Loneliness is Taking a Toll on Mental Health
As a Dr. of marriage and family therapy, I often hear people tell me they are lonely. If you are feeling this way, you are not alone. Dating in 2023 requires you to get online and swipe to find the next potential relationship. The problem many people are finding is that only some on dating sites are looking for relationships but just hookups. Dating apps are frustrating many people to the point that they may delete the app and not try to find the perfect one. It is also causing many people to feel more alone and fear not being able to find a partner to share life with.
Studies have shown that online dating affects many people’s mental health (Travers, 2021). Travers, 2021 discusses an increase in anxiety, depression, and self-esteem that has been reported to be related to online dating. Many people have reported that online dating has not had positive results and would prefer in-person dating instead of finding a relationship online (Travers, 2021).
Is Dating Supposed to Feel Like Work?
Many people feel that dating websites are time-consuming and feel more like work than fun, and dating should not feel that way. Often people equate online dating to a part-time job, with swiping and messaging to find a connection can become exhausting and stressful, leaving people frustrated (Sharabi, 2023). Many connections do not lead to a relationship, conversations fade, or worse. People want to send nudes on day one, which people looking for meaningful relationships are not interested in (Sharabi, 2023). Other people may feel rejected when a connection does not respond to them or are ghosted when they think the connection is going somewhere, leading to higher rates of low self-esteem. Sarabi, 2023 suggests that many connections do not make it into meeting in person, which can create frustration, disappointment, and burnout, causing people to shut down the app, ultimately leading to more feelings of loneliness.
The thought of rejection often makes people think twice before swiping. Having conversations, winks, or right swipes allow for opportunities to start a connection. However, the more you swipe, is potential for rejections. Instead of thinking about what would make this person a good partner, online dating people often ask themselves, “Why should I date this person” (Collisson, 2022). Collision, 2022 reports that rejection is more likely to occur when people are given too many opportunities for connections.
When people take their connection from online to in-person and make it to the next level and the first few dates go well, questions often occur, such as:
- Will this connection become a relationship?
- Are they being honest with me?
- Are they seeing other people also?
- Are they, or will they continue to use the dating site?
- When do I know this is a commitment?
- Should I still look for other prospects?
People’s Reaction to Online Dating
If you are frustrated with online dating, you are not alone Collisson, 2022 conveys that many people have mixed feelings related to online dating, according to the 2019 American Trends Panel. Studies have shown that 47% of single people believe dating is harder today than it was ten years ago (Collisson, 2022). Those looking for meaningful connections feel online dating is impersonal and report that many users need to be more authentic. The lack of honesty creates higher levels of annoyance as people feel the need to do their research on someone to ensure they are not misrepresenting themselves online.
Relationships Can Come out of Online Dating
Creating a space to shift your mindset can be helpful when dating online. You control your dating and can decide how to make it work for you instead of how it does not work. According to Cantor 2021 making choices about your online dating can empower you if you shift your mindset, leading to better online dating experiences. Here are a few tips that can help you create a better experience and take control of your online experience.
- Take your time with connections; message those you are interested in.
- Don’t let the app suck you in. Remember, your connection is about quality, not quantity. If you do not see someone you are interested in, do not waste time scrolling or talking to someone you are not interested in.
- Refrain from wasting your time meeting someone you are not interested in.
- If you have an uneasy feeling that something is not right, trust your gut.
- If you feel like you are putting in all the effort and do not like that, imagine what the long-term relationship would be like if there was no effort online.
- Remember, you are worth it, and the right person will be there; it might take time.
- Set your boundaries and stick to them. You are in control of your boat.
Castor, C, 2021, The Online Dating World Is a Mess. Here’s what you need to know, Psychology Today
Collisson, B, 2022, The Mindset That Could Doom Your Dating Life. The more people we evaluate, the more we reject, Psychology Today
Sharabi, L, 2023, The Hidden Cost of Dating App Burnout, How to recognize and prevent dating app burnout, Psychology Today
Travers, M, 2021 Why the Future of Online Dating Is “Anti-Superficial” New research suggest that online dating is changing. Here’s how. Psychology Today