Signs of Online Dating Addiction


Despite the fact that online dating is as old as the Internet itself, psychologists and sociologists have increased the amount of criticism of online dating services. In their opinion, these services do more harm than good to some people. MBA marketers and lecturers even wrote the article "The Review of the Ugly Truth and Negative Aspects of Online Dating" in which they summed up all the research on the disadvantages of dating sites that had been published over the past few years. The list of grievances is quite impressive.

In addition, several years ago, Vanity Fair magazine also published a devastating article about 20 years old New Yorkers who became addicted to online dating and ceased to appreciate another person, easily replacing one partner for another one as well as refusing committed relationships in favor of a one-night stand. American psychologists even introduced the concept of Attention Deficit Dating (ADD) which means the inability to develop an emotional attachment to one person during the date because of the illusion (which the Internet creates), that there is always someone a little better than a person you have asked you out this Friday.

online dating addiction

What is online dating addiction?

Addiction is when the situation controls you, not the other way around. Have you ever faced a situation when you devote every spare moment to your favorite dating site? You open a dating app just to check the mailbox and answer the messages, and even don’t notice how nights follow days. At first sight, an innocuous attempt to organize one's personal life is gradually transformed into a need to sign in and check the slightest changes in the online world.

However, dating app addiction is very dangerous because you reduce the number of meetings in real life. You start living in a fake world, which is completely built on your illusions and desires and which has nothing in common with the real situation. The original goals are lost in this roundabout of infinite possibilities and the illusion of choice.

If you don’t have the high intensity of work, your chances to stick on dating sites as in a swamp increase dramatically. Internet dating site addiction takes a lot of energy and distracts almost all the attention. One day you can realize that the situation is controlling you, and even an interesting acquaintance doesn’t stop the need to look further.

What is the root cause of online dating addiction?

In order to find out what causes dating site addiction, it’s necessary to turn to the psychological side of the issue. Addiction is a kind of compensation for the unsatisfied position in society and the search for an alternative reality. Virtual communication is based on a certain need. It becomes clear that the root cause of internet dating site addiction lies in the fact that some part of the population has lost the ability to self-realization in a real society.

This is consistent with the concept of Adler, who argued that the basis of human activity is the desire for self-worth and the desire to be an important personality. He was guided by the idea that the inferiority of one of the organs necessarily leads to its compensation at the expense of others. If the organ is replaced by a certain component of self-awareness, the problem appears in a slightly different form. You can come to the fact that man's desire to disappear in virtual space is nothing but the compensation of their own insignificance in their own eyes and in the eyes of significant people.

dating online addictionWho is suffering from dating addiction?

According to the online dating addiction statistics, 52% of men and 61% of women suffer from dating addiction. The vast majority of them use such one-night flirting to get sexual gratification, but there are exceptions.

As a rule, the desire to get acquainted, to make a good impression, to receive a verbal or non-verbal confirmation of one's own personal attractiveness and then to look for similar emotions with another person is characteristic of immature people who need to prove to themselves that they are worth something. Basically, due to all the same emotional immaturity, such people are trying to find evidence outside. That is, the more people they manage to "charm," the prettier, better, smarter and sexier they feel.

However, there is also a more unpleasant form of self-assertion through casual acquaintances. In addition to "charm," such people want also to humiliate. There is nothing special in their deep motives, it's just a neglected case of self-doubt and self-loathing. Such "hunters" are addicted to dating sites for the same reasons, they need to get proof of their ability to influence others all the time.

Signs of online dating addiction.

It’s very easy both to start and to end a relationship on a dating site. There is no need to worry about how you look, what impression you make on others because others will see you the way you want it. You start living in a charming, captivating illusion of a full-fledged emotional life which is devoid of the inevitable shortcomings and difficulties that real communication brings. However, as a result, you have numerous short and empty virtual relationships as well as the fear of creating real ones, the desire to dull the sense of loneliness with new online love affairs. So, what are the main signs of online dating addiction?

1. You use almost all the possible dating apps. It’s not about testing out different dating apps to choose one or several the most suitable. It’s about a maniacal necessity to download all the possible dating apps, even if they don’t meet your requirements, register on each of them, create a profile and use all at the same time, waiting for a match and communicating with new “admirers.” If you use more than 5 dating apps, it seems like you have a problem.

2. You compulsively check your inbox on each dating site. Many people leave their apps logged in on a constant basis because it’s quite comfortable. A person who doesn’t have online dating addiction signs visits a dating app only when they have nothing else to do or they communicate with a person who has become important to them. People who suffer from addiction, check all their apps almost every 30 minutes. It’s a normal thing to be excited about new messages, but if it becomes the highest priority, it’s a bad sign. Addicted people search for their matches, constantly change their profiles’ information and send hundreds of winks and messages, waiting for someone to respond. They perceive this process as a game and forget about their life offline. Some particularly desperate ones can even check their inboxes instead of going to bed.

3. You communicate with everyone. Usually, people try to be more selective in choosing a person they communicate with. They try to find some common background and build their further conversations on it, gradually extending the boundaries. Talking about men addicted to online dating, they don’t even try to keep track of who they are talking to. They respond to anyone who has sent them a message, and they aren’t aware of the concepts of narrowing their matches down to those who have at least something in common with them. The only thing they think about is attention, the more sings of attention they get, the better. Such people can even ignore their relatives and close friends to communicate with strangers whom they will never meet offline.

4. You give the highest priority to the dating sites. One of the most obvious online dating addiction signs is the prioritization in favor of online dating. If you prefer to spend time on a dating site instead of meeting with friends, traveling or performing your work tasks, then you have an unhealthy attitude to online dating. It shouldn’t replace other pleasures of life because the online dating app is just a tool for meeting your soul mate. If you give the highest priority to it, it’s already a red flag.

5. You cannot stop online dating addiction. Things get tough when an addicted person meets a special one, and everything becomes more exclusive. It’s extremely difficult for an addicted person to delete their profile on a dating site. It doesn’t matter how great the new partner is because even after a perfect date with a perfect kiss, the first thing they want to do after coming home is to check their inbox and see how many messages they have received from other users. They have already forgotten about the initial goal.

online datingOnline dating addiction recovery

As it becomes clear from the above, online dating addiction is a dependence on casual contacts, flirting, sex without obligations and other evidence of one’s own attractiveness for other people. It depends on the identical repetitive situations, which do not allow the person to develop more deeply as well as to get offline experience.

Such a form of building personal communications is irresponsible and monotonous, and it does not contribute either to the emotional or spiritual development of a person. So, what are the stages of online dating addiction recovery?

Do everything gradually. Radical measures are rarely effective. If you decide to be done with online dating, you may be going cold turkey, and this only aggravates the problem. You will stop visiting dating sites, but the reasons that have forced you to do that will remain. The emotional state will worsen. It is possible that the "gap" that has arisen in life will be filled with a new addiction. You should gradually reduce the time spent on the Internet. Try turning off the computer or phone 10-20 minutes earlier than usual.

Think about the root causes of online dating addiction. Most likely, these are problems with socialization, inability to contact people and at the same time, the need for communication. It is almost impossible to solve them quickly. It is important for you to accept yourself as you are. Do not be afraid of failure or feel guilty about them. Read fiction and psychological books. This will help you understand yourself.

Find a hobby in real life. You should try to find something that will be interesting to you personally. It's good if it's sports or tourism. Physical activity has a beneficial effect on the body, and it strengthens the psyche. Long walks in the open air are also useful for online dating addiction recovery. It is important for you to gain strength because a long sitting in front of the screen has a negative impact on health.

Build on the success. If there are positive results and a decrease in the craving for the Internet, it is important to consolidate success. If you can avoid going to the dating site, do it even if you feel completely free from addiction. If your attempts to stop visiting the dating sites are vain, you should turn to a professional psychotherapist. Try to find a specialist for whom the treatment of Internet addiction is one of the main activities.

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