Are dating apps linked to mental health issues?

There seem to be new dating apps popping up daily to cater for every need, whim, fetish and sexual orientation. Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, Match, Zoosk, Elite… the list goes on and on and it is easy to get lost in a sea of apps and profiles.  There is no doubt that online dating is addictive.  The urge to look at your phone when a new alert comes through is hard to ignore.

The truth is however that dating apps can be bad for your mental and physical health.  The merry go round of swiping left or right, messaging, being rejected and starting again is an endless one. The average time people spend on these apps is in excess of 8.5 hours a week!  Just think how that time could be better spent – meeting friends, doing something active, join a club, start dancing, join a choir – a day a week is a long time to spend doing something that is likely to go nowhere not to mention the repetitive strain injuries from swiping left and very occasionally right!

Online dating apps are based on appearance and that pressure to fit the perfect mould is enormous.  The focus is on how we look never mind who we are. The endless promise of possibly meeting Mr or Mrs Right keeps us looking and when we are rejected, keeps us going back for more. We are searching for validation – Are we loveable? Are we fit enough? Are we young enough? Occasionally we get the dopamine hit we are looking for and someone messages us back.  Ah finally, maybe this is the one but …. No… a few messages and they disappear into the ether lured away by another profile that is brighter, younger, better looking or so they think.

The truth is that online dating actually keeps people single for longer. Breadcrumbing is a modern term for stringing someone along. It is the nature of the game, and it is a game, that he or she may be talking to 3 or 4 people, or possibly more, at the same time and throwing crumbs to keep you interested but with no intention of actually taking it any further.  It’s a numbers game with the game player hoping the dice will eventually land on a double six and then they will stop.  But do they?  Addicts will find going cold turkey impossible. Take it slowly, reduce the time spent or you will inevitably end up going round in circles and never feeling content and happy with who you are or who you are with.

Online communication is non emotional – connect in real life with either Pi Society’s Matchmaking or Social events and you might find someone who you would have swiped left and never known what you were missing!

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