Psychological Impact of Online Dating

Technology advancement has transformed how people live, work, and associate. Technology is replacing traditional ways of doing things, including dating. Increased smartphone use, internet access, and social media applications have created an online community where individuals can meet and interact, leading to a long-time relationship or marriage. Although online dating has eased how people start romantic relationships, the platform is highly criticized for its adverse impact on people’s mental well-being.

Online dating hurts-self esteem

Online dating apps allow users to select potential suitors and unmatch those they deem incompatible. A match ignites excitement, curiosity, pride, and other positive feelings. However, when a match unmatches a user, it erodes a person’s self-esteem; the positive emotions turn into remorse, sorrow, and unworthiness. Online dating lowers users’ self-esteem when they do not attract as many people as they thought or match with individuals they consider less attractive. It makes a person feel less important, beautiful, or handsome. These emotions undermine the psychological well-being of a person.

Social media and online communities are “wild” places where people do not observe moral values, ethical standards, or common courtesy. Individuals exchange insults online or bully those they dislike or want to hurt. Dating app users are susceptible to vulgar language, demeaning comments, or outright insults. For example, when a male user notices a female user is not interested, he might insult the woman for rejecting him. Such comments have a negative psychological impact, especially on people pursuing external validation on online dating apps. In traditional dating, a person may reserve comments or observations that may be offensive to the other party. However, online dating has no filters, making people vulnerable to cyberbullying, body shaming, and insults.

Endless swiping is overwhelming

Excessive technology use affects users’ mental well-being, and the same applies to endless swiping on online dating apps. Research shows that dating app users are prone to depression, anxiety, and stress. The practice of swiping right and left while evaluating profiles, appearances, and hobbies overwhelms the brain unless done in moderation which many people do not. Multiple individuals have even reported headaches after an endless session of swiping right and left. Furthermore, prolonged smartphone use on dating apps disrupts sleeping patterns, resulting in mental health problems. Other psychological effects of dating apps include memory loss, reduced cognitive skills, and inability to think clearly.

Another online dating component that undermines people’s mental health is the ghosting phenomenon. Ghosting refers to a situation where an individual cuts communication or ceases to respond to messages. It is standard behavior in online dating, and unfortunately, it negatively impacts people’s mental health, especially when one felt close to the other party. Certain dating app users sign up on the platform to boost their ego by showing interest in someone then disappearing without notice. Ghosting is also associated with a lack of emotional comfort and connection. The ghosted individual may feel depressed, wondering what made the other party not want to talk anymore. They might ask themselves questions like; what did I do wrong? What did they dislike about me?

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