Dating is a game. Online dating is an online game where you go from level to level if you do everything right, or get stuck on the first level. It’s so exciting to swipe left and right that at some moment you forget the aim of your swiping. You get a kick out of chatting with people and getting as many admirers as possible. You like your virtual popularity, and even if your real dates are not always successful, you cheer yourself up by logging in to your favorite dating site or app to reassure yourself that there are plenty of fish in the dating sea. An online relationship with a person you’ve never seen is an illusion. It can turn into reality when you shift it offline. If you notice that you spend hours on dating services, chat with online matches, and prefer virtual communication to real-life dates, it’s indicative of your online dating addiction.

online dating addiction

What is online dating addiction?

All kinds of addiction begin as a way to escape boredom. Single people whose life is a vicious circle “home-work” often find online dating an escape from routine and loneliness. Even 11% of married people have online dating profiles and keep using them to feel desired or for some other reasons. According to the latest online dating addiction statistics, 15% of singles say that they are addicted to online dating. Many millennials fall prey to the illusion of romantic relationships that dating sites and apps create. It can be compared to gambling: you know something big is awaiting you, and you keep playing the game, enjoying the thrill.

Dating addiction is not an official diagnosis. However, its mechanisms are the same as in any other type of addiction. What causes dating site addiction? You realize that there are millions of single people looking for a match simultaneously with you, and this makes you explore the dating pool thoroughly. While in real life you have no time for dates and don’t approach people on the streets, you make up for it on dating sites. Men contact dozens of women, pay compliments, flirt and chat extensively.

Women receive much attention from the opposite sex, read compliments, and enjoy flirting too. All this is a balm for a person’s ego and a huge stimulus for the brain. The state of excitation and euphoria caused by all those flirtatious chats and the abundance of virtual romantic dates is actually the result of the active production of dopamine and serotonin – chemicals that make you happy and in love. Gradually, people get addicted to this psychological state, so they check their online dating profiles again and again to get the next “doze” of romance and happiness. They get obsessed with the process (the game) – they are not aimed at getting attached to and exclusive with someone.

You may wonder: “What’s wrong with being involved in the process of online dating so much?” When a person begins to treat online dating as a game and feels happier and more interested at the stage of searching for potential matches rather than going out with them, this person gets lost in one’s illusions. Why should they make some effort in real life if there on a dating site they can easily approach someone they like or be approached and complimented by hundreds of admirers? Why should they focus on one person and develop a relationship with them if they can change online partners literally every day or correspond with several people at once? The truth is, people addicted to dating sites take the risk of spending years online without ever having a real relationship offline.

Dating app addiction

A lot of people are addicted to their smartphones. They have their noses stuck in their phones almost 24/7. There is always something interesting to check out or watch, especially if you have an unlimited access to the Internet. What is the last thing we see when we go to bed and the first thing we reach out for in the morning? For many of us, it’s a smartphone.

online dating addiction recovery Most dating sites have not only their desktop version but also a mobile one, which means you can interact with your virtual friends and look for new matches non-stop. Some dating services exist only as mobile apps. One of the main parameters of dating apps, such as the good old Tinder, is addictivity. They are supposed to make people use them day and night, that’s why their algorithms resemble a game app. Swiping left and right is pretty exciting, as well as waiting for other people’s responses.

A large number of dating come up with new ideas and algorithms for their services. Users answer a series of questions and then an app matches them with people who give the same answers. It turns into a quiz and is really absorbing. Many people start perceiving dating apps as game apps. They forget that there are real people hiding behind the profile photos. It’s not a secret that some people use dating apps for fun instead of finding a soul mate.

As to dating sites, they have a less “game-like” design. You don’t just mechanically swipe photos of people. You set some search parameters and then study the profiles of the proposed matches. Yet, there is a spirit of competition that encourages people to pay for extra features to get their profiles to the top to get more views.

The developers of the new generation of dating apps have realized that people are too focused on the dating game itself rather than on meeting people. That’s why the latest dating apps are promoting the so-called on-demand dating. They condemn the swiping culture and want to emphasize that a dating app is a tool for securing a date, not for endless chatting and flirting without any progress. Such dating apps as Clover, Pure, or HowAboutWe minimize the time spent on virtual chit-chat and help people find themselves on a date shortly after exchanging several messages or right after agreeing to meet in a particular place at a particular time.

Psychology of Internet dating site addiction

Endless resources infer endless searches. This is how the dating industry can be characterized in a nutshell. It breeds the need to constantly check what’s new on the market. And this is what facilitates an Internet dating site addiction. The compulsive use of dating services changes your attitude to relationships. You stop perceiving each of your partners as unique. In 10 minutes, you can not only see hundreds of girls from different cities and countries but also scan their profiles. In real life, it would take you a year. At first, you don’t think about it, but then you start looking for alternatives. The desire to woo and win a girl disappears – you know there are other single women out there.

The abundance of choice leads to emotional burnout. According to psychologists and anthropologists, people are able to maintain a close emotional connection with not more than 150 people. Today, thanks to the Internet, you can communicate with a lot more people. However, this state of things blurs the limits of your social circle, and you face the situation when you can’t be emotionally attached to all of your acquaintances.

Why do people get addicted to online dating and the process of meeting new people? The answer is simple: we are attracted to everything new and tend to idealize strangers. Online dating is replete with illusions. At the stage of online communication, people tend to mentally adjust their online dates to their ideals. In other words, they picture them they way they want them to be. When a relationship progresses, people learn the ugly truth about their partners and this is when a real relationship starts – when partners begin to accept the real personalities of their partners. Women and men addicted to online dating want to prolong the thrill of sweet illusion, so they prefer to stay on this level of the game, simply changing the players.

Signs of online dating addiction

If you think that you’re using dating services in an unhealthy way or you see that your friend hasn’t been on a date like in years but considers oneself in a relationship, you should check out the following online dating addiction signs.

  • What makes you happy is not the quality of your online affairs but rather the quantity. You are focused on the number of people you contact rather than the depth of communication with them.
  • Your ultimate goal is not to secure a date with someone and meet in real life but to chat with potential dates.
  • The moment you realize you know your online interlocutor quite well, you get bored and start looking for alternatives, that is, new potential dates.
  • You can hardly picture yourself in an exclusive relationship with someone, because for you, the safest stage is the stage of online dating or just hook-ups.
  • Whenever you have a free minute, you reach for your phone or computer to check out your dating profile. Instead of reading a book or meeting with your friend, you prefer to play a swiping game, check out new users, or send a compliment to that lovely match.
  • You become isolated in real life, because you prioritize your virtual life. You ignore people around, including your family and friends, for one reason: you have someone to chat with on a dating site.

These online dating addiction signs should not be left out. Your compulsive usage of dating services has a detrimental effect on your personal life.

stop online dating addictionOnline dating addiction recovery

If the signs of online dating addiction mentioned in the article are true about you, most probably you’d like to deal with it and stop online dating addiction. The process of online dating addiction recovery should begin with the recognition of the problem. Admit your compulsive use of dating platforms. The temptation is always strong but you can learn to control your online presence. The following tips will help your online dating addiction recovery.

Determine the reasons why you’re using dating services. Do you log in on a dating site or app whenever you feel bored or lonely? Do you do this to kill the time or maybe to cope with stress or feel happier. Once you’ve established the reasons, you’ll be able to find the alternative ways out of dealing with your real problems.

Compare the advantages of online dating and real-life communication. Although technology helps us stay in touch with our close people, it is also the reason for our social isolation. People are social creatures. We need face to face interaction. This is how we can establish deeper bonds and feel happier.

Improve your social skills. Perhaps, you find it easier to interact with people online. However, you can become successful with the opposite sex only through real practice. If you’re a shy person, learn to control your social awkwardness by challenging yourself. Meet with your friends more often, reach out to colleagues, take some group classes (drama, language courses) to be among people.

Set the limits. Get your time spent on dating sites under control. Don’t check them randomly whenever you get connected to the Internet. If you use a dating site’s mobile version, you might delete the app from your phone and use it only when you’re at your computer.

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