Liking, swiping, messaging—online dating is meant to make our romantic lives easier, but that doesn't mean it's free from challenges.
Quite the opposite, in fact. Although responsible for countless success stories, looking for love on dating apps like Hinge and Bumble, to name just a few, can be an overwhelming process.
Like our go-to social apps (such as Instagram's negative impact on our mental health), dating apps can have an adverse effect on us mentally.
According to a 2016 study from the American Psychological Association (opens in new tab), Tinder specifically can contribute to users' body dissatisfaction and body monitoring and increase competition amongst peers. Other findings from Acenda Integrated Health (opens in new tab) indicate that various apps can cause anxiety and lower self-esteem.
Gen Z and millennial daters are hunting for love in 2022—a new study has revealed they are anxious to make a commitment after nearly two years holed up inside and many of them are likely going to head online to find their person.
So, how exactly do these app users maintain their mental health while online dating? The experts are here to help.
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Tips for online dating and keeping your mental health in check
1. Be authentic
If you're on a quest for a partner, you'll want to show them the real you, and vice versa. Don't look for stardom on Hinge the way one would on TikTok.
"Trying to keep up a façade over time can be stressful and probably doesn’t bode well for long-term relationship success," says Dr. Chris Barry, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington State University.
Keep the filters on hand for the Snapchat stories with your BFF.
2. Don't compare—on or offline
So, you've matched with a Bradley Cooper lookalike. Don't assume that appearances are the be-all and end-all—you have to take emotions and personalities into the equation, too.
Do not assume that you are less than if someone you deem attractive fails to respond. This only means that you are not compatible—and you likely wouldn't be when straying away from screens.
When embarking on this online quest, be sure not to let your journey or pace be influenced by any friend or relative's relationship status. It's not all meant to happen at the same time for everyone.
3. Take a breather when need be
Despite what you might believe, online dating is not a race or competition. You are entitled to go at your own pace—and you should!
"As with other social media applications, it is important to take breaks, particularly if the use of online dating apps brings additional stress or distraction from other daily activities," Barry adds.
Don't let others' situation cause you to move at lightening speed. One date per week—or even per month—might be a better option. All in all, do whatever works well for you.
4. Trust the process
Prince or Princess Charming might not manifest with your first swipe, and that's OK. In order to keep yourself motivated, you need to have faith that things will work out.
"You need to believe that you're ultimately going to find your person," says Jaime Bronstein (opens in new tab), relationship therapist, coach and host of “Love Talk Live” on LA Talk Radio. That's what can help you stay positive."
5. Find the humor in the process
Chances are you're going to have an interesting encounter or two thanks to your virtual matches. Don't let that discourage you—store the LOL moments in your memory bank when you meet your friends for Sunday-morning coffee. We all need a good laugh right now, anyway.
Yes, it's tedious at times, and we'd rather the love of our life just appear on our doorstep, but that's not reality. Think of dating apps as an opportunity to put you one step closer to your person.
"Remind yourself that you will find the right person at the right time—just take it one day at a time and stay in the game," Bronstein recommends. "Stay in your trusting that ultimately it's all worth it—the investment of time and energy will all pay off."
Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment.
The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets.
When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)
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