Is Online Dating Hard For Men, Women? How To Improve Your Chances For Success With Dating Apps. Depression, Mental Health, Psychological Effects & More

As an online dating photographer and someone who has worked with thousands of clients I am here to say online dating sucks. It is something you will not hear from any other person in my position, but it is true. Why would I say this? Easy. Most people have no clue what they are doing and have no clue why they are experiencing the results they do.

I can bucket the reasons why people are so miserable with dating apps into a few categories.

Self-sabotage of Photos, Profiles and Answers

Most people take awful photos, boring cliche photos, don’t know how to write about themselves nor know how to write good messages. Lots of people copy and paste awful prompts, pickup lines, bios and photos. If you try to play prevent defense on your dating profile, you will end up like the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.

Be bold. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Be yourself. Playing it safe and using vague, generic short answers will make it hard for you to stand out from the competition. Use lesser obvious references to establish stronger connections online.



Not Knowing What They Want

Most people on dating apps do so because of loneliness, busy lifestyles or offline experience with meeting people. I have a tip for you, online dating is no better than offline dating. 

Dating apps are merely introduction apps. You will be introduced to hookups, pen pals, catfishers, spammers, lonely people, creeps and occasional folks looking for dates with relationships as a possibility. 

If someone is vague, generic, uses laundry lists of adjectives or has lazy low effort bios, don’t make excuses for them. Most people are exactly who they describe themselves as online but that doesn’t mean you should take them at their word.

If someone is only asking you to meet at their place for a first date, insists on drinks for a first date, is too aggressive and asks for your number or requests to take conversations off the app quickly, take that as a red flag. People who are too smooth with witty pickup lines, are slow to respond to messages or only respond to messages but never initiate them, proceed with caution.

Patience, questions, difficult situations, time will reveal people’s true colors.

Inability to Screen and Filter People Effectively

If you want a hookup, great, have fun! Live your life. But if you are expecting to turn sex on a first date into a relationship, you will be sorely disappointed. 

Know what you want, what you don’t want and don’t make excuses. Someone who takes excessive selfies is either self-absorbed or narcissistic or doesn’t have friends.

Someone who dresses provocatively, has half naked photos on their dating profile likely needs validation, is insecure or doesn’t want a relationship. There are always exceptions to the rules but with dating apps, you have to make quick decisions based on photos, bios and messages.

Assume nothing, assume everything.

Wrong Dating App Choices

Not everyone is looking for a hookup on Tinder but to assume most people want a monogamous relationship is ridiculous. Cities where CMB, Hinge and Bumble are popular, Tinder is viewed as a hookup app. In more remote places, Tinder is the only choice. 

Similarly, just because someone is on Coffee Meets Bagel, Hinge or Bumble doesn’t mean they want a relationship or date. Don’t take people at their face value (THIS IS NO DIFFERENT From MEETING SOMEONE OFFLINE). 

Lots of people treat dating apps like Uber Eats while you should be treating them like an app like Couchsurfing. The smartest people I know in terms or reading people know how to filter and screen Couchsurfers. For tips on which dating apps you should use, read this post.

Impatience, Too Eager On Dating Apps

If you think you can find the one right away or in a matter of weeks, dating will be rough for you. Just because your taller, slimmer, more attractive friend met someone asap, doesn’t mean you will. Love takes time. You can’t expect to flip the switch and meet someone instantly. Yes, it can happen quickly but it is not the norm.

If you want to prioritize meeting someone of quality, make the effort with time, emotional availability, energy, effort and thoughtfulness.

Dating App User Error

Many people do not know how to use dating apps. They think all apps are the same or all apps are similar to non-dating apps they have used for work, pleasure, productivity etc.

Dating apps main focus is monetization. They will get your hopes up, send you notifications frequently and prey on your vulnerability.

You can meet amazing people on dating apps but you can’t expect them to do all the work for you or have your best interest at heart.

Being Too Picky On Dating Apps

This article title Why Women Need to Date Carpenters Like Men Date Yoga Instructors does an excellent job of highlighting how men are less picky about women when it comes to age, education, height and income.

Similarly, for men being too picky because you feel entitle because of your physique, job title, salary or position doesn’t make up for character and personality. Women these days are far more educated than men and can afford to be more picky than ever before. There is a fine line between preferences and deal-breakers – it’s up to you where you want to draw the line.

Online Dating Reddit Sub-Reddits & Forums

If you look for advice and tips online like forums like Reddit, you will go down very dark, disturbing rabbit holes. r/Tinder is filled with screenshots conversations, r/RedPill will talk about how women are the reason for men’s failures, r/HingeApp will make fun of women’s prompt choices.

There are some good pieces of advice here and there but it is important to understand the type of users who frequent such boards – single boys and men who have struggled to succeed with dating apps.

Dating App Fatigue + Dating Profile Fatigue

If you spend too much time on an app, either you will get frustrated and fatigued or the people seeing your profile will. It helps to update your profile completely (not small incremental changes) or take a break for a bit. Being on a dating app too long is not a good look for most folks.

Dating Apps Are Merely Introduction Apps. You Date Offline. 

Read this post on online dating red flags: https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-red-flags/

Online dating requires effort, knowledge, good judgment, time and good mental health. People too much pressure on first dates to be their everything, be their best friend be their confidant or be their therapist. This is too much to ask of a stranger.

If you are unable or unwilling to meet people organically offline, you will likely not fare better online. You meet online but date offline (flirting, planning dates, dressing up, being thoughtful are all traits that are need offline and online).

Is Online Dating Worth It? Online Dating Success Rate

I outlined some frustrations around dating above, but you may be wondering, is it worth it? The short answer it depends on many factors around you, what you want, what you are willing to compromise, demographics and more. You can’t just show up, create a profile and expect results. Dating takes time, patience, self-awareness and being mentally, socially, emotionally ready and available.

If you self-sabotage your profile with bad photos, profiles, writing skills, don’t expect to be successful. Most people never seek independent, unbiased feedback. It’s like trying out for a sports team without training ahead of time. Can’t just show up and expect to make the team. Sure some people are more gifted than others, but you can’t expect one-off immediate successes to be common.  Just because your hot friend met someone great in one week doesn’t mean you will.

Dating apps are a supplemental way to meet others outside your routine, daily life. Dating apps are merely introduction apps, you date offline. It doesn’t matter what you are in real life if you don’t know how to effectively market yourself online.

Don’t use apps like food order apps – you can’t expedite the process to find love, you still have to date, still have to be patient and still need to learn how to screen people. Bad dates are inevitable, but they help you get closer to what you seek if you know what you want and are willing to put in the work.

Additional Reading

Is Online Dating Worth It?

Alternatives to Online Dating

Negative Effects Of Online Dating Apps

How To Be More Photogenic

How To Improve Your Dating Profile & Bio

About Eddie Hernandez 

Eddie Hernandez is a professional photographer specializing in natural, candid online dating photos. Featured in the 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 and date ideas. https://eddie-hernandez.com/contact/

Dating Profile Critique

For those of you who are remote or virtual dating help and are looking for an online dating profile critique you can read more about my services here.

For other helpful online dating tips check out my blog for more helpful advice: https://eddie-hernandez.com/blog/

Online Dating Frequently Asked Questions (Photos, App Choice, Wardrobe, Messaging, Bios and More): https://eddie-hernandez.com/online-dating-frequently-asked-questions/

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