Are Dating Apps Damaging Our Mental Health?
What is the relationship between online dating and mental health? On the face of it, a dating site for singles seems a fantastic way to meet potential partners. Individuals can choose from a variety of websites, and if one particular web resource isn't working, you can swiftly move on. Sites or apps can be accessed 24/7, allowing you to connect with a diverse range of people. Although this all seems like a win-win scenario, the truth is more complicated. Could dating apps have a detrimental effect on our mental health?
What if there are no matches?
It's one thing to have an incredible array of potential partners to choose from across a range of applications. But the downside is, with so many candidates at your beck and call it can only make any disappointment more acute. When you fail to connect with someone worthwhile this can lead to despondency. Surrounded by site users who seem to have no problem starting relationships, finding yourself in the position where you appear to be the virtual equivalent of ‘left on the shelf' can be particularly demeaning.
Too much choice can often seem to be even worse than not having enough. The superficiality of connecting in an online environment can lead to individuals failing to commit. While you might be enjoying your time with a particular individual in the short-term, there will always be a temptation to find a spare 10 minutes to browse through the profiles again - just to make sure there isn't anyone who might be an improvement. This leads to uncertainty, as your relationships consistently fail to get off the ground.
How accurate is this connection?
There is one thing to be said for the more traditional dating outlets of bars, nightclubs or any other social settings, and that is that you have a far better opportunity to gauge someone's character traits. Online, you're confronted with the reality that people can often obscure aspects. Some users do this because the Internet presents the opportunity to distort the truth. This allows them to present a version of themselves they feel will be more appealing than if they were to be 100% accurate.
There are even greater problems which could have a detrimental effect on mental health. ‘Catfish' are individuals who operate under false personae. Whether through a sense of mischief or outright maliciousness, they enjoy toying with someone's affections. There are also those who try to get other site users to divulge personal details, such as bank passwords. If you happen to fall victim to one of these Internet frauds it can be extremely demeaning, affecting confidence and self-esteem. These can even trigger periods of depression.
In the offline world, honesty is usually regarded as the default position when it comes to communicating within a partnership. But the online environment is more conducive with people being less upfront. This can lead to all sorts of behavior which can have a negative effect on wellbeing.
If you are relatively new to online dating, you'll have to become familiar with a raft of jargon for anti-social individuals. Submarining? That's when someone appears to be extremely keen one moment, only to inexplicably vanish from your radar. Just when you were getting over the experience, they surface again as if they've never been away! There are many other instances of conduct which can affect confidence and, ultimately, mental health.
Dating apps certainly have their positives in terms of choice and convenience. But they have also introduced new aspects of social behavior which must be taken into consideration.