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The Road Less Swiped: Time to Rewrite Your Dating Profile

April 29, 20235 min read

Swipe culture is in full swing -- and its shallowness, the subject of vehement deplore among the majority of singles according to Pew Research. It's like ruling out most of what's on the menu due to the restaurant's menu photographer -- without ever reading the description of the dish.

With the focus on "primary profile picture" over personality, it's easy for individuals to feel objectified, dismissed, and frustrated. The relentless cycle of swipes can reduce a person's sense of self-worth to their physical appearance, and it's not uncommon to hear of user experiences that mirror the hopelessness of a hamster running endlessly on a wheel, never quite reaching the prize - a meaningful connection.

Why is it that we've ended up here?

The answer is simple: convenience. Swipe culture is a product of a society that increasingly values speed and ease. It's the fast food of dating, instantly gratifying but always leaving us unfulfilled and yearning for more.

And, just like our growing recognition of the impact of fast food on our health, there's an emerging understanding that this superficial approach to dating may be detrimental to our emotional well-being. Fortunately, the solution is within our reach, and it involves going back to basics -- to self expression and communicating our deep human need for connection, understanding, and depth.

The challenge? Painting a picture in words

Making the shift from a superficial approach to a more profound one starts with introspection: understanding and accepting who you are at your core. These details are the foundation of the image you'll paint for potential matches.

What drives you? What are your passions, your values, your dreams?

Are you an adventurer, always seeking the next thrilling experience? Or are you a homebody, finding joy in quiet evenings with a good book?

Next, delve into the landscape of your life. This information isn't just about presenting your lifestyle; it's about compatibility. Someone who cherishes the tranquillity of rural life may struggle to connect with a partner who thrives in an urban jungle.

What does your day-to-day look like? Do you enjoy city life with its buzz and bustle, or are you more at home in the serene countryside?

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, determine what you're seeking in a partner. Be honest and upfront about your desires. It's better to weed out those who don't align with your goals early on than to grapple with mismatched expectations down the line.

Are you looking for a casual relationship, a committed partnership, or a travel buddy?

This approach is far from the instant gratification of swipe culture, but it offers the promise of more fulfilling connections. It encourages users to see beyond the pixels of a profile picture and into the heart of a person. It's a challenge that requires vulnerability and honesty -- and promises rewards that outshine the fleeting adrenaline rush of a swipe-right match.


New research in social science journal PLOS finds that people who do this work are perceived by prospective dates more desirably.

Specifically, more original and creative text and self-disclosure led to higher impression of attractiveness, intelligence, humor, creativity, and likelihood of getting a date! And using metaphors in messaging communication (eg, “Your eyes are shining stars” vs. “You have beautiful eyes”) went further to increase perception of these desirable traits.

This shift in the way we present ourselves online is not the only change in weaning ourselves off fast food; we need to alter how we consume others' information as well.

Discipline yourself

Read what someone says in their profile, absorb the information they share, and perceive your potential match as more than a two-dimensional image.

This approach to online dating might be time-consuming, but remember, good things take time. authintimacy, the kind of relationship we advocate for here at The School For Love, is rarely built on the foundation of a swipe. In the world of instant gratification, we dare to take a different path, one that fosters appreciation for the confluence of authenticity and intimacy.

Online dating, and in the broader scope, our digital lives, should reflect our humanity rather than reduce us to commodities judged by aesthetics alone. Yes, physical attraction is important in romantic relationships, but isn't the sole determinant of whether someone is "date-worthy." Each person behind a profile picture has a unique story, a distinct voice, and a rich tapestry of experiences that are worth exploring.

Authintimacy diagram

Rising above swipe culture

Consciously focusing on authintimacy serves to protect and uplift our mental and emotional health. When we invest time and effort into showcasing our uniqueness and showing genuine interest in others, we protect our self-esteem from the hollow disappointment of unfulfilled swipe-right matches. We also foster a healthier dating environment where people are appreciated for their multi-dimensionality, not just their curated online images.

While the transition from swipe culture to a more thoughtful, reflective approach to online dating may be challenging, it promises a richer, more fulfilling experience. Just as we learn to prefer a well-cooked meal over fast food, we must learn to appreciate the slow burn of a budding relationship over the ephemeral thrill of a swipe-right match.

Imagine a world where we cultivate authintimacy and shared values, not just in our dating but our family and social circles. Though this ideal may feel far-fetched in the current landscape, it's attainable if we challenge the status quo and discipline ourselves to date and relate differently.

Again, swipe culture simply misses the mark on steering us to fulfilling connections we crave. There's a new movement toward communicating deeply, and in doing so, we transform dating from a frustrating space into a platform for connection, mutual understanding, and deeper relationships. As a society, we've grown accustomed to the speed and convenience that technology offers. But when it comes to matters of the heart, it's time to slow down and savor the journey -- even if it means taking the road less swiped.

For those who find the whole process exasperating, the Great Dating Reset is a twelve-week program for Spiritual Singles Over Forty to date with authintimacy instead of nonversation -- guaranteed to produce fantabulous first dates in a supportive, interactive environment. 

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Paul Aaron Travis

Paul’s commitment to making dating joyful, respectful, expansive and consensual comes from extensive training in interpersonal relations — from Nonviolent Communication to the Wheel of Consent, from Landmark Education to Human Awareness International, from Body Electric to ISTA/Tantra. In his early years, Paul cofacilitated the Seattle Men’s Wisdom Council, working with hundreds of men every month. In the years since his divorce, he has dated dozens and dozens and dozens of women – mostly first dates which didn’t yield sufficient chemistry to go further. Yet this practice manifested 3 wonderful, multi-year relationships – helping him create the Authintimacy method he now teaches in The Great Dating Reset and Dating Sherpa.

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Ask The School For Love for Free Advice - Dating Dilemma

Ask The School For Love for Free Advice - Relationship and Romance Rupture