Can dating apps affect your mental health? The short answer is yes, dating apps have negative repercussions when you're not using them in a healthy way and lead to so-called dating app anxiety. While these apps can be fun and possibly help you find true love, if you suffer from anxiety or low self-esteem, it's important to know what consequences online dating can have on you and how to take precautions when it comes to your mental health.
A 2016 survey found that online dating app users have lower self-confidence and more body image problems than non-users. The causation of these side effects hasn’t been proven, but the authors of the study believe that these problems are exposed by the evaluating nature of any social media. When we are depicted by our appearance alone, it may prompt us to view ourselves in a similar manner: as something to be evaluated. There are, however, ways to combat these tendencies.
Question Your Anxious Thoughts
Recognize what anxious thoughts creep up on you. Our thoughts, feelings, and behavior influence each other so having anxious thoughts contributes to your physical state, especially in the long run. When you start getting ideas that make you anxious (those annoying ‘what ifs’), see if they are actually valid. Do you have any proof or even a legitimate reason to doubt yourself? In most cases, you don’t.
Keep Real-Life Relationships and Activities
A survey revealed that men should list at least six hobbies on their profile to get the most matches, which is understandable. We become better people when are doing things we love. Building an online dating presence shouldn’t be a priority because allowing dating to take over your life is not healthy. And in general, putting all your eggs in one basket won’t serve you well.
When you are actively involved in your interests and maintain relationships with your friends and family, it ensures that you stay a normal functioning human being, who is capable of keeping a conversation alive. Friends and family serve as a valuable support network, which shouldn’t be over-shined by dating aspirations.
Dedicating some of your time to hobbies and different projects makes you a happier person, and satisfaction with your own life is one of the most attractive qualities in a person. You should be able to discuss topics other than work and the dating scene. Honor those interests and passions and hopefully, you’ll have somebody to share them with.
Know You Are Worthy Without Outside Confirmation
Scrolling through seemingly perfect Instagram-worthy photos forces you to take a double look at your life. In a survey, 60% of people using social media said that it affected their self-esteem. Social media, on the whole, has been associated with the escalation of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism, and poor social skills. But you should know who you truly are without external gratification. Whether or not you get a lot of matches, messages, or dates doesn’t make you any less of a person.
Countless Swiping May Be Overwhelming
Having endless options can do harm. The well-known ‘jam experiment’ revealed that customers were more likely to make a choice when given six jam options, rather than up to thirty. The same concept applies to date apps. You meet so many people that you become indecisive and don’t do anything at all in the end.
People may also falsely associate swiping with a personal connection. It practically creates a feeling of having done something they haven’t really done. You may think that you’ve reached out to a bunch of people, which confuses your brain and suddenly you feel like you have numerous tabs open and you can’t keep up. We suggest several ways to combat that feeling.
Keep Your Apps to a Minimum
It may be intriguing to copy your dating profile across various dating apps to allegedly maximize your likelihood of success. But be reasonable. By managing different apps, you’ll end up having too many notifications to handle. You might feel overwhelmed and drained before you actually begin your search. Pick one or two platforms that suit your end goals, worldview, and interests and put your energy there. You’ll be more inclined to get matches before you feel fatigued.
Know What You Want
Are you looking for a partner for life between hundreds of Russian brides, American brides or European brides? A person to go to dinner with? Friends with benefits? A one-night stand? Know what you want so you can make the most of your online dating. It will save you and your matches a lot of time. It’s common for people to feel embarrassed about their needs. However, that embarrassment will only cause poor communication.
Eliminate People by Knowing Your Deal Breakers
Communicating with dozens of new people with a wide range of personality types and backgrounds is exciting, and it is a huge benefit of online dating. But you should have your own sorting system (i.e. a set list of deal breakers) to enter the online dating world. That ability helps you to navigate in the maze of people.
Matching with an attractive person may sway you into something you don’t want. Decide what characteristics are an absolute must and stick by them. If you continue needlessly talking to people, it will contribute to the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Dating Apps May Put You Up for Rejection
Rejection is a natural part of meeting people, which is applicable for both online or offline dating. But apps have modified the game in a few crucial ways. To start with, the sheer amount of possible rejections is larger than ever. When you come up to a person in a bar, it’s only one person whereas a dating app may expose you to multiple unanswered messages, which all make you feel rejected.
People behave differently online and in real life, and that changed behavior is partly responsible for upsetting actions like ghosting (when a person cuts off all communication with zero warning) and breadcrumbing (when a person has no intention of taking things further, but they like the attention). A study that showed online daters have a tendency to go for people 25% more attractive, which may hurt their possibility for success. Here’s what you can do instead.
Look at Rejection as Progress
Men that can manage rejection have an upper hand in dating. They exercise the skill of not taking things personally and the ability to be internally sound. This means that their self-worth comes from within. If you take something useful from every ‘no’ you hear, then it eventually leads you to yes. An open reply such as ‘not interested’ will save you from a lot of trouble. Don’t get stuck thinking about why and how and move on to greater things.
Realize That Dating Can Be a Numbers Game
If you view dating with the approach that every interaction must unravel in a way that you planned, you’re bound to experience a lot of anxiety. You don’t just get one chance, and you will probably have to meet a lot of people before you find somebody you strike a chord with. According to dating experts, when you go on a date thinking it is simply one of many, you experience less pressure and feel like a weight has been lifted.
The best way to handle anxiety is to face your fears to see that worrying is baseless. In this case, you can desensitize yourself by going on more dates as well as meeting and introducing yourself to more new people. As time goes by, you will get used to it, and it will erase any fears you may have. Every time you need to do it again you can recall how you confronted your anxiety the last time and were okay afterward.
Take Care of Yourself
Behavior patterns go both ways. Swiping through a countless array of faces encourages us to de-personalize people to a certain extent by not considering a person as a whole but based solely on a picture. Do not hurt your soon-to-be matches, and it will also protect your own mental health. Remember to be compassionate and place yourself in other people's shoes. You’d benefit from not using dating apps if you’re not really looking for anyone to date. Project the kind of attention you’d want others to give to you.
Do you want to know more about love in the digital age? Here are some widespread myths about online dating.