breadcrumbing where your date is only irregularly in touch with you. They will flirt with you, connect with you romantically and then again as things move forward, they disappear. They do return again to continue the conversation, expressing their interest but are never really consistent. And the person on the receiving end is left ever confused of what the relationship even is.
Then there's the latest dating term of 2020, white-clawing. This is when we date someone solely for their looks even though we find them dull otherwise. In fact, clinical social worker Fran Greene in her book outlines that people who indulge in do this to make them feel more attractive. Greene Also adds that often, the person white-clawing try to convince themselves that they are really into their date whereas, that might not be true. And this behaviour has the potential to cause shame and anxiety for both partners, the one doing it and the one on the on the receiving end.
And here's the most common behaviour of all, Orbiting, i.e. staying updated with your ex via social media. These people will go back to check their ex's profiles, stories, updates and more but never reach out to them. This kind of behaviour can again leave the other person confused, even rekindle some hope in them of maybe getting back together. Many of us even take these as positive signs and hold on to that option, hoping they might return.
But what we end up seeing in therapy sessions is the immense anxiety and confusion they cause. Whether we like to admit it or not, the need to connect and belong is hardwired in us as humans. So when we don't understand where we stand in our relationships, it can lead to a lot of stress, apprehension and self doubt. Another cause of why we indulge in these habits is what we know as FOMO i.e. fear of missing out. According to Mumbai based clinical psychologist, Sonali Gupta, millennials today want to leave the door open not realising this can cause tremendous anxiety to the person on receiving end of these habits.
If you're someone who is blaming themselves for not being able to move on or wondering why you've been ghosted, remember that its not your fault. We've all been through these experiences and if they're causing you anxiety, it is always recommended to reach out to a therapist for some help. And yes, therapists do take care of issues like this. We understand in this environment of social media, relationships have been changing as well and so are the causes of our relationship anxiety. So we're here for you, no problem is too big or too small for us to help you.
For any concerns, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org