Dating and Relationships

How Dating Apps Can Increase Feelings of Loneliness by Lisa

The Paradox of Loneliness ⁣in the Age of Dating Apps

It’s not⁣ just you: The paradox of feeling isolated while navigating through a sea ‍of potential matches on⁣ dating apps is a ‌common experience.

“The ease of meeting numerous people on ⁤dating apps is counterbalanced⁣ by ‍a sense of disconnection and loneliness. ‌The quest for the ‘perfect match’ can ironically make us feel invisible⁣ and unfulfilled,” ‌observes Dr. Brooke Keels, chief clinical officer at ⁢ Lighthouse Recovery.

A Singles Reports study reveals that nearly 80% of people aged 18-54 experience some​ degree of emotional exhaustion or burnout ‍from online⁣ dating, with men ⁤being more susceptible to these feelings.

RELATED: Strategies for Making Online Dating Work for You

While it⁢ may be comforting to know that⁢ others share your struggles, it doesn’t solve the core problem: How can dating apps⁢ create such a disconnect while offering numerous opportunities to‌ connect? Here’s what you need to understand – and what you can do if swiping leaves you feeling lonely.

Understanding Why Dating Apps Can Lead to Loneliness

The Superficial Nature of Online Dating

Online dating initially seems ⁢promising.

“Dating apps create an illusion of endless matches, potential compatibility, ​and the ⁣convenience of ‍connecting from home,” notes Dr. ⁣Tarra Bates-Duford.

However, frustration and confusion can quickly set in with‍ each swipe.

Firstly, ‍there’s an emphasis on physical appearance. While looks matter in⁣ real life too, the process of‌ mindlessly browsing through numerous faces within minutes can feel‍ superficial.⁢

The Challenge of Authenticity

It can be challenging to gauge someone’s authenticity – or convey yours – online. The context can get lost when you’re reading profile descriptions ‍and exchanging messages.

RELATED: Common Mistakes ⁤Men ​Make ‌When⁢ Sending ⁢Dating Messages

“Online dating profiles can be misleading, lacking cues like‌ facial expressions,‍ body​ language, and genuine comments — not app-generated catchphrases,” ‌says Dr. Bates-Duford. “Assessing authenticity and sincerity can be difficult.”

Some people even lie ‌on their profile. There’s pressure to present‍ yourself ⁤in a certain ‌way, which can further erode authenticity. And since authenticity is⁢ the foundation of meaningful connection, using apps can leave you feeling empty.

The Difficulty of Getting Matches

Moreover, if you’re a heterosexual man, ⁢getting⁣ matches can be a challenge.

“Men and ⁣women swipe differently,” says Kristian Boe, founder of‌ “While men swipe right on about 35% of profiles, women only swipe right on about⁣ 2.5% ⁢of profiles. So⁣ if you’re not in the top ⁢20%‍ of profiles as ⁤a man, you basically ⁢get no action, which leads to frustration.”

RELATED: Why Women Have Higher Standards in Dating

Men Are ⁢More Prone to Loneliness

As Bates-Duford ‌points out,⁢ loneliness is not the physical state of being alone, ‌but the emotional feeling of isolation.

“Loneliness involves a lack ⁤of deep​ and satisfying relationships, connection, and negative quality of existing⁢ relationships,” ‍she ⁢explains. “Dating ⁣apps can exacerbate feelings of loneliness, as ⁢it⁣ often takes⁢ a long time to build relationships with someone you meet ‍online.”⁤

Unfortunately, men are more likely to experience ⁤social isolation and a lack of quality ⁢relationships in the first place. Recent research shows that ⁢men’s social circles are shrinking, ‍and it’s ‌worse for younger men.​ According to an American Perspectives Survey, over one‌ in four men under the age of ‍30 reported having no close social connections. ​

So, if you turn to dating ⁢apps because⁣ you crave​ connection in general, you ‍may quickly ⁤end up feeling lonely.

RELATED:​ The Importance of Close Friendships for Men

Real Connection Takes Time ​

Even if you’re meeting plenty⁤ of people, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to connect with them ⁤on a deeper level.

“The real challenge in online dating isn’t just about finding someone,” says ⁢Keels. “It’s about finding real, meaningful connections ‍that go beyond just chatting online.”

RELATED: ‍ The Difference Between Attraction &⁤ Compatibility

“There’s⁢ this silent struggle with feeling lonely, especially with ⁣societal pressure to appear always connected and‍ in control,”⁢ she adds.‍ “But what we’re really after is someone who ​understands us, someone we can share true intimacy and understanding with.”

5‍ Strategies to Overcome Loneliness Caused by Dating Apps

Despite the downsides and frustrations, online dating can still lead to positive ⁤experiences.​ There​ are ways⁣ to enjoy using apps and replace feelings of⁣ loneliness with more hopeful emotions. Here are⁣ a few tips:

Separate Your Self-Worth From Outcomes

“I wish men knew how to separate their dating app results from their self-worth,” says Boe.

To do this, it’s crucial to adjust your mindset. If you’re seeking matches for validation, a lack of‍ matches will disappoint you. ⁤

RELATED: How to Get More ⁤Right‌ Swipes on Dating Apps ‌

However, being open to exploring mutual interest ‍without taking things personally will lead to ⁢a more satisfying online dating experience.

Take Breaks When Necessary

Sometimes, taking a step back ‌is necessary.

“Taking a⁣ break ⁣from ‍what‌ makes you feel⁤ lonely does help,” adds Boe. ‌

RELATED: How to Handle Online Dating Burnout

Forcing yourself to keep trying won’t combat dating app ​fatigue. It’s usually a sign to shift gears and tend to your emotional⁤ needs in other ways. ⁤

Interact with ​People in Real Life

It may sound radical, but try interacting with people ⁣in real life.

“Join social groups, try speed dating, strike up ⁢a ‍conversation with someone interesting, ⁤go out with friends, and visit places where⁢ people you may be interested in ‌will be,” suggests Bates-Duford.

RELATED: How to​ Approach Attractive‌ Women in Person

Even if‍ it doesn’t lead anywhere, it may well help you feel more⁣ connected than staring ⁢at your screen.

Engage in Self-Reflection

If ⁢you’re⁢ feeling lonely, it’s ‍a good time to check in with yourself. What do you value? What are ⁢you looking for in your romantic life? Are you satisfied with your other ⁣relationships? ⁤

“Doing‌ some self-reflection to figure ⁣out‌ what we really want​ and‍ need can help‍ us create more​ meaningful connections, both ‌on and offline,” says‌ Keels.

Embrace Vulnerability

Being vulnerable can be intimidating, ⁤but it can also lead to more ⁣meaningful interactions. So, try showing more of who ‍you are while dating. It won’t⁤ guarantee that everyone you meet on apps ⁣will be genuine, but⁢ it ​will increase your chances of ​experiencing genuine connection.

Lastly, if you⁣ feel⁤ chronically lonely, consider opening up to a trusted friend or professional. It’s ‍more common than you think, and ⁣discussing it is one of the best ways to combat isolation.

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Considering a Hookup Amid a Pandemic? Check This Out First by Lisa

Do ​you recall the days of spontaneous casual encounters? The uncertainty‌ of where a‍ first date might lead? The infamous walk of shame? The simple​ act of touching another ‌person? For many singles, ⁤these experiences seem like a distant memory, thanks to the ‌prolonged period of social isolation brought on by the lockdown‍ and its aftermath.

Beyond the‌ more​ alarming and obvious impacts of the coronavirus pandemic – such as death and long-term health​ issues – ​Covid-19‍ has⁢ also taken a toll on our emotional⁣ well-being and romantic lives. While it’s not entirely over – dating app happn reveals that 45% of its‌ users have been on dates since lockdown lifted, with 60% of‌ those going on multiple dates – the necessary social distancing measures and the fear of‍ infection have significantly impacted our dating confidence.⁣ Physical barriers preventing⁢ intimacy with strangers have ⁣eliminated the possibility of ‌spontaneous ⁤hook-ups, except for the most daring ⁣thrill-seekers.

With the government warning⁢ that stricter measures could be in place​ for the next six months, ​singles yearning for physical connection face a dilemma. Some might be tempted to throw caution to the wind, reasoning that ‌if the world is on the brink⁤ of⁣ a pandemic-induced collapse, they might as well enjoy themselves. However, Elesha Vooght, a⁤ sexual wellness doctor for‌ inclusive sex-toy store Kandid, advises against this. She emphasizes the importance of adhering to⁢ standard social distancing rules to minimize the spread of the virus and the potential for it to mutate into a more challenging strain.

While we understand this, our ⁢human nature often leads us to look for loopholes and⁢ interpret ⁢rules​ in ways that benefit us. For instance, different households might “accidentally” meet at the pub. ‍While guidelines advise social distancing from strangers, they also allow overnight stays at‌ someone else’s house. Technically, hook-ups are discouraged, but the reality is that people are‌ likely to engage in ⁤them anyway. Vooght warns that there’s no surefire way to avoid catching or transmitting Covid during such encounters.⁤ The best ⁤we⁤ can do is to minimize the ​risk as much as‍ possible, which might mean staying home alone and ⁢watching the paint peel off the⁢ walls. ⁤Even if you live alone, are not in a‌ bubble with someone else, ⁣show⁢ no symptoms, and have tested negative recently, ⁢the risk of contracting ‌Covid still exists.

Despite understanding the risks, the temptation to find a ⁤workaround might be too ⁤strong for some. If you didn’t give‍ up when your mother denied you a chocolate biscuit before dinner, ​why give up now? ‌Is there some form of protective gear you can wear​ during ⁢sex? Vooght advises that the ⁣most crucial protective equipment during sex is a condom. Masks, gloves, or plastic boiler suits ‌are unlikely‍ to ‌reduce transmission risk effectively, as they probably won’t stay in place. So, dreams of infection-free sex and a budding interest in surgical kink are dashed in one fell swoop.

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Do I need to reveal my vaccination status to the person I’m dating? by Lisa

Embarking on a ‍date can often‌ feel like a performance. You aim to highlight your positive attributes without appearing boastful, while downplaying the mundane aspects of your life without‍ seeming secretive. It’s a delicate dance of self-promotion, all in the⁢ hopes of securing a lasting connection or at least a fleeting, gratifying boost of validation. The topic of health usually doesn’t surface unless ‍there’s ⁣a compelling reason to discuss it.

However, the pandemic has shifted this dynamic. ⁢While not everyone has⁣ contracted Covid, ‍we’ve all been affected by its presence since early 2020. This is particularly pertinent in the dating scene, as the virus can be transmitted through close physical contact – something that’s often hoped for if a date goes well. It’s been a challenging year‍ for single individuals, but the vaccine rollout offers a glimmer of hope, allowing them to cautiously re-enter the ​dating‌ scene, which now seems as refreshing as Venice’s canals‌ after a year devoid ‌of inebriated​ retirees on massive⁢ cruise ships.

The issue is, not everyone⁢ has received the vaccine yet. At the ⁤time of writing, individuals in their late thirties were being called to get their first dose. Regardless of your stance on the​ vaccine, the pandemic, or the government’s handling of the situation, science indicates that the safest way to coexist with‌ Covid-19 is for as many people as possible to get vaccinated. However,⁤ some eligible ​individuals have opted not to. While there’s been discussion about vaccine passports for certain services once the country fully⁢ reopens, there’s no mandate that prohibits dating until⁢ you’ve been ⁣vaccinated. But how ‌do you determine if your potential date has been vaccinated, and would it⁣ influence your decision ⁣to date them?

On the surface, it ⁤seems​ straightforward: ask your potential‌ date about their ​vaccination​ status – fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated (awaiting‌ the second dose), or not ⁣vaccinated at all – and then make your decision. But it’s not that simple. When ‍do you‍ ask? ‍Before meeting? During the first date? Some people might be reluctant to disclose their vaccination⁤ status, so do you request proof, like the​ small blue card often flaunted in post-vaccination Instagram photos? Do you specify in⁢ your bio‍ that you’ll only date vaccinated individuals? Does being vaccinated make you more attractive? Are we fostering a dating hierarchy? Any perspective can be misconstrued by someone looking for an argument. What could be the ⁣implications?

Regulations hastily implemented during periods of fear and uncertainty often become the standard. We should be cautious about setting precedents, particularly if ⁤it⁢ means we might be expected to⁣ reveal other health⁤ conditions‍ upfront. Those vaccinated early could be inadvertently disclosing a medical condition, even if we ⁢don’t know the specifics. Some dating apps already have a field for users to disclose their HIV status, which has sparked controversy, with claims that it both combats and perpetuates stigma. We ‍already filter potential dates based on appearance, age, and the dullness of⁢ their profile information. It might seem logical to ⁣delve deeper into their medical history, asking about past and present STIs, drug use, family medical history, ⁣and mental ⁤health issues. But this implies that someone ‍without ​any health issues is “cleaner” ‍than others. Is this a notion we want to encourage?

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