Can dating apps cause anxiety?

In our post-COVID world, dating apps reign supreme. Long gone are the days of the mere Internet savvy connecting online for romance; instead, it’s everyone swiping one way or another and hoping to meet their dream partner. But dating apps can and do affect mental health. Everything from the inevitable experience of rejection to the constant “judgmental” swiping, dating apps arise anxiety.

One study found that Tinder users, in general, suffer more anxiety than those who don’t use Tinder. In case you don’t know, Tinder is a swipe enabled dating app.

In another study, researchers found low match rates of potential partners, particularly for men. The study also found that approximately 50 percent of matches received no feedback. As a result, dating app users are constantly “disliked or ignored,” contributing to feelings of anxiety and depression. A few weeks ago, I made the decision to stop using dating apps.

None of this is a surprise, honestly.

dating apps anxiety
Dating apps and anxiety

In psychotherapy, where I spent five years working through anxiety and panic disorders and depression, I’ve learned that you actually have a lot of control over what’s going on in your life. Yes, life can bring you unfortunate circumstances that, despite your best efforts, have a negative impact on your well-being. But in general, it’s up to you to fill your life with people, work, and activities that help create a positive, healthy state of mind. Feeling texting anxiety on dating apps is completely normal.

Dating can be super intimidating, and the world of apps can make it seem like there are 10,000 people and zero people out there for you at the same time. This can cause feelings of loneliness and despair. If you’re nervous about dating apps, try putting down your phone and doing something funny IRL. Imagining yourself completely killing it on a first date can also help you avoid stress. At the end of the day, you’re a flawless angel, and dating should be fun.

And with some positive thinking, you can completely swipe left on any dating app that fuels texting anxiety. Also set time limits, both for general daily app usage (particularly swiping) and for longer-term limits that force you to overcome those initial superficial phases. A study from the University of North Texas, found that male Tinder users reported lower self-esteem than those who were not included on the dating app. The short answer is yes, dating apps can have a negative impact on your mental health if you don’t use them in a healthy way, and especially if you’ve struggled with anxiety or depression before.

Imagine going with a total snack on your favorite dating app, but after the excitement settled in, you got a bit nervous because you were actually talking to them. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking and assessed the link between social anxiety, depression, and dating app usage. While these apps are fun, lighthearted, and can even lead you to “one,” it’s important to take precautions if you’re suffering from anxiety or low esteem when it comes to your mental health. Additionally, finding IRL hobbies or doing fun things off your phone can get you a ton of cool conversation starters with potential booing on dating apps.

And the mindscrew didn’t end there, because when people delete dating apps from their phones, their profile doesn’t necessarily disappear in time. Focus on the process, and don’t put your sense of worth into your ability to score a date with every person you message, Cox says. For Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and creator of The Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, the best way to conquer dating app anxiety is to remember that love is not a formula If you’re still afraid of dating apps, even though it might seem a little cheesy, the experts share the power of the positive thinking.

If the app causes you more anxiety or prevents you from doing other things you love, it’s also a sign that your use may not be healthy. We strongly recommend you seek the help of a professional if you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned mental struggles. Asking for help is the best way to help yourself to a better mental state. Apps focus on superficiality rather than what really matters in relationships such as friendship, commitment, and shared values.


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