About 40 percent of people date online to find partners. But online dating can be a slippery slope. Certain people can become too dependent on dating apps and suffer negative outcomes in their non-romantic lives, research shows. Looking for love can get addictive.
Every time one of these elements greets you, you guessed it, dopamine floods the brain. Dr. Adi Jaffe, whose experience lies in addiction, explains that “each dose of dopamine provides a boost for GREATER interaction with the application and the device. At the same time, I was writing a book that was partly about how society puts too much pressure on girls to be sexy.
I never imagined that I was falling into the same trap. And I was being anti-aging against myself. I just didn't know it yet. Adding to my self-esteem plummeting, I had recently had my heart broken by a guy I had been dating (long story; we met through work).
I was much more upset about this breakup than it made sense. I hadn't been in love with him, and once brushed his teeth in his car while driving, which one would think would have been an immediate deal breaker. Dating apps are designed to be addictive. They take advantage of our deepest desires and desires.
And in my case, I suppose, it was the longing to feel young again. I've learned to embrace that in myself instead of worrying about my appearance or my age. And I can't say that some of those young people I met when I was using dating apps didn't help me with this. Online Dating, However, Takes Those Costs to Another Level.
To that end, let's look at 5 of the dangers of online dating that don't exist in “normal dating situations”. But what if your friend had 500 friends they wanted you to meet?. Over the course of about three years, I dated more than fifty guys first as a form of distraction from my midlife crisis, and then as research for my new book. It's unclear if online dating apps cause higher levels of psychological distress, or if people at risk of psychological distress tend to use online dating apps.
Online dating can also be a more comfortable way to meet people for those who are shy or socially anxious. I dated non-conformist guys and Wall Street brothers, college students and guys struggling to pay the bills. Most online daters will never develop an addiction, but the point here is that online dating apps make it easy for those problematic behaviors to appear. While this post is not meant to discourage you from online dating, it is meant to educate you about psychological risks, so that you are in a better position to protect yourself.
But if you feel compelled to swipe until you find a new crush to obsess over every time an online fling fizzles out, that might not be healthy. Although it may seem extreme to use the word “addiction”, Melissa Scharf, a therapist at Los Angeles-based rehabilitation center Sober College, says the hyperaccessibility of dating apps can make it easier to develop an unhealthy relationship with online dating. Unsurprisingly, my problems with online dating only grew as I started using it and I became familiar with the many ways in which I believe these companies exploit users for profit. Research has shown that if a reward is unpredictable (a winning slot combination or a match with a potential date), it is even more attractive.
On the other hand, online dating can overwhelm people with too many options and create pressure to turn romantic relationships quickly. While that, in and of itself, isn't necessarily a problem, these people may be especially prone to using online interaction compulsively. It's important to approach online dating with your eyes wide open and measure your expectations accordingly. Combine that with “the endless, cyclical nature of database searching with random new potential dates popping up and there's no reason to stop swiping.”.
As you go along, be aware of the psychological dangers of online dating and take steps to protect your mental health. . .