Dating Apps + Mental Health: Loneliness, Self-Esteem, Rejection, Depression, Frustration, Ghosting & Social Anxiety: Why Tinder Is Bad For Guys, Why Bumble Is Bad For Women
I am a big proponent of online dating when done correctly. As a tool, it’s a great way to meet others outside your routine. Dating apps should be treated like introduction apps rather than ordering apps as the intent is to take things offline and discover if chemistry exists beyond the limited screen.
Single parents, busy professionals, those who are new to a city etc. can benefit when time is limited, routines and ability to go out all the time is scarce or when looking to meet others one normally would not meet due to constraints of friends, social circles, neighborhoods and more.
With that said, dating apps require patience, self-awareness, sincere effort, ability to read people as well as thick skin because it can be an emotional rollercoaster from deciphering likes to reading intentions to being ghosted and more. Dating app frustration exists for many users. Below are some ways to mitigate online dating frustration and help set expectations.
Can Online Dating Cause Anxiety? Likes & Matches Mean Nothing On Dating Apps
People get way too excited over a like or a match in a dating app. There is no reason not to be optimistic but too often, people read into likes and matches too much only to feel sad and hurt when nothing comes from those initial and superficial indicators of interest. A like or a match is the very first step in expressing interest in someone.
It doesn’t mean you find them hot, doesn’t mean you want to sleep with them, doesn’t mean they think you are relationship material and it certainly does not mean they want to meet in person or talk to you. All it means is that the moved their finger 2 inches to the right when your profile showed up their screen.
It didn’t mean they read your profile, saw all your photos, or think you are the one for them. It just means there is an interest to learn more about you. Interest and attraction goes beyond just looks. People look at communication, witty banter, similar tastes and lifestyles as well as priorities to see if they would like to meet up in person.
This is why people should not leave profiles empty or answer them with one-word answers – it makes it impossible to get a good read on you. The purpose of dating is to get to know each other and see if there is compatibility. The purpose of liking and matching on dating apps is to see if the other person is interested in meeting up in person (nothing more).
Why Dating Apps Are Bad For Your Mental Health: Too Much Pressure On First Dates
When using dating apps, you should have the same outlook as if you were meeting people offline. Do I like this person? Do I want to see them again? Did we have fun? Trying to figure out if this person is the one is too much pressure to put on a first or second date. Dating is an exploratory interaction, it’s not an interview nor a test.
No, person should be able to exert so much control over your emotions especially early on. If conversations are one-sided, dates are continually postponed or if one person is constantly starting conversations, that might be a sign the other person is not taking things seriously or as interested in you as you are in them.
You should be excited about a first date but also be grounded and mature enough to not assume some basic things about the other person. The person you are dating is likely talking to others, going on other dates. The other person is not sold on you, that is why you are on a date. Dating takes time, patience. Not everyone brings their A-game to dates. Understanding the difference between nervousness and being dishonest, lazy or insincere is key.
Taking Things With A Grain Of Salt, Love At First Sight Is Rare
As with all social media, success stories and experiences can be one-sided, inflated. While its possible people can meet others with days or weeks of signing up on an app, it usually takes much longer than that to meet quality people. A sizeable portion of couples today were not always sold on their partner after one date. It took time, effort and desire to go on more than one date to let the relationship blossom.
Don’t expect the other person to be in love with you after one date. They should be excited and interested in seeing you again. Your approach is not to figure out what the other person feels, wants, it’s to figure out if you want to see the other person again.
A lot of things can come into play and affect one’s mood or feelings during the date i.e. work, stress, family, friends or something else. Don’t dismiss someone who seems off but don’t make excuses for them either. Let them come to you to apologize for things and let them try to make it up to you. Don’t make assumptions about strangers you hardly know but don’t ignore red flags either.
The ability to screen profiles and read people is essential with dating apps and life. If you are too trusting or don’t know how to analyze people, dating will be brutal for you. Dating requires awareness, patience, analytical skills and ability to be vulnerable. Don’t try to act guarded on a date, be yourself otherwise you will give off the vibe that you don’t trust the person with seeing all sides of you, not just the fun, cute and attractive parts.
Online Dating Anxiety: Loneliness & Wrong Reasons To Date
If you are lonely and looking to fill a void through dating, you are going to be absolutely miserable and heart-broken. The purpose of dating is to share your life with someone and grow together. You can’t expect someone to be your love, best friend, mentor, therapist, dating coach, breadwinner and sole support system.
Too often, people look for love right after a traumatic, painful breakup and seek the wrong things i.e. instant gratification or fall for the first person that floods them with compliments. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be sought after but if you are looking for attention you will ultimately get but likely not the genuine, long-lasting love you crave.
Love is a two-way street and requires you to be emotionally and physically available. If you are merely looking to take and not give, you will only attract people who have mastered the art of deception. Google love-bombing.
Fake Profiles On Dating Apps + Hiding Likes, Matches
Not all profiles on apps represent real individuals. Many profiles are created by people looking to scam others, spy on spouses or in some cases, psychologically harass you. There are many jaded people on dating apps and it’s possible you will be on the receiving end of vulgar, crude or dismissive behavior.
Getting likes within the first few days is not uncommon but not all likes are from people you are interested in or are in your age range or geographic radius. It’s important to understand that many apps don’t actively screen all new profiles – some are stricter than others but many rely on user feedback to patrol fake accounts. As such it can take a few days or longer (if that) for new fake accounts to get removed from dating sites.
Dating apps prey on your insecurities by hiding likes, throttling matches and bombarding you with notifications. If you are suffering from depression, loneliness or general lack of confidence, dating apps can be dangerous. Putting your emotional self-worth into an anonymous platform can be brutal to your ego.
Why Tinder Is Bad For Guys, Why Online Dating Is Bad For Guys
Tinder has one of the most lopsided gender ratios of all the dating apps and features one of the most aggressive sets of monetization efforts in all of online dating. Go to r/Tinder on Reddit and you will encounter people trying to get around bans, how to game the system and ways to use pickup lines. The amount of men and volume of aggressiveness drives a lot of quality women away from the app.
Tinder is not a dating app, it’s an introduction app to spend time, meet others but not with the intent of meeting up or dating. There are plenty of profiles marketing social media accounts, subscription followings, sketchy websites and the like. Their tagline is: Tinder | Dating, Make Friends & Meet New People.
Tinder does not require users to mention what they seek like Hinge and Bumble not does it have standard fields like height, profession or other basic biological info. Is it possible to meet someone seeking a relationship on Tinder? Yes, absolutely especially for those outside major cities or want someone who is a little less white collar type i.e. attorneys, lawyers, doctors etc. With that said, the ability to screen profiles, read people, and use good judgment is essential to have a solid chance for success.
Tinder is often people’s first stab at dating apps given the brand recognition, ease of use, relaxed registration requirements and the amount of likes one gets upon registration but don’t let that fool you.
Online Dating Frustration: Why Bumble Is Bad For Women
Bumble at first glance seems like a great advancement in the dating app space by giving women the power to make the first move and control who messages them. One of the biggest complaints women have from dating apps in general is the volume, crudeness and unwanted messages they receive and Bumble seemed to address that by preventing men from messaging women unless the woman messaged them first. Great! Problem solved! Not so much.
A lot of women are not comfortable making the first move on dating apps. It’s not uncommon for a woman to start the conversation with someone simple, basic like Hi, Hey or Heyy. Making the first move is not something many women are used to doing offline, so it’s not a surprise first messages on dating apps can be a bit nerve-racking.
Dating apps require some confidence, vulnerability and ability to put yourself out there for the world in order to have a shot at success. Being a passenger in your dating life is no way to live. Guys on Bumble can just sit by and wait for women to approach them giving them the advantage. They no longer have to come up with creative introductory lines and can collect likes, exert minimal effort and focus on matches they are most interested in.
Many of the women on Bumble are chasing the same, few men on the app and men know this, and love this. It’s why many women opt for The League or Hinge which is a bit more balanced in their approach about first moves, power dynamics.
Bumble Is Depressing: Dating App Burnout, Dating With Anxiety
Every app has its pros and cons but I hear a lot about Bumble when it comes to lack of success. Men complain that they get no to few matches and that women rarely message them first. Women often complain that men don’t reply to their messages or lose focus. In both cases, there are unmet expectations that a match is more than what it is. A match means nothing, it’s merely a bare minimum interest.
For guys, it’s likely self-sabotage through bad photos, writing skills or unrealistic expectations in reducing chances for matches. Get independent advice on your profile from someone who isn’t biased and is a stranger since you are marketing yourself to strangers. Remember, women get other matches and they might be talking to others already or have already focused on someone else. Don’t take this personally.
Ladies, don’t pre-qualify guys too early, quickly. Take the time to get to know them. Some guys volume swipe right for efficiency. Others tend to focus on girls they are more interested in first. Don’t let apps control your self-worth. Use dating apps as a tool to meet others casually not as a validation tool.
Dating Apps Are Not Ordering Apps Like Doordash, They Are Merely Introduction & Discovery Tools
Dating apps are merely introduction apps. They are intended to introduce you to people, and it’s up to you to figure out if chemistry exists, intentions are similar and whether the person is interested in meeting you, dating you and telling the truth. Don’t expect apps to be transparent or a reflection of reality. First impressions are everything – people take bad photos, others hate writing about themselves and a number of folks lack self-awareness, patience and good judgment.
Online Dating Is Exhausting… Online Dating Fatigue
Dating involves work. It shouldn’t be easy. It’s not like ordering a pair of shoes online or finding a new gym. Who you spend your life with is arguably the most important decision in your life so treat it that way.
With that said, most people get frustrated because they lack self-awareness, realistic expectations, ability to screen profiles, ability to read people and a good strategy that encompasses app choice, timing of messages, appearance, wardrobe, smiles, body language, hobbies, interests, education, career, health etc.
Don’t spin your wheels by swiping more, paying for boosts, downloading more apps, sending more messages. Take a break and get help. I have seen way too many people struggle with dating apps for years before they give up or finally realize they need help. Friends can be biased, good photos don’t always help and patience is needed to deal with the ups and downs on dating apps.
Taking A Break From Online Dating, Make Time To Focus On Yourself
Like all things in life, breaks are needed to charge the batteries and reassess things. Breaks should last at least 3 months so one can exercise, eat well, build friendships, develop new hobbies and interests, explore the world around them, update their wardrobe, work on conversation skills, save money, identify good date spots and get new photos, update their profile and start from scratch with a profile reset. Small incremental changes on dating apps doesn’t do much so better to stop completely and come back strong.
Online Dating Awkwardness: Should You Feel Ashamed Of Dating Apps?
Dating apps can be awkward and unfamiliar territory for most. Reading etiquette guides will go a long way to being more comfortable, confident. You shouldn’t feel ashamed but at the same time, you need to have some self-awareness as to not self-sabotage your profiles and use cringy photos and bios.
Is Online Dating Embarrassing? Is Online Dating Considered Desperate?
It can be if you let it. It pays to develop thick skin and learn not to give an F otherwise, you will be riddled with doubt and self-consciousness which is not a good thing. Most people use dating apps these days. There is nothing wrong with it unless you rely on them 100% or put your self-worth into them.
Why Do People Not Reply On Dating Apps?
They can lose interest, change their minds, focus on other dates, found something unflattering about you. Others are merely not ready to date or are on dating apps for the wrong reason. Some may get bored or uninspired by date ideas. Others may get tired of waiting to go on a date while others might feel pressured or creeped out. Everyone is different.
How Do I Stop Being Discouraged By Online Dating?
Don’t put all your self-worth into dating apps. Treat a first date as nothing more than a first date not a tryout for a life partner. Don’t rely on dating apps exclusively (meet others offline too). Plan fun dates. Put in effort. Don’t go out on dates you are not excited about. Rest. Eat well. Exercise. Learn to date yourself first before dating others. Don’t internalize rejection from strangers.
Is There Still A Stigma Around Online Dating? Is Online Dating Socially Acceptable?
Not any more, especially thanks to Covid but some people will never embrace it and belittle those who do use them. These people are miserable and should not be your friend. More people are using dating apps now more than ever. It’s a tool and you would be a fool not to use all the available tools at your disposal to meet others.
Best Dating App For Social Anxiety, Dating App Fatigue
Unfortunately I don’t recommend apps if you have social anxiety. It will likely make things worst. Yes, there are some apps that are less awful than others but all require thick skin, patience, ability to brush things off and move on.
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Further Reading: Dating Advice, Tips, Mental Health, Depression, Stress, Dating App Fatigue
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a dating consultant & professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and beyond as featured in the NYTimes, SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle.
In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, offline techniques for meeting people organically, naturally.
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