The Secret Lives of Virtual Dating Assistants: Required Reading for Dating App Users
Ghosting, flaking, callous rejection and copy pasta opening message: these are the most common complaints my relationship coaching clients make about dating apps. As if the platform of a dating apps with their convenient, addictive, variable reward ratio schedule systems didn't already have enough features to encouraging distasteful behavior, journalist Chloe Rose Stuart-Ulin just published her expose as her time working as a Virtual Dating Assistant for ViDA, a company that outsources the selection, communication and even date arranging aspects of online dating for $495 to $1,695 a month.
If you are invested in forming a meaningful romantic partnership and you have considered dating apps, read the article through this link before getting your hopes up: https://qz.com/1247382/online-dating-is-so-awful-that-people-are-paying-virtual-dating-assistants-to-impersonate-them/
Given that we know that the virtual dating assistants are out there, potentially messaging with us and shaping the landscape of dating apps with profit driven practices, what can we do to increase our ability to make meaningful connections?
Look out for the practices listed in the article's Online Seduction Manual.
This article outlines the bluntly formulaic responses the virtual dating assistants used, so take note! Even if are not messaging with online dating assistants, ask yourself if you are tolerating callous behavior in people you date online because you have been conditioned to be attracted to alpha males. Are you dumbing down your personality to increase your number of matches? This is a choice, and you do not have to tolerate unpleasant behavior just because it feels common on dating apps.
Give yourself time and energy boundaries for online dating.
ViDa, the virtual dating assistant company appeals to people who lack time and stamina to sift through rejections and flakes. You might also be busy and not have the money or moral compass to allow you to hire a virtual dating assistant, so give yourself allotted short periods of time throughout the day and the week to use your dating apps. Don't give into the "numbers game" strategy of trying to secure a tidal wave of yeses to sift through unless you truly enjoy having a lot of one on one meetings with strangers (hey, I'm an extrovert, but chances are you could do without boring, awkward dates). Set a timer to check your profile for 20 mins each morning or evening when you have energy. Don't use dating apps when you are feeling desperate or in a bad mood, unless you want to attract people seeking desperation and despair!
Create an enjoyable life that doesn't revolve around validation or anticipation of dates with strangers
Here's where I can't give sound, informed advice and hide my sex positivity bias. Honestly, I would rather see my high sex drive clients safely paying sex workers instead of shelling out money on expensive first dates and treatments to improve their physical appearance. Let's be real: bad dates and fledgling meditation practices can be pretty boring, but the latter can help us cultivate an inner strength that increases our intuition about people, our self love and our self knowledge. Connecting with sex positive communities, and events such as cuddle parties, are also ways to fill the needs we have for affection and connection without having to set up dates.
Give yourself Opportunities to Date Offline
But everyone's one their phone not making eye contact these days! People are increasingly sensitive about sexual harassment...how can I date offline in today's app-driven climate? I hear you! The increased use of dating apps has taken some people out of the spontaneous flirting in public and private spaces game, but MANY people are rebelling against this and getting a lot of fun sex and long term relationships from it! As a relationship coach, I'm pretty biased about the effectiveness of 1:1 relationship coaching, but shifting your habits can be effective too. Attending Meetup.com-like events and workshops where there is a structured introduction and activity component can ease the stress of meeting people at events. Preparing and practicing how to invite people to flirt with you in a welcoming, respectful way is also key (for example: inviting people you meet at a bar to join you for a drink, but giving them a moment to think about it, or prefacing an invitation with "I hope you don't find this inappropriate, but I find you very attractive and would like to get to know you better. Can we arrange to connect again?").
Remember, all the dating apps are profit driven, and will lose your membership fees or eyeballs on paid advertising once you meet people who fulfill your need for connection. Unless you desire meeting new people for 1:1 dates for the rest of your life, your relationship goals don't match up with their business goals. You can find ways to hack the system, but don't expect it to be easy or intuitive.