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Do Online Dating Apps affect our Mental Health?

In the world of digitalization, from grocery shopping to attending college classes, we almost do everything online. Technology has shifted and changed the way each of us finds love. Online dating is a concept that helps individuals in finding and developing romantic, sexual, and personal relationships over the internet. Online dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Grindr provide an opportunity to read their potential partner’s profile. They also can go through their pictures, and based on bio, determine whether you want to match with them. In India, one of the most used dating apps is Tinder. It helps reach people based upon their geographic proximity, and in India, around 4 million individuals have downloaded it. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, tinder downloads rose by 400% in the year 2020 itself. The main question that arises here is whether online dating apps affect our mental health, especially when most users are between the age of 18 and 34.

An individual using online dating apps like Bumble is equally exposed to new connections as well as rejections. These rejections or ghosting at times cause anxiety, low self-confidence, and low self-esteem. Most individuals fear rejection in their lives, especially when dating, as social rejection often negatively affects our physical, emotional, and cognitive health. Once both the potential user’s match, the next step is to message your match and chat ahead. Various studies have shown that around fifty per cent of the “matches” on dating apps do not reply to a message. On numerous occasions, they get unmatched without any reason, which causes feelings of rejection and self-doubt. At times, the first date also becomes disappointing as there might be differences when meeting physically with their online profile. This even creates trust issues, anxiety, and feeling of loneliness.

Have you ever been ghosted on Bumble, Hinge, or even a date with whom you exchanged our Instagram? Well, a survey shows that more than 50% of the individuals have been ghosted at least once in their life. Ghosting implies that your match has disappeared suddenly. They do not respond to your chat or after you have previously chatted or even gone out on a date. In an interview, a tinder user exclaimed how he got conscious of his body and his looks as he hardly got any matches, and he got ghosted after a date. He even mentioned after this incident that he lost his self-confidence and lost interest in dating anyone. Some red flags in online dating are negative self-talk, panic, increased heart rate when you are using the dating app.

Here are some tips which can help you in using the benefits of dating applications without affecting your mental health –

  1. Be firm to your commitment- Once you are firm, honest with yourself and what you want. Ensure you openly communicate what you are looking for so it may be a serious relationship or just a hookup. This improves your connection as well as saves your time and energy.

  2. Try to connect at your pace- If you match with someone and you feel that you have a connection with them, make an effort to talk over a call or meet them. This helps both of you in underrating each other better and get a better sense of compatibility. If you would like to take time and just chat before physically meeting, it is okay to do that.

  3. Limit your usage- We often don’t realize the amount of time; we have spent on dating apps. Go and check the time you have spent today on your tinder account; you would be shocked. Various studies show that the higher time we spend swiping, the more unhappy we are. Hence, instead of searching every hour when you get bored, set a time limit and use the app for only that duration.

  4. Be open-minded- It is essential to be open-minded and understand other individual’s perspectives. Not every individual is good with online communication, and they might take time in opening up.

  5. Understand your emotions before using a dating app- If you are feeling negative emotions or feeling low, it is essential to avoid using the dating app to make you more depressed or sad. When individuals feel happy or are experiencing positive emotions, they become more excited and have a higher level of optimism when using the dating app.

Let us know your experience with online dating.

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