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The Art of Online Dating and the Con of Love

As they say, Love is blind. But in this day and age of the internet and Social Media, Love is not just blind but has turned into a game of darkness. In a short span of time, several dating apps have mushroomed and taken over the social media space in India, spanning cities, towns and even remote villages. 

Overnight, profiles are generated and circulated with ‘hot’ stars and ‘likes’, and the game of love, as some apps call it, begins. 

It is not all that difficult to figure out which of these apps and sites are looking to make money off you. However, if you do manage to resist and avoid the cons by not falling for the free membership trap, the ‘players’ on these apps will lure you in. We met several ‘targets’ that fell for the trap and some even had to seek relationship counselling after being cheated on. Here’s a look at the case studies:

 Let me woo you

 42-year-old Anita (name changed) has been a school teacher for over 12 years. She hails from Dehradun but moved to Mumbai after her arranged marriage. It fell apart in 5 years. Divorced and with a three-year-old son, Anita was left alone to fend for herself. Her widowed mother relocated to Mumbai to help her raise the child.

Recommended by a friend, Anita decided to give a dating app a shot. She uploaded her profile, a few pictures of herself and her social status – A single mother looking for a partner. In a week, she was flooded with friend requests from all over the country. 

After sifting through profiles that had common interests, she clicked on one, Shashank. He was 44, a banker and came from the same town as Anita. That got them talking, and soon Anita developed a fondness for Shashank. Each morning they wished each other, spoke about their hometown and shared fond memories of their childhood. After 3 weeks, Anita was comfortable enough to step out and meet Shashank for their first date. 

 He was a perfect gentleman all through the evening. He held the door for her, ordered the best wine in the house and engaged her in conversation. Anita felt happy. She thought she had finally found the perfect guy. The evening was fantastic, recalls Anita. “He paid the bill without even looking at it. He just slipped his credit card in the bill folder without breaking eye contact with me.”

 “It made me feel that he cared for me,” shared Anita. As the night progressed, Anita was in high spirits. She had not felt this good in years. So when Shashank invited her over to his place, she did not hesitate. 

The next day, Anita spent the entire day waiting for Shashank to respond to her messages. He finally replied around 7 pm, with a curt “was busy” text. He asked her to meet him for dinner at his place. Anita got dressed and joined him for dinner. This sequence of events continued for the next few weeks. Shashank’s replies to Anita’s messages were reduced drastically. He was always busy, and the only time he had for Anita was in his bedroom.

“The bubble burst when I saw a picture of him with a woman and two children on his phone,” said Anita. 

“When I confronted him, he didn’t even deny it. I was shattered.” Shashank was married and had two children, who lived in Delhi, while he worked in Mumbai.

Anita reported his profile on the app, and soon he was removed from the site. However, she spotted his profile on another dating app a week later. She is yet to heal from the heartbreak, and has deleted her profile and the apps from her phone. Anita is undergoing anxiety counselling online.

Suggested safeguards

>> It is always important to talk to someone if you are confused about a new person or relationship in your life. Seek an appointment with an intimacy coach to discuss your issues.

>> Be patient and do not become intimate with or too close to a person quickly. Give it some time and evaluate your situation carefully, especially if you have just stepped out of a relationship.

>> Anxiety and depression are real issues and require therapy. Do not brush it under the carpet. Do seek out a relationship counsellor and discuss your issues either offline or in online sessions.

 …To be Continued…

By YN Rajeshwar

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