3 Psychological Effects of Online Dating

Many people meet their significant other through “traditional” dating methods. These include meeting at a bar or connecting through mutual friends. These “extra” activities, however, have hit-and-miss potential. One may want to know a bit more about a prospective partner before dedicating time getting to know them. For some people, this results in turning to online dating and dating apps. 

Some individuals are fortunate and do meet their future long term partner through these platforms. Looking at online news shows quickly the process isn’t without its pitfalls, however. 

Scientific studies show the highs and lows of online dating could lead one to experience negative psychological effects. 

These include:

  • low self-esteem
  • body image issues
  • dating burnout

The marathon of online dating can take its toll on an individual’s mental health in unexpected ways. 

Body Image Issues

Connecting through online dating can be exciting. It’s a new adventure that can bring about significant pleasure. The process can also lead to considerable feelings of rejection, some research finds. A study done in 2016 found both men and women who used the popular dating app Tinder had lower levels of satisfaction with the body and face. It was found that people who were actively involved with Tinder monitored their bodies more and internalized societal expectations of beauty at a greater level. This group also reported more dissatisfaction with ideas of physical image. 

Researchers said that, as a result of the way the app works, people using Tinder often begin to feel disposable and depersonalized in social interactions. Tinder users rate each other’s profiles by swiping right to approve and left to disapprove. Users only have a few words of self-description and photos of the user to judge when making initial decisions.  Both men and women using the app reported feeling less satisfied with their bodies than those who didn’t.

Low Self-Esteem while Dating Online

With a plethora of profiles to choose from, swiping endlessly in an app like Tinder can be easy to do. This can lead singles to feel overwhelmed and result in one not making a choice to meet anyone at all, experts say. An individual’s brain can experience cognitive overload and decide to quit the game before even starting. 

It’s also true that digital apps and online platforms can set users up for experiencing what feels like a much higher level of rejection than normal. When one visits the bar, an individual may have the opportunity to approach one or two people in a single evening. With digital interactions, however, an individual is able to attempt to connect with an innumerable number of people in one sitting. When scores of messages go unanswered, the same feelings of rejection can surface but in much greater numbers. 

There are numerous reasons why someone may not respond. This can lead to lower self-esteem, however, said Keely Kolmes, a psychologist from California speaking with Time.com. 
A study done at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2018 showed that people who use picture-based dating apps particularly, like hi and Tinder, can experience lower self-esteem and feel depressed.

Dating Burnout with Online Dating and Dating Apps

Dating online and through apps can also lead to burnout faster, some research shows. According to the Singles Reports, a Nevada-based data analytics company, a high percentage of people who are dating report the psychological effects of online dating can take an emotional toll

A study done by the group in 2022 found almost four out of five adults aged 18-54 experienced some level of dating burnout or emotional fatigue when searching for a quality partner online. Men were more likely than women to have these negative experiences and daters aged 25-34 reported the greatest degree of burnout.

Matchmaking as a Positive Alternative

Hiring a professional matchmaker is one of many alternatives to online dating. Singles can potentially avoid the negative feelings brought by online dating and dating apps by working with a trained professional matchmaker. With matchmaking, an individual can also potentially have a better chance at meeting quality individuals and enjoying the dating process. 

Matchmakers carefully select matches that have been researched and approved by humans, not algorithms. Singles can join a matchmaking service at various levels and choose their ideal approach. Tawkify does the vetting and initial scheduling. This takes the pressure and stress away from planning a first date. Contact Tawkify to discuss matchmaking options and to learn more about the process.

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