Pros and Cons of Swipe Dating On Your Mental Health, MoodThere was a stigma to online dating ever since Match.com first launched in 1995. The perception was that it was for people who were desperate and incapable of meeting someone in person. I’ll admit it; I never tried online dating because of those very stigmas until Tinder launched in 2012. In my personal experience, dating via swipe apps like Tinder and Bumble has been fun and entertaining, but it’s also been a pretty unsatisfying experience when it’s all said and done. Sure, I’ve met some great women and had some fantastic experiences, but I’ve also had a few experiences that made me start to question why I’m still doing it.
Does anyone take them seriously anymore or has it merely become another game on our phones? With that in mind, I decided to ask a few professional psychologists, therapists, and online dating professionals their opinions on the pros and cons of swipe on your mental health and mood.
Dr. Paul L. Hokemeyer (Dr. Paul) is an internationally renowned clinical and consulting psychotherapist who works with individuals and families. Dr. Paul has become one of the world’s most sought-after media experts for his on-air work on CNN International, Al Jeezara, Good Morning America, FOX News, and the Today Show. When I asked Dr. Paul for his take on swipe dating, he said, “Dating sites such as Tinder, Bumble and OK Cupid hold the potential to provide us endless hours of distraction and days of emotional pain. This is because they’re based on the veneer of immediate physical judgments, rather than the fullness of our sensory perceptions, Hokemeyer said. “They also hold the potential to erode the integrity of intimacy by abusing the vulnerability that comes from putting ourselves out in the dating world. No longer is romance a process that evolved over time and through the felt experience of being with another human being. It’s been denigrated to a shopping excursion, akin to buying a pair of shoes. These features lead to the men and women who participate in these sites to experience irritability and anger, the resentment and worthlessness, depressed, anxious and alone.”
An LA native, Christie Tcharkhoutian is a “Triple Trojan” with her bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. from USC. She began her career as a marriage and family therapist before becoming a professional matchmaker. Christie gave us a full list of her Pros/Cons of swipe dating:
1. “Renewed Sense of hopefulness: Swiping on apps can be a beneficial tool to provide a sense of hope for people who feel like they are in a “dating drought”. It gives them a renewed sense of hope that there are options and combats the scarcity mentality that “there is no one out there.”
2. Increased Exposure: Being on apps increases exposure to people that you may not meet otherwise in the “real world”.
3. Expansion of Social Engagement: People get so busy in their task-oriented routines that they lack the opportunity to increase social interaction and engagement, which research has shown has increasingly beneficial results both psychologically, physically and spiritually.
4. More Opportunity for Connection: The beauty of technology is the opportunity it provides a deeper connection. Swiping on apps exponentially increase opportunity for connection, if the initial matching is pursued for deeper engagement through meeting in person.
1. Dehumanizing Others: Unfortunately, sometimes swiping on apps can create a 2-dimensional picture of a person instead of humanizing and seeing them as more than a photo and a brief “tell me about yourself” description.
2. Superficial Judgments: Although apps increase the opportunity for connection, often they can also wire our brains to make snap judgments about people based on superficial criteria.
3. False Picture of the “Real World”: It may feel like the guys on an app are a snapshot of the guys in the world, and that is definitely not the case.
When I asked Dr. Smerling about the pros of swipe dating, she said, “It does provide a social platform, and it provides a way for people to actually meet each other. In this day and age, it can be tough for people to connect the traditional way, so these sites are a convenient outlet. If you look at the NY Times wedding announcements, more and more of them begin with a story about how the happy couple first met on eHarmony, OK Cupid, etc. It definitely serves a purpose.”
Dr. Smerling also identified several cons of swipe dating by saying, “People who use these sites are more likely to feel depressed after incessant use, due to emotions that can arise like feelings of inferiority, depression, envy, and lack of self-esteem,” said Smerling. “Getting rejected by someone you’d consider a match, or seeing a perfectly curated profile on Tinder can make it seem like you’re beneath everyone else when you’re actually not.”
As an online dating expert for the past four years studying everything there is to know about the industry, Kevin Trainor has some interesting perspectives on the subject. For example, Kevin told me, “Swipe dating apps are designed like casinos, and they really do not want you to find a real relationship.” The co-creator of the dating app “Hey There,” Trainor also went on to say, “In reality, swipe apps are very similar in nature to games. Swiping left/right can be analogous to playing Candy Crush. The danger in the gamification of love is that people get addicted to the game and lose sight of the end goal… finding an offline match,” says Trainor.
“Much like the way Facebook and other social networks made us addicted to a digital lifestyle, swipe dating does the exact same thing. Getting a notification that you have received a new message or that someone “likes” you strikes our egos and provides us with an Adrenalin rush of epic proportions said, Trainor.” “That excitement leads to more swiping, more matches, and more chats. It is so easy to get addicted to it.”
What did you think of these takes from professionals on the pros and cons of swiping dating on your mental health, mood? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!