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Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Dating apps are training us for divorce and wasting our mental health, leading psychologist reveals

By Vaseline May30,2024
Dating apps are training us for divorce and wasting our mental health, leading psychologist reveals

Modern dating apps promote superficial connections, harm mental health and train users for divorce, says psychologist Sadia Khan.


We’ve known for a while that dating apps put profit over passion, turning users into real gamblers, and that no matter how many green flags you have, the apps make dating harder rather than easier. However, a recent interview shows just how dangerous these dating apps can be.

In the fast-paced, swipe-right world of 2024, the pursuit of love has taken a decidedly digital turn. Leading psychologist and dating coach Sadia Khan recently appeared on the Subtle art of not giving AF*ck podcast with Mark Manson to argue that modern dating apps are doing more harm than good, training us for divorce and destroying our mental health.

The dehumanizing effect

Dating apps, with their seemingly but not actually endless options, encourage a mentality of disposableness. “Modern dating trains people for divorce,” says Khan, explaining that the skills (if you can call them that…) developed through these platforms – dissociation, short-term valuation and a fallback mentality – are detrimental to building of lasting, meaningful relationships.

A phone screen with 6 different dating apps.
The impression of unlimited possibilities can work against you. Image: CNET

Swiping culture promotes an extrinsic checklist of traits, such as appearance and status, over intrinsic values ​​such as emotional connection and compatibility, fostering a superficial connection that often does not transition into deep, long-term commitment.

“You can only judge based on appearance. When you’re beautiful, you get overwhelmed by the dating apps and as a result you start to dehumanize men…’

The psychological toll

The impact extends beyond the potential relationships themselves, with arguably greater detrimental effects on mental health. Research consistently shows that married individuals report higher levels of happiness, longevity, and life satisfaction.

However, the prevailing message today, encouraged by dating apps, is to postpone or avoid a long-term commitment. As a result, more and more people find themselves in short-lived, unfulfilling relationships that can contribute to anxiety, depression and a sense of isolation.

A man sat on the edge of his bed and looked sad.
Image: DMARGE/Getty

Khan also highlights the influence of social media and pornography in distorting expectations and fueling narcissistic behavior, creating a dynamic that not only distorts what people look for in partners but also perpetuates unhealthy relationship patterns:

“Pornography has made men look for very extrinsic values, and that combination of women looking for money and men looking for sex means that sex workers and more promiscuous women are reaching the most successful men and quite quickly form pairs.”

Long story short: we really enjoyed the full pod and suggest you take the whole thing in if you have the time – while dating apps offer convenience and a wide range of potential partners offer, they can set us up for failure in the long run.

The emphasis on instant gratification and superficial qualities can leave us ill-prepared for both the many demands and abundant rewards of committed, long-term relationships. As Khan’s insights suggest, rethinking the way we approach dating in the digital age is crucial to promoting healthier relationships and improving our all-important mental wellbeing.

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