Online dating culture is definitely very enjoyable but it may also have a severe impact on your mental health. Read further to gain an insight on the same.
The other day, a friend told me how she felt that one of these guys she came across on Bumble could have been “the one” for her. Yet when she met him in person he seemed arrogant and made her feel small. What more, he eventually ghosted her which took a huge toll on her self esteem. I realised then how dating apps often end up shooting the wrong arrows, unable to fulfill their targets.
Coming to college, almost all of us get online on dating apps like tinder, bumble or hinge among many others. Some may try it just for fun, while others may be in search of something serious. We swipe left and right on girls and guys as if we’re shopping online for dates. Some may look attractive but appear boring from their bios, others may have interesting bios but bad dressing sense or hairstyles or some may have the worst taste in music. We filter out what we like best and swipe right hoping to match.
But very often (statistically most common among men), we do not get enough matches. This tends to have an effect on one’s self esteem, triggering emotions like loneliness. Dating apps provide a big ground exposing one to rejection. Frequent cases of rejection may negatively impact the person’s mental health. This may give rise to feelings like self doubt and inadequacy. As Akshat, an 18 year old student said, “dating apps have become like video games for people now, where you have little or nothing to gain and your whole self esteem to lose”.
We can see one’s desperation in the fact that many users pay significant amounts on these apps to improve their prospects of getting matches. Obviously, failure in this case has a more severe impact on self image. Other than simple rejection, cases of ghosting or catfishing may make frequent users cynical about other potential dates. One may get more picky or just develop serious trust issues. This tends to affect one’s relationships not just online but also offline.
Another aspect to be noted is how these apps are majorly based on physical appearances. Most of us have a normative idea of “attractiveness” in our minds and anyone who fails to meet this criteria appears inadequate. So often we may ignore the individual’s description simply because they may seem “hot” or “sexy”. This tendency gives rise to several body image issues among girls and guys who believe they fail to meet this normative standard.
Other than this direct influence of dating apps, one may even observe heightened self images or recurrent need for approval. “I think you get too used to the ‘validation’, ‘attention’ that you wanna keep using the app. Also that you’re always hopeful that maybe the next guy you talk to would be different and maybe things can go somewhere with him. All this takes up a lot of your headspace”, says Megha Garg, a student of Lady Shri Ram College. We have an endless supply of potential dates and our matches often become our virtual trophies. And with multiple people to hold conversations with, somewhere down the line, we develop a superficial breadth, rather than meaningful depth, of connections. Yet again, this defeats the entire idea of the dating app.
I am not dismissing dating apps, I myself am a frequent user. However, I only wish to promote mindful usage of the same. Remember, do not take rejection too personally and allow yourself to take breaks from the apps every now and then. Other than that, enjoy swiping!
Feature Image Credits: thesquarecomics