Dating apps can trigger depressive symptoms among people who have pre-existing mental illnesses. However, online dating sites can also negatively affect people without pre-existing mental health disorders, leading to psychological and emotional distress. As people spend more and more time online looking for love, they are also more likely to experience depression and anxiety. For dating apps in particular, just because you're evaluating other people's profiles can affect self-esteem and confidence, and leave users feeling objectified.
In one study, users of a dating app reported that they were less satisfied with their appearance and body type than non-users, apparently internalizing what they perceived as evaluations of themselves. If you never match with people you like, it can feel like an ongoing rejection, says Nosrati. People who perceive themselves as rejected are much more likely to feel anxious or depressed when using these apps. Dating apps definitely get depressing, but I feel like it's because the dating itself seems a lot more forced.
There's no organic progression until you get to the date stage, and even then it can seem forced, not so pleasant, and disappointing. Instead, try to think of someone's response on a dating app or site as if it was more about them than you. Keep in mind, online dating relies on a business model to keep you on your sites for as long as possible. Adults have looked online for love, data shows, and millions more are using a dating site or app on a regular basis.