Exploring the space between fear and desire
Dating apps make us prone to believe that life has to be that continual thrill. Tinder, Bumble and any Cupid-like app enable a tremendous number of connections to happen. They make it possible to have anyone interested in us. We can create and exist in an alternative world. A world in which we can display our personalities in an infinite variety of spectrums. Nevertheless, the possibility to connect with so many human beings can make us prone to “match hunger”.
What makes flirting so addicting?
Our brain is addicted to the “highs”. Any sort of sugar-like thing releasing dopamine in our brain, making us feeling validated, entertain us. In fact, flirting corresponds to that constant navigation between fear and desire. When we interact with strangers, our amygdala, brain part responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response, gets activated because it perceives a potential threat. Moreover, as we are getting more comfortable, this apprehension is slowly translated into desire. This game of power is made of navigating through our own hyper-vigilance, as well as the one of our object of desire. That is why we must acknowledge how fear and desire are beautifully entwined. It opens a dimension of risks that is very exciting to our human nature.
Humans are definitely attention-seeker creatures. While it is normal to appreciate attention, dating apps can really be a trigger for adults having attention-seeking behavior. Receiving attention makes us feel important, it can give a another meaning to our existence. Especially for those of us crumbling under the pain of boredom. Or even for those who grown up with overworking parents for example. We are made of pain receptors to make sure that our needs are met. So, as we need to eat and drink, we have an enormous need for connection that can be displayed through attention seeking. This intense impulse for connection makes us adopt alternative connecting behaviour. And so, because some of us feel stifled in our attempts to make lasting connections, we unconsciously turn towards a maximum of potential “dopamine-release like” interactions. That may explain why you are addicted to flirting online.
Instead of chasing highs, get to knows your shadows
No matter how it ended with someone we used to talk to or connected with, their absence leaves an undeniable void. And depending on how much it lasted, this void can be very difficult or annoying to bear. The easiest solution would be to look for another match to fill the void.
Nevertheless, this urge could be the occasion for you to put the light on your shadow. Maybe, if you constantly need to flirt it might be because you are suffering from deep wounds. Such as trauma, loneliness, or even (emotional) abandonment. If you are struggling with sitting with pain, don’t worry…
I see you!
Practicable action you can begin with is first to notice patterns. When do you particularly feel the need to interact with another human? Is it during boring hours of the day or is it at night? After exhausting days filled with a lot of work, I would often feel the aching need to distract myself with flirting at night. Also ask yourself: “Am I oversharing?”, “Am I distant?”. If yes, there might be a core wound you need to work on. Consulting a therapist and trying to be more vulnerable about it could provide you with the support you need.
When you find yourself wanting to give in to the urge, try to do something that makes you feel alive. Watching an absorbing movie or starting a new exciting project could be a smart way to distract yourself at first. Then little by little, you can get to sit with your shadow and see what is really happening behind.
Doing shadow work is actually an amazing opportunity to meet the depth of your soul. When you venture into your unknown self you observe your own persona through a place of truth. There is often a lot of shame and guilt carried around our shadow as it is generally associated with our worst self. Maybe if you pause a minute, you can reach out to your authentic self, and put a finger on this addiction to flirting. Shadow work is laborious, and so requires braveness, and a lot of patience. But good things take time.
Another beautiful gate can be opened in resisting: reconnecting with the ‘meaningful’. How many times were you so caught up in distracting yourself that forgot about what you truly desire? When you find the strength to connect to what is meaningful for you, you remember who you truly are and what truly matters for you. When you are holding space for yourself, your vibrations arise, you are aligned and your heart can expand. After a lost connection, I would invest into poetry, and any sort of project that would make me feel alive.
Chasing only deepens the void. Instead, make a friend out of it.