Is the “swipe culture” on dating apps bad for our mental health?
In the fast-paced world we live in today, we face many daily pressures and online dating can be a welcome escape from normality. Dating apps have become a part of everyday life for many of us.
Dating apps have taken the world by storm, with one in four of us now finding love online, but has the trend of swiping right or left to like or reject potential matches, contributed to many people’s unhappiness and low self-esteem?
Many people seek a new relationship because they’ve been single for a while or because they’ve recently come out of a long term relationship. They turn to online dating apps to try and find love online, due to the ease of use and the huge choice that users have when searching for someone new. You can meet someone quickly and can meet someone who meets your specific requirements.
However, more choice is not always a good thing and it can cause confusion and be overwhelming. Online dating has led to folk having less patience and people are quick to move onto the “next best thing”.
Incessant swiping and continuous small-talk can soon fizzle out and can leave people feeling dejected. It can also lead to users developing anxiety, becoming more guarded and can even lead to users becoming more lonely, despite the huge choice of people on dating apps.
“I’ve worked with singles who are online dating where their self-esteem has taken a hit. They wonder what is wrong with them, and they’ve developed a ‘guard’ because they’ve been hurt so many times” – Anita Chlipala, a licensed therapist and dating expert.
The swipe culture and the huge choice we have has led to dating becoming more “disposable” where its easy to move onto the next person without giving the first person you speak to a chance. One way to avoid this is to give each girl or guy that you date a fair chance and to also have only one dating app on your phone.
It can be difficult for some users to distinguish between those using online dating as a way of passing time, those using it as an ego-boost, those looking for fun and those who actually are looking for something serious.
Dating apps can lead to body confidence problems too, especially for younger people, because you are continually aware of your competition. It’s easy for many people to fall in love with someone’s photos. This can lead to huge disappointment when you meet someone face-to-face and they’re not exactly what you had in mind – and vice versa.
Trent Petrie, professor of psychology at the University of North Texas and co-author of the research, says: “With a focus on appearance and social comparisons, individuals can become overly sensitised to how they look and appear to others and ultimately begin to believe that they fall short of what is expected of them in terms of appearance and attractiveness.”
“We would expect them to report higher levels of distress, such as sadness and depression, and feel more pressures to be attractive and thin.”
A study in 2016 concluded that Tinder users were found to have lower self-esteem and more body image issues than non-users. Petrie says, “When we as human beings are represented simply by what we look like, we start to look at ourselves in a very similar way: as an object to be evaluated“.
It’s very easy to become addicted, burn yourself out and develop anxiety problems. The key is to go online in moderation, not to have more than one one dating app on your phone, not to build up your hopes too much, plus, to try and give people a fair chance. If you can do all of this, it can lead to you finding happiness.
To learn more about anxiety and to help you understand the condition better, you can read this article by clicking here.