May 7, 2024

Dating Apps and their Impact on Mental Health

By Alex Stewart
Mental Health & Wellbeing

Romantic love has always been championed by society, and in this day and age, the rise of dating apps has only increased its importance. Dating apps and virtual dating have completely changed the way people of multiple generations meet and connect. While these apps and websites may offer a new convenience and accessibility, they also come with their own challenges that can negatively impact a person’s mental health. In this blog, we will dive into the effects of dating apps on mental well-being, explore the challenges often faced by users, and provide coping and self-care strategies to navigate these digital spaces with resilience and authenticity.

The Consequences of Increased Dating Accessibility

Increased Anxiety and Pressure To “Perform”

There are a couple reasons that a person on dating apps or websites can feel increased anxiety. Engaging the happenings of potential romance comes with the unknown and being vulnerable, which often increases anxiety. Users can also become anxious or get overwhelmed by the abundance of options– this can lead to pressure to make quick, impulsive decisions resulting in anxiety. This fear of making the wrong decision about a person or missing out on some that could be a good potential partner can cause increased anxiety and stress levels.

Self-Esteem Issues

Dating apps and websites at the end of the day are social media. When a person opens themselves up to social commentary or consumes more curated media, it can be easy to fall into comparisons. This can cause users to feel like they are lacking something or must change for others, negatively impacting self-esteem and self-confidence.

Rejection Sensitivity

Being on the receiving end of rejection, or being ghosted on dating apps or websites, especially at a higher rate due to accessibility, can trigger feelings of rejection sensitivity (expected or perceived rejection that results in intense feelings), leading to emotional distress and a sense of worthlessness.

Promotion of Addictive or Compulsive Behavior

The increased accessibility and game-like nature of some dating apps, such as engaging in swiping and matching, can increase addictive behavior and compulsive usage. This encouragement of increased engagement can have negative effects on daily life and productivity.

Misrepresentation and Disappointment

Increased rates of usage leads to higher probability of encountering catfishing, as well as mistaken or purposeful misrepresentation which can lead to adopted core beliefs of always being disappointed and hopeless or lacking trust in others.

Common Challenges and Coping Strategies

Setting Boundaries

Developing and communicating clear boundaries with yourself around app usage. This could look like limiting specific app usage or overall screen time  and prioritizing real-life interactions over virtual connection. Having a balanced approach to dating apps by having both virtual connections and real-life activities, hobbies, and social interactions. Remember that dating apps are just one avenue for meeting people, not the sole source of connection.

Mindful Engagement

Staying present in the moment and practicing mindfulness in order to keep yourself from constantly scrolling but to also make choices that align with your wants, needs and beliefs.


Remember to take time reflecting on your motivations for using dating apps and make sure that they align with your values and goals.

Positive Self-Talk

Champion positive self-talk and self-compassion. Be intentional about challenging negative thoughts and/o avoid comparing yourself to others.

Support Seeking

Noticing feelings of anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem? Consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor. Professional guidance can help develop valuable coping strategies and give perspective.

Being Authentic

Your authenticity in interactions on dating apps, and any sphere of life is important. Be genuine in your profile, communication, and intentions. Your real and authentic self deserves to be seen, appreciated and seen.

Social Support Network

Remember to build and maintain a strong support network of friends, family, and individuals you trust who can provide emotional support, encouragement, and different perspectives on your romantic journey.

Meeting Basic Needs

Prioritize your well-being from a holistic approach. Taking care to maintain important routines, such as sleep, exercise, nutrition, and relaxation techniques has a big impact on emotional and mental health, as well as self-confidence.

Don’t Lose Yourself

Dating apps and websites are now integral parts of modern dating culture, offering new and expanded opportunities of connection, exploration, and potential relationships. However, it’s essential to navigate these digital spaces mindfully and prioritize mental well-being. Understanding the impact of dating apps on mental health, recognizing common challenges, and implementing coping strategies, can foster approaching these platforms with resilience, self-awareness, and healthy boundaries. Remember that worth is not defined by virtual matches or any kind of external validation. By championing self-growth, connections that feel authentic and fulfilling, and overall well-being, one can navigate the complexities of digital dating without losing yourself.

Having trouble navigating digital dating or romantic relationships? Reach out to our office today to connect with a therapist. 

Written By

Alex Stewart

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