Online dating and dating apps play a big role in the modern dating world, but many are beginning to wonder about the psychological effects and mental health impacts of this style of dating.
Are dating apps bad? No, dating apps themselves aren’t inherently bad. In fact, plenty of people have had positive experiences and have even found ever-lasting love using them. However, they can have a negative impact on your mental health if you’re not aware of some of the consequences.
So, are dating apps bad for mental health, then? It depends.
You see, online dating is much different than meeting someone in person. It certainly has its perks—you have access to hundreds of profiles, can chat with multiple matches at once, and can even find a potential partner without leaving the comfort of your couch!
Online dating does have its drawbacks, though. For starters, having so many options can be a bit overwhelming, and with that comes its fair share of rejection. Not to mention, people often behave differently online than in person. They tend to be more brazen, as if the anonymity of the internet permits them to be rude or say cruel things. And let’s not forget how easy it is to spend hours at a time swiping in search of a match. Spending all that time in a stressful, sometimes hostile environment is sure to do a number on your mental health.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to ditch dating apps. Instead, it’s better to understand the impacts of online dating on your mental health, so you can monitor your situation and maintain a healthy relationship with your apps (and the people on them!)
Dating Apps and Mental Health
So, how do dating apps and mental health relate? Well, many people wonder if dating apps are bad for mental health, and the truth is, yes, they can have a negative impact on certain aspects of your life if you’re not careful. The following are just a few ways that they may interfere with your well–being:
Let’s face it; your physical appearance is pretty much your first impression when it comes to dating apps, which means all your other amazing traits and qualities may go unnoticed. So when you get rejected, it can feel like a major blow to your self-confidence. Even if your looks weren’t the reason you were rejected, it can easily stir up low self-esteem, encourage negative self-talk, and cause a poor body image.
Speaking of rejection, between all the swiping left and ghosting, online dating is teeming with it. Even those with the most self-confidence aren’t entirely immune to the pain of repeated rejection.
Having a lot of choices seems like a good thing, that is, until you have too many. Think about it this way; choosing between two eligible matches seems fun, but selecting from 100 matches can feel daunting and overwhelming. Suddenly, this simple task of perusing profiles can seem like a major challenge where the odds are against you. And all those decisions can make you feel crippled with indecisiveness.
Online dating sure comes with its highs and lows, and with that comes excitement and disappointment. For example, maybe you were really excited about someone only to find out they didn’t swipe right on you. Or perhaps you had high hopes about one match, but they left you on read three weeks ago. When you’re talking to so many people at once, disappointments here and there can slowly begin to add up.
Unfortunately, the online dating world doesn’t have any safeguards in place to protect your heart, which means disappointment is simply part and parcel of it.
Online dating is meant to make it easier for you to find a partner, but in some ways, dating apps can add more stress to your dating life. We’ve already discussed the downfalls of having so many potential options, but there’s also the added stress of engaging with and responding to each person. Now, pair that with the pressure of finding a suitable match in the first place, and it’s no wonder you’re feeling like a wound-up ball of anxiety!
Tips for Supporting Your Mental Health While Dating
With a better understanding of some potential impacts of online dating on your mental health, let’s discuss some ways to help protect your well-being.
Instill Time Limits
With so many dating apps right at your fingertips, it’s easy to lose track of time and spend hours swiping away. But take a step back and think about what that’s doing to your mental state. If you’re experiencing any of the negative impacts listed above, like low self-esteem or stress, then you’re exposing yourself to too many hours of it at a time.
To avoid that, give yourself a special time limit dedicated to using the apps. For instance, maybe you’ll allow yourself 20 minutes to search for matches in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening to respond to your messages. This gives you some breathing room and an opportunity to recalibrate between your online sessions.
A big part of protecting yourself from some of the negative consequences of online dating involves setting boundaries. For you, this could mean allowing yourself to cut off communication with individuals who are making you feel bad about yourself. For someone else, it might mean only logging on only when you’re in a positive mindset. By putting up parameters, you can help control the situation.
Consider Dating App Alternatives
Apps aren’t the end all and be all of dating. Look into other avenues, such as matchmaking, where you can avoid some of the stress and negativity associated with online dating. When you go the matchmaking route with Tawkify, a professional matchmaker does a lot of the heavy lifting for you as they carefully research and select quality individuals who align with your preferences. They’ll even do the vetting and initial date scheduling, so you don’t have to put so much time and energy into finding your own matches.
Take a Break
Dating fatigue is real, and if you feel like your mental state is taking a hit, give yourself space to unplug. Remember, you want to put your best foot forward when looking for a match, and that won’t be the case if you’re not feeling like your normal self. Put away the apps for a few days or weeks, and use that time to recharge and practice self-love.
Dating is supposed to be fun and exciting, but if it’s making you feel less than your best, then it’s time to take a step back and focus on your mental health.