Dating apps have become extremely popular among many young adults, especially after the pandemic, when physical interaction with humans was not easy.
With dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, Gleeden and QuackQuack, the expanse of the proverbial playground has taken on new dimensions in cyberspace. These platforms exponentially increase the potential for connections and rejections, the latter of which negatively impact self-esteem and increase anxiety. Making sure you’re aware of the potential pitfalls of dating apps — and that you’re in the right mental space to start sweeping — can help ensure that the search for love doesn’t affect your mental health as well.
In addition, their hectic lives limit meeting new people too much for many. In such situations, people turn to dating apps in hopes of finding a romantic partner, whether it’s for a long-term relationship, a casual date, or even hookups.
Since so many people on the app may have different expectations, it often becomes difficult to maintain a healthy boundary for yourself.
Sybil Shiddell, Country Manager India for Gleeden, says: “the basis of dating apps is to put the real you out there for people to choose from and that in itself can lead to certain psychological disorders. Swiping right and left becomes almost like a game and people get addicted to getting validation from being swiped. This is unintentional but has a lasting effect as people tend to become more vulnerable and anxious. Plus, things like ghosting only make things worse. Each of these in some way leads people to become more self-aware.
Dating apps have widened the playing field, dramatically increasing the prospect of more hookups and rejections, the latter of which often negatively impact people’s mental health. According to research from QuackQuack, a dating app, 41% of people who don’t get a match within the first week of signing up for the app often feel discouraged.
About 34% of daters over 30 reported feeling anxious and distressed. This usually stems from pressure to respond to each game or trying too hard to find one. It makes you wonder if the fault lies with the dating apps party or the societal pressure to find the one Where settle after a certain age. With certain preconceptions so deeply embedded in our system, over 29% of users expressed an intense fear of rejection when searching for matches.
QuackQuack further said that the biggest problem is people’s inability to speak freely about or acknowledge mental health issues. Users revealed that they found solace in close friends, around 34% of Tier 2 cities could never solve their problems due to the taboo around mental health.
Here are 3 common ways dating apps negatively impact mental health:
1. Cause stress and anxiety
Sometimes less is more when it comes to dating. With applications, you have a wide range of potential candidates who may end up overwhelming you rather than intrigue you. You may feel compelled to respond to every game or visit the site every day. It has been reported that users of dating apps face three times more stress than non-users.
2. Poor body image
Online dating is often associated with poor body image and body dysmorphia. Without that personal connection on a first impression, many view dating apps as putting your best face forward and believe that matches are only made on the basis of physical attraction. This leads to self-judgment and comparison with others. A 2016 study found that Tinder users reported lower levels of self-esteem, particularly focused on dissatisfaction with their physical appearance and shame with their body image.
3. Lowered self-esteem
In essence, any dating app is doomed to set you up for rejection. It is not possible to match every user. While dismissal has always happened, the World Wide Web allows for a much greater volume of potential dismissals and has even created phenomena like “ghosting”. Some users may have destructive thoughts and take every mismatch very personally.
As people spend more and more time online looking for love, they also become more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. For dating apps in particular, the simple fact that you rate other people’s profiles can impact self-esteem and confidence, and make users feel objectified. In one study, users of a dating app said they were less satisfied with their appearance and body type than non-users, apparently internalizing what they perceived to be ratings of themselves.
Numerous studies have linked long periods of internet use, including time spent on dating apps, to negative mental health outcomes. Engaging positively with the world outside of your phone is key to balancing your outlook and sense of yourself.