Online dating is as old as the Internet itself. However, psychologists’ claims about online dating services and dating apps have increased over the past year. In their opinion, these services are now doing more harm than good, and especially they affect your mental health.
But is it true, or is there only online dating success? How to protect yourself and maintain peace of mind while searching for your love on the hookup sites? In this article, we will tell you everything about online dating problems and solutions.
What Do Scientists Say?
In March 2020, BMC Psychology published a study on the impact of Swipe-Based Dating Applications (SBDA) on their users’ mental health. These are the same social media, as they provide people with an environment for interaction. But instead of likes, there are swipes. This study aims to determine whether regular SBDA users experience increased stress and anxiety levels than people who do not use dating apps.
As a result, users of dating applications report increased levels of dating apps depression, anxiety, and distress compared to those who do not use such applications.
And the more and longer a person uses SBDA, the more they become depressed and experience negative effects of dating apps. The problem with SBDAs is that they create a new paradigm of behavior: instant delight on the match and vulnerable position on rejection. Besides, the desire for self-assessment – a kind of social stroking – is the main motivation for those registered on the SBDA. Combined with the emphasis on user images, this dramatically increases the sexual objectification in such apps.
Another group of researchers undertook to assess the relationship between the use of a popular dating application and self-esteem. For example, they found that Tinder was heavily associated with decreased satisfaction with one’s face and body, an increased desire to compare with others, and a greater sense of shame in front of one’s body, particularly among men with lower self-esteem. Another study has found that dating app users are significantly more likely to resort to unhealthy weight control methods (use laxatives, anabolic steroids, induce vomiting) than those who have never signed up for such services.
Why Do People Suffer from Using Dating Apps?
Choosing the virtual world of dating, a person also chooses an artificial move to a perfect life. Dating applications make it possible to create a new perfect “I,” to feel desirable and attractive. But all this is an easy and direct feeding of only one’s ego. It is very easy to get hooked on such virtual satisfaction and get negative effects of dating apps.
Although the emphasis in applications is on appearance (first of all, we pay attention to photos), Internet communication remains impersonal, creating certain difficulties. We do not see the interlocutor, as in a normal conversation, which means we cannot evaluate their reactions and facial expressions. Then we project our idea of them onto a stranger. So, during a live meeting after correspondence, dissonance often arises not only from appearance.
Instead of casual acquaintance and traditional dating, a person gets it thanks to several swipes. In this scenario, this model of behavior, where he or she receives an immediate reward in social relations, begins to apply in other areas of people’s life. It doesn’t always lead to success.
How to Protect your Mental Health while Using Dating Apps?
In 2020, the number of SBDA users had grown significantly. However, the advice on protecting your mental health from the negative effects of dating apps and not getting addicted to dating apps has not changed. Here are the main online dating safety tips:
- Get the support of family and friends – people who know you well. As for online dating, different views will help objectively approach creating a profile in the dating application and focus not on appearance but your interests and preferences.
- The illusion of endless choice is pretty tricky. When you get into the dating app, you see so many people wanting to know each other that the brain begins to experience cognitive overload. Limit your time for using apps and the number of swipes.
- If the communication does not work and seems tense, end the correspondence. At the same time, an honest “sorry, it seems we are not on the way, I wish you luck” is preferable to ignoring and deleting the chat without explaining the reasons. Just imagine: could you turn around and walk away in the middle of a live dialogue?
- Be prepared for rejection, and do not look for the reason in yourself. SBDAs are frustrating, and constant refusals can lead to thoughts, “something is wrong with me.” Go back to number one, get support from loved ones or social anxiety faith sites. Remember, the person you meet online may not know you as well as they do.
- Don’t use the app for fun. If you are not looking for new acquaintances or relationships, it is worth showing respect to other users. Remember, you can experience frustration if you hide the purpose of your SBDA membership.
- Most importantly, know what you want, be honest about your expectations, control them, and don’t be afraid to ask about your potential partner’s expectations. It is simple online dating advice.
Online dating and dating apps are becoming more and more popular. Until a few years ago, many people were ashamed to admit that they met someone on a dating site, but now you can use apps like Tinder without any hesitation.
They are convenient, simple, and help you quickly make the most incredible acquaintances with a few swipes. But there are some negative effects of dating apps, and they may cause several psychological problems for their users. We’ve told you about easy ways to protect yourself. Therefore, be cautious, take care of yourself, and find your love!
Tell us about your experience with dating apps. Have you ever felt dating app anxiety? What was the hardest part for you?
Rebecca Shinn is a freelance writer and dating and relationship expert with a psychology degree. Her field of expertise is relationship, dating, and marriage. The important part of Rebecca’s practice is to help couples with communication skills, problem-solving skills, stress management, or financial skills.
Rebecca started writing 2 years ago to inspire and help people to have a better dating life, healthy relationships, or find a way to keep a marriage strong for long years.
With all said above, Rebecca is proud to be a mother and a wife so she doesn’t only use her knowledge for helping others but keeping her family strong and happy.