I’m App it

I was invited by an organisation to speak about my experiences with marriage apps; my perceptions as to why more and more Muslim women are using them as well as my own on again/off again relationship with them.  I thought I would share a few of the discussions points here and invite you to discuss your own reasons for choosing apps as well as your own relationship with them.

Ultimately we each have our own reasons for why we choose the app life don’t we?  I don’t think there’s a one size fits all answer.

In my opinion though, the Muslim world has created an unhealthy situation with regards to relationships.  In this context, there’s the likes of gender segregation; conservative behaviours at play which mean that Muslim men and women don’t interact naturally with each other.

How many of you at university/college/school knew that it wouldn’t be seen as right if you were talking to a man?  I was never told not to but I certainly knew I shouldn’t because there was an implicit understanding growing up that ‘girls and boys don’t talk’.  As a result, we haven’t formed natural spaces for people to meet.  There’s a tendency for Muslim men and women in the same space to often veer away from each other because of the dynamics we’ve each been brought up with.  Apps have created this space to meet that don’t exist freely in our communities and social settings.

I’ve heard from women who choose apps because they feel they’ve ‘outgrown’ the men in their home towns.  I know in Glasgow, a lot of Muslim women feel that many Muslim men haven’t quite caught up with regards to the cultural mentality when compared to men in London for example.  Apps therefore allow women to widen their circle if that’s how they feel.

For me, there’s something about a numbers game – almost psychological and logical.  The more people I can meet, the more likely I am to find someone to connect with.  I suppose that’s why I use them.

I would hazard a guess that apps are comfortable for many Muslim women particularly when there haven’t been many rishta/dating experiences.  You’re not immediately meeting someone and forced into a coffee with them.  There’s a bit of traction in getting to know a man, from app messages to moving onto a whatsapp conversation to then moving onto a call.

I think there’s a bit of autonomy as well that Muslim women are craving that apps give.  We are choosing a life we want; if a profile is quite clear on something we don’t want then we can make a choice and not engage.

Whilst the apps have usually provided brilliant blog fodder, app relationships tend to be shortlived for me.  I do still dabble in them though (the numbers game, right?).  I’m acutely aware however when it’s time for me to leave the app world and take a break.  Perhaps it might help anyone else on the hamster wheel of muzmatch/minder etc to assess their own feelings surrounding them.

Me and My Apps

Apps can be a kicker to my self esteem!

My photo is the first thing that presented on an app.  I could have the most brilliant profile; be the wittiest, adventurous and most intelligent person.  It doesn’t matter  though because science tells me that my picture will be the main factor on whether I get swiped. That can be quite hard to swallow and it becomes difficult not to fall into the trap of objectifying myself!  As soon as that starts to happen, I exit the apps.  I’m not going to critique the way I look because someone is taking half a second to decide on who I am based on a photo.

Personalising rejections is also a bit of a slippery slope for me.  In real life, I meet one person, get to know them for a while and somewhere along the way a decision is made on continuing the relationship.  If it doesn’t, it can often hurt but I move forward from it and start again.  Multiply that by five a week when you’re on apps.  I have had mass rejections, ghostings, breadcrumbing, blocked (for no reasons given), unanswered messages and that can really feel awful.  I often have to remind myself that they’ve not taken the time to get to know me.  A one message exchange gives very little insights into me as a person.

Whilst taking care of my mental health is one of the main reasons why I choose to come off apps, I have another reason.  My own behaviours on it……I ain’t so innocent either.  When I feel jaded, I go into apps with a half arse attitude.  I do the same annoying things that men do to me.  I can take days to reply to a message or I match with someone then don’t bother engaging with them.  My realisation of this has been quite recent.  Until I am willing to give time and energy to these types of interactions, I need to stay away from the app race.

It’s definitely easier taking a break than sending across an apology.


6 Replies to “I’m App it”

  1. Hi,

    I love this post faiza… You’ve hit the nail on the head for me…
    The problem with apps is you don’t know how genuine these people are, and I came across one person just recently who I spoke to for 2 months and even met once and then I decided to get my parents involved just “to do the right thing” and also to make sure I wasn’t keeping a conversation going that will create an attachment. Therefore I wanted my parents to do the necessary investigations, get a character reference etc. Before we took it any further… but everything went downhill after that and his half truths were revealed…
    I am now deflated and feel dejected… I feel as if the confidence and selfcare that I had achieved over the years has been shattered. Almost a sense of betrayal because there felt like hope (he said all the right things and I got sucked in quickly). I guess I fell for him quickly because it was the first conversation in years that went further than a week.
    The other thing is, In my experience, a lot of these men don’t know how to keep the conversation clean and very quickly progress to asking things like what bra size are you!!! 🙈😳
    What I have realised is that as a community, we have put so many restrictions on ourselves… if it’s not age, it’s height or weight that becomes an issue and then there’s also the ulterior motives like visa cases…
    I take a sabbatical frequently but then fall back into the trap out of frustration and then the vicious cycle continues…

    1. Gosh, so sorry anon for my delayed reply to you! Argh so sorry to hear about your experience and feeling so deflated after it all. It’s so tiring when you take time to work on yourself and then have a negative experience like that. I take my hat off though that you got your family involved early as it’s clear their opinion and help is something you really value. It seems they were able to push a few matters with him to reveal the half truths. I’ve never had a bra size question but had plenty of other awful questions as you may or may not have read in this blog lol. If you’re like me and have been on the apps for a while then you’ll no doubt know the signs now for ‘dodginess’ – late night messages and attempts for late night calls. I like how you said sabattical – usually I take fits of rage and delete it only to come back tail between my legs lol xx

  2. I had some of the same frustrations with apps (and I’m someone who always got a like back / they never made me objectify myself)
    Regardless of having the options and numbers they’re frustrating in so many ways but I always hung on to hope because a few of my friends got married from muzmatch.
    It also doesn’t help when you match with and meet a few awesome guys who turn out to be liars or sexual assaulters
    I eventually met my husband from an app and I’m not happier than ever so I’m all for the persist and never give up attitude but regular breaks are so necessary. It’s like you said, you don’t do yourself or anyone you speak to any justice if you’re using them constantly not in the right head space

    1. Thanks for your comment and love that you met someone through the apps – it can sometimes feel mythical if we don’t know of anyone that it’s worked for. I’m curious to know how long you were on it for and what factors were involved in always getting a like back (is it what I believe it to be – tall/pretty/slim). I appreciate my last question is an awkward one to answer but you’re anon so hopefully it means you can answer it openly without being judged for the answer x

  3. Think reasons for why we join apps is spot on – we don’t have any places or ways to meet so apps let us find men. We don’t goto bars, clubs for the most part so how exactly are we supposed to meet men. There aren’t any places that feel comfortable to socialise with them in that way…..it’s never been part of our culture so feels so alien and that IS SO FRUSTRATING. Then you have apps which are another level of frustrating. It’s mentally exhausting so from my pov, it’s best to limit the number of people you look at a day otherwise it gets a bit desensitizing xx

    1. I hear you anon. Limiting numbers is a good tip as it does all get a bit montonous. I wonder what actions we can take to normalise meeting men/women for the next generation so it doesnt feel so clumsy or clunky like it is right now….?

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