Can Dating Cause Depression? (And How To Deal With It?)

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Can Dating Cause Depression

Dating isn’t all rainbow and roses. You are bound to face some ups and downs throughout your dating journey. However, if you feel despair most of the time, it could be depression related to your dating.

Perhaps you feel different about your partner lately. You think something feels ‘off,’ but you can’t really put a finger on it. 

And you start wondering whether dating is making you depressed. But is there any truth to it? Can dating really cause depression? Let’s find out!

Is this really depression?

The first thing you should know is that if dating is really making you depressed, it’s more than just ‘the blues.’

Generally speaking, there are various types of depression. However, depression typically involves changes in the brain that results in a low mood and other symptoms which persist for two weeks or more. 

Here are a few common symptoms of depression:

  • You constantly feel anxious 
  • You find it difficult to focus
  • You feel sad and hopeless
  • You are constantly irritable 
  • You no longer find pleasure in activities you liked
  • You sleep too much or not enough 
  • Your appetite isn’t the same
  • You have suicidal tendencies 

Can Dating Make You Depressed?

The short answer is yes. Dating can potentially make you depressed, especially if you have already struggled with anxiety or depression previously.

For starters, we go above and beyond to portray the best version of ourselves on a date. You painstakingly curate an outfit and spend hours in front of the mirror to impress your date.

And once the date takes off, you make sure to talk about your most interesting hobbies and funniest stories to prove what a great human being you are.

When the dates go well, the feeling is truly indescribable. But when it doesn’t, and you realize your date doesn’t really feel the same towards you, it can easily make your mind spiral mentally.

In fact, a 2011 study states that being rejected by someone activates the same part of the brain associated with physical pain.

How Do You Know If Dating is Making You Depressed?

How Do You Know If Dating is Making You Depressed

If you have been dating for as long as I have, you are probably aware of the killer instincts that set into motion as soon as you start dating someone. But what if your partner is perfect and things still feel off? 

Here are a few tell-tale signs that dating might be affecting your mental health.

Your physical health has declined

Yes, there really is a connection between mental and physical health. Unhealthy relationships can lead to various health issues, including anxiety, insomnia, and muscle pain. 

You struggle to communicate

Being able to communicate your struggles freely with your partner is a sign of a healthy relationship. If you feel you’re uncomfortable doing so, this will only lead to one thing — your relationship will likely take a toll on your mental well-being.

Your self-esteem has deteriorated

If your primary focus revolves around how your partner perceives you and how attractive you are to them, instead of focusing on your needs, this could be a clear-cut sign that your partner has led to the plummet in your self-esteem. And this could likely create havoc on your mental health. 

Your sex life has diminished 

While it’s normal for your sexual desires to fluctuate in a relationship, a long-term lack of intimacy may signal that you are depressed. 

Studies show that around 75% of people who are depressed have a non-existent sex life. From low self-esteem and poor body image to hidden resentment and exhaustion, lack of sex drive can stem from multiple causes related to depression. 

Why Does Online Dating Make Me Feel Depressed?

A man's phone screen with a girl's profile in a dating app
A man’s phone screen with a girl’s profile in a dating app.

From tinder and bumble to hinge, there are virtually endless dating apps out there, all promising to help you find your next potential love match. 

Sure, these apps are fun, super popular, and may even help you find “the one.” Nevertheless, it’s imperative to take precautions when it comes to protecting your mental well-being, especially if you already suffer from depression or low self-esteem. 

And the fact that dating apps can make users feel low and experience self-doubt is not baseless either. Research states that male Tinder users have more mental health issues than those not on the dating app. 

The issue with dating apps is that they are primarily focused on superficiality rather than things that are actually meaningful in a relationship, including loyalty, honesty, communication, and friendship. This leads to self-doubt and low self-esteem and going to extra lengths for unnecessary things, like looking good in a picture.

Another issue with online dating is that you are face-to-face with rejection. When people suddenly end their romantic interest in you out of nowhere — aka ghosting — it can have a substantial negative psychological impact.

It can make you start questioning your physical traits, communication skills, and compatibility with potential dates, contributing to feelings of loneliness and hopelessness.

How to use dating apps without damaging your mental health?

Tinder app on a woman's phone
Tinder app on a woman’s phone.

When it comes to successful online dating, and dating in general, without feeling depressed, the key is always to put your mental health first. Here are a few simple things you can do to ensure dating apps don’t mess with your mental health:

  • Stay off dating apps if you’re feeling down or are feeling super negative and being extra hard on yourself. This will help prevent the situation from exacerbating. 
  • Make sure only to use dating apps when you feel strong enough to deal with any rejections that might come your way. Or perhaps you feel stronger both physically and emotionally to handle uncomfortable situations. 
  • Make sure to get the conversation off-line as soon as possible. You will never know whether you have found the one until you meet them in person or at least speak face-to-face via a video call. 
  • Perhaps the most challenging part of dating is dealing with rejection. But things like focusing on your value, how everyone is different, etc., can help you heal from the rejection and move forward.  

And That’s A Wrap!

There’s no denying that dating can be enjoyable, but it can also be challenging at times. With dating, there is a certain amount of vulnerability that can make the pain associated with dating that much harder.  

Tell yourself that it’s totally okay and even healthy to take a break from dating occasionally. What’s more, sometimes making pros and cons lists with dating can help you check in about whether or not dating is worth it to you at the moment. 

If you can do all of these things, you can hopefully enjoy dating while taking care of your mental health!

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Over the years, Stephanie has had her fair share of dating experiences. While some turned out great, others weren't so great. She believes that relationships are meant to be fun, exciting, and full of laughter. She wants to help men and women become confident, attractive, and successful in their romantic relationships.