After a negative experience with social media, Insight guest Jillian Bichara is sceptical of online dating's ability to foster genuine love.
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14 Feb - 12:39 PM  UPDATED 14 Feb - 11:05 PM

 Jillian Bichara, a guest on Insight’s Singles show, is sceptical about how healthy online dating is for people. An ex-partner of hers used social media to cheat with numerous women and Jillian’s own experiences have lead her to believe that swiping left or right while looking for love will only lead to heartache. She shares her thoughts here.

 

I come from a background where cultural pressures and expectations for women are driven by patriarchal ideologies; enforced by parents who were raised to believe that females should marry young, raise a family and care for their husbands. The male was considered the breadwinner, while women tended to become reliant on male support, creating a culture of dependency and minimal opportunity. Often both parties in the relationship are not always content as these ideologies are imposed.  Therefore, they seek to find fulfilment outside of their marriages or relationships that are often destructive for both parties.

Perceptions are different from reality living in a toxic relationship for over 8 years. It has left me with many beautiful memories, however finding out my partner was cheating with multiple women has left me seeking answers. It has inadvertently impacted my well-being, self-esteem and reinforced my beliefs that we don’t need to be part of a relationship to find fulfilment, success and happiness.  

The impact of social media has had far reaching consequences for many singles. A lot of social media applications have provided people with a variety of mediums to meet new people. Many singles are driven daily online searching for the right one. Social media in some ways can be a good platform to meet people and form networks, with many individuals experiencing successful outcomes, formulating new friendships, relationships and even marriage.

On the flip side, it can have adverse effects on people’s lives. People more often than not are vulnerable, searching for years to meet someone who will be their potential life partner. Instead, they a caught in a vicious cycle of deceit, cheating and promiscuity. Personalities are changed and new ones formed are forever changed by the devastation to their lives from people who surf these online applications preying on the vulnerable and innocent. 

As humans we fool ourselves to believe that casual chatting and flirtatious messaging will not impact our real life relationships and emotions. When in actual fact this so-called innocent form of communication aims to fill a void, alleviate boredom and eventually become habitual and addictive. This modern way of communicating begins introducing cracks into our own relationships and marriages, furthering the exacerbation of any pre-existing problems in the person’s relationship. We build a falsified electronic relationship placing the person on a pedestal while at the same time exaggerating our partner’s flaws.

Accessibility to numerous online applications can also be disappointing for people who do want to find a partner. As habitual beings some will continue to indulge in online media as it provides us with an outlet to express ourselves without condemnation from people in our personal lives. Often people reside in this fake world where we fill the void in our actual life. 

As humans we fool ourselves to believe that casual chatting and flirtatious messaging will not impact our real life relationships and emotions. 

I am currently single and at a stage in my life where I thought I would be married with children. However, due to my life journey, my viewpoints have changed dramatically. Seeking internal happiness and building a supportive and satisfying network of people, I have come to realise you don’t need to be part of a relationship to be happy.  Living a single life has led me to feel content and intrinsically satisfied and fulfilled by my work, family and friends. I have broadened my experiences, built a rewarding and satisfying career. I have reached out to the community and am actively involved in volunteering with homelessness and people at risk.

I have found others who have experienced painful relationships and breakups and have become sceptical of relationships. However, I’ve become the opposite: I have become more passionate and driven to encourage others to move on and refocus their energies on occupations that a meaningful, valued and fulfilling to them.

As I work in a health related profession, I find nothing more satisfying than changing lives and meeting the needs of others. An integral part of my happiness is about giving people hope, minimising barriers, rehabilitation and advocacy. I have found that at the age of 38 there is nothing more satisfying than waking up in the morning with drive that I am serving a purpose in this life and making a change for the better. At the end of the day whether I am or not in a relationship I am completely satisfied with my accomplishments.  My life now has meaning purpose and direction.   

 

Jillian Bichara is a guest on this week's episode of Insight, which asks why being single is on the rise in Australia. Catch up online now:

Further reading
What are singles doing on Valentine's Day?
"I actually see Valentine's Day as a day to be thankful for the ones I love and don't view it as a day just reserved for couples."
How do you ensure past relationships don’t sabotage new ones?
Break-ups can leave psychological scars but working through them could turn ‘baggage’ into a force for good.
Has online dating encouraged singledom?
As the popularity of online dating has soared, so too has the number of single Australians. Could the two trends be linked?
Singles
Why are more people single? Is it choice or circumstance?