Gone are the days when the only way to meet a partner was to be set up by friends or to meet at work. Now we have a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of potential dates at our fingertips with dating apps that make finding a partner feel more like a strange video game. Now that we have all this choice, what effect is that having on our mental health?
Dating apps start off as a fun place full of possibility, but they also subject users to pretty constant rejection. Sure, there are plenty of people who swipe right, but there are also so many more who judge you based on your photographs and a short profile and decide to reject you – ouch. Inappropriate messages, waiting for replies and ghosting are just a few reasons that experts have noticed that the levels of anxiety to be higher in people who use dating apps.
Ruin future relationships
Although they might seem as though they are just fun, dating apps can actually have more long-lasting effects on real-life relationships. Dating apps can be a little addictive and will make users feel as though the grass is always greener on the other side, and so they will always be chasing the next date. This will stop users ever wanting to work on any real-world relationships to allow them to become something good. Users of dating apps will always feel as though they could be missing out on something better and this is not a healthy way to form relationships.
Being rejected will not only affect your depression but also your self-esteem. Even if you are not affected by the rejection, many failed dates are also going to knock your confidence and make you feel as though there is something wrong with you.
How to mitigate the effects
These adverse effects do not mean that dating apps are inherently bad and you need to delete them immediately. There are some ways that you can combat the negative emotional and psychological effects that come with overusing dating apps.
Give yourself boundaries
The first thing to do is to give yourself set times to check the apps so that you don’t find yourself continually scrolling through these apps, especially at low times. Make sure you only use the apps when you are in a mentally good place to avoid making yourself feel worse.
Be in the moment
When it comes to real-life dates, whether they are people you have met on the apps or otherwise, make sure you are in the moment. Practice mindfulness and try to put your energy into enjoying your date, rather than thinking about the swiping practice that you are missing out on! Even if you don’t find your soulmate, you are likely to make much healthier relationships and enjoy yourself more.
Remember that your worth should not be tied to how other people interact with you on a dating app. You are worth so much more than a swipe left or right and you will find someone who appreciates you.