Nine in 10 singles admit to being ‘addicted’ to dating apps which is impacting mental health

Stock picture of a woman checking her dating apps. (Getty Images)
Nine in 10 singles admit to being 'addicted' to dating apps. (Getty Images)

With Valentine's Day fast approaching it's likely many singles will be hitting up the dating apps, but if you're starting to feel your swiping might be getting out of hand you certainly wouldn't be alone.

Research has found that nine in 10 singles (90%) are ‘addicted’ to dating apps, with more than half (55%) believing they spend too long swiping left or right.

When it comes to how long people are spending searching for love, the survey, by eHarmony, found that the average person is logging in for 55 minutes each day, and has six different conversations on the go at a time.

But experts are warning this flitting could make meaningful connections difficult.

Even more concerning, a perceived 'addiction' to romance apps has caused mental health issues for seven in 10 adults, leading to depression in a third of singles.

“As technology has become ever more prevalent in our lives we’re seeing a new type of internet addiction in the form of dating apps - with users often unaware that they are addicted to them," Dr Martin Graff, cyber-psychologist, explains.

"What concerns me is the impact this is then having on their mental health."

Read more: How to tell if someone fancies you

Singles are checking dating apps at work. (Getty Images)
Singles are checking dating apps at work. (Getty Images)

In terms of how dating app over-use is affecting wellbeing, the survey found that nearly half (44%) of singles report feeling ‘not good enough’ for the people they ‘like’, and two-fifths (39%) have felt unwanted.

This has left a third (33%) feeling depressed because of their app usage, while a fifth (20%) say they feel more stressed and a sixth (16%) report more anxiety.

More than half (55%) of singles think they spend too long on dating apps, with half (48%) admitting to checking their apps last thing before going to bed and two fifths (39%) checking their apps again first thing when they wake up.

Watch: Student turned matchmaker to help single mum find love by giving her dating profile a facelift

In fact, singles are so hooked on dating apps that nearly a third (28%) confess to checking them at work, a trend more prevalent amongst men (31%) than women (25%), and over a tenth (12%) have even checked them while on a date.

Of course, dating apps aren’t inherently bad. In fact, if the current dating trends continue eHarmony predict that more than 50% of relationships will have started online.

But if you're starting to feel that your usage is getting out of hand, there are some ways to keep it in check.

"There are some really simple things people can do when it comes to online dating to manage this better, such as monitoring how much time you’re spending on dating apps, when you use them and being mindful of how many people you’re speaking to at any one time,” Dr Graff suggests.

Read more: Hoping for a date on Valentine's Day? These are the dating apps you're most likely to succeed on, says new survey

There are some ways to be more mindful about online dating. (Getty Images)
There are some ways to be more mindful about online dating. (Getty Images)

How to practice more mindful dating

Dr Graff has also put together some tips for adopting a healthier approach to online dating.

  1. Take things slowly. Look carefully at a profile before you swipe. This is what psychologists call 'slow thinking'. Many users make the mistake of vigorously swiping through profiles on dating apps, potentially missing out on suitable matches.

  2. Don’t try to ‘build’ your perfect partner from filtering out the qualities you don’t want. You may risk missing out on a potentially good match.

  3. Relax. You might not get results straight away, so instead try to enjoy yourself. Carefully examine each profile and think in terms of who might be a person with whom you can have a fun date.

  4. Learn to accept rejection – it happens. Take control and move on. You have the power to control your own dating profile and how you interact with others. The feeling of being in control is one of the key components of resilience.

  5. Recognise your good points and know your worth. This is what psychologists call ‘mate value’. It is what you ‘bring to the party’, your good looks and your talents. Keep reminding yourself of these, and that you are wanted because of your qualities.

  6. Set aside a time when you can give your online dating pursuits proper attention. Therefore, don’t do online dating at work, at meals or maybe when you have just woken up.

  7. Accept that dating and finding the right relationship may take time. Don’t expect immediate results.

Read more: Which UK city has gone the longest without sex? New survey reveals all

Top ten ways poor behaviour in dating apps has triggered poor mental health

  1. Left users feeling they are not good enough for the people that they ‘like’ (44%)

  2. Made them feel unattractive (44%)

  3. Made them feel unwanted (39%)

  4. Made them feel depressed (33%)

  5. Triggered people to establish a poor body image (30%)

  6. Left them feeling unloved (24%)

  7. Left them with lower self-esteem (23%)

  8. Triggered increased feelings of stress (20%)

  9. Left them feeling more anxious (16%)

  10. Have received abusive or offensive messages (13%)