Online Dating Is Depressing

Online Dating

7 Reasons Online Dating is Depressing (Plus 7 Ways to Change It)

Julie Spira

Written by: Julie Spira

Julie Spira

Julie Spira is a leading online dating expert and founder of She’s the bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating and creates irresistible profiles for singles.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Online dating is the most popular it’s ever been, and the numbers back it up. I often hear people asking “What site or app did you meet on?” instead of “How did you meet your new partner?”

A survey conducted by psychologists at Stanford University and the University of New Mexico showed that almost 40% of couples said they met each other online compared to 20% who reported meeting through friends.

Still, most singles don’t come to me as a dating coach to say they’re excited to go on three online dates a week for 52 weeks. Instead, I’m told they’ve tried online dating or dating apps and had a terrible experience or felt it just wasn’t working for them.

I’m here to tell you it can be a grind, but you’ll get through it. I promise. Here are some reasons why online dating might make you feel depressed. I’ve also included some ways you can change your mindset and strategies to help you fall into the arms of someone special.

1. Problem: It’s Too Much Work

I get it. You have a busy work schedule and logging in, swiping right, and trying to decipher if an online match is date-worthy can be exhausting and feel like a chore.

Solution #1: The bottom line is you wouldn’t stop looking for a job after three bad interviews without an offer, and you shouldn’t give up on online dating if three messages don’t result in a date. Being organized and focusing on your dream date or dream partner does take work, but it’s worth it.

2. Problem: You’re Not Finding Good Matches

As great as dating site algorithms are, it’s data in and data out. If you’re feeling disappointed with the quality of matches, it’s time to review your settings.

Photo of a woman on a laptop

Expand your search criteria to include different kinds of people and a wider geographic area.

Solution #2: Expand your search criteria to create a wider dating net. I suggest increasing your search area from 10 miles to 50 miles. The reason is, people will travel for love, move for love, and even give up the throne for love.

Limiting your search will result in an empty date card, and that’s not the goal of dating online. I suggest taking it a step further and stop looking for men who are 6’ tall or women who look like models. You can’t tell someone’s height when they’re sitting across the table from you on a date, and looks do fade. Take a leap of faith by not focusing solely on physical traits.

3. Problem: No One Writes Back to You

You’re logging on twice a day and making sure your app is open during peak hours in the evening, and you always write witty messages. However, just like the Beatles song, you’re getting “No Reply.”

Solution #3: Keep your first message short, and limit it to four sentences plus one question. Adding a question about what you’ve viewed in their profile shows that you’re serious about the process and took the time to get through the photos.

Photo of a man typing

Keep your first messages short, and always end with a question.

Often I suggest creating a pop quiz such as asking someone if they can identify who’s in a particular photo if you’ve posted one with a celebrity or asking them to guess the location of your travel spot.

It’s also a sure-fire way to get a reply, as people like to be smart enough to impress you by knowing the answer. And, if they ask what they get by answering the bonus question correctly, the best answer is “You get a date with me!”

4. Problem: Matches are Chatting But Won’t Meet IRL

Some people get a social media high experience when chatting with others on a dating app, but when it comes to scheduling a date, their calendar is booked. Then you end up becoming digital pen pals.

Photo of a person writing a letter

You’re probably not looking for a pen pal, so if someone won’t go on a first date after a couple of tries, it’s time to move on.

Solution #4: Weed out those who aren’t moving the process along and scheduling or accepting a date. Maybe they’re too busy with work, are juggling others in rotation, or just like the ego boost of having multiple people to chat with.

If someone can’t stick to scheduling and keeping a date, they aren’t for you. But, if you think you’ve found someone who may click with you, suggest two dates and two different locations, and see if one gets on the calendar. If not, move on to someone who’s excited about meeting you.

5. Problem: You Keep Getting Ghosted

Ghosting is a serious problem

and has become an epidemic among singles. These days, over 90% of singles have either been ghosted or have ghosted someone. We know it’s cowardly, but can it be prevented?

Photo of a ghost

Feel free to let your dates know that you aren’t a fan of ghosting, so hopefully they won’t do that to you.

Solution #5: Bumble is on an anti-ghosting campaign, and most of us are tired of dates turning into Casper. The best way not to get ghosted is to avoid ghosting someone when you’re not feeling it.

Call it a tit for tat, but it’s fine to bring up ghosting when you’re on a date. Ask your date if it’s ever happened to them and how they felt about it. Take the high road and let them know you have an anti-ghosting rule when it comes to dating.

6. Problem: Your Date Didn’t Look Like His or Her Photo

One of the most common complaints I get from my clients is that, when they finally meet in person, their date doesn’t look like his or her photo. This is something daters say is among their biggest concerns, so I recommend posting current photos and hope there’s truth in advertising, so you won’t feel like your date was a waste of time.

Photo of a caveman on a laptop

A lot of people don’t post recent photos on their dating profile, so try finding them on social to see what they currently look like.

Solution #6: Since many singles don’t post their actual age on their profiles, ask them when the photos were taken when you compliment them on that great shot. And make it conversational, so they can see that you’re curious and not putting them through a deposition.

You can take it a step further on your own by viewing their social media profiles; you’ll notice current photos. If they match up, you’re in great shape. If they don’t, then perhaps you should cancel the date and find someone who won’t disappoint you when you meet in person.

I also recommend captioning your photos with the month and year, so matches can see how current your photos are.

7. Problem: You’ve Been on Too Many One-and-Done Dates

Since one-and-done dates are the norm, often people either cancel dates or don’t actually book dates because they don’t expect to see the person again.

While it’s true that most couples don’t get to a second or third date, you can’t let this demoralize you.

Photo of a canceled event on a calendar

If you want to go on a second date with someone, tell them on the first date and plan something soon.

Solution #7: I believe a first date should be a meet and greet, and you shouldn’t add the pressure of projecting to the future. If your goal includes putting a second date on the calendar, then let the person know you enjoyed meeting them and would like to see them again.

Instead of keeping it open ended by saying “I’ll call you” at the end of the date, open up your calendars on your smartphones and find a future date that works for both of you. Knowing that you have firm plans in place at the end of your first date will help you avoid the one-and-done syndrome that plagues singles looking for love online.

Positivity and Effort Go a Long Way!

Remember, online dating is a numbers game, and the number of singles using dating sites and apps is the highest it’s ever been. For this reason, I suggest kicking the frustrating feelings you’ve harbored to the curb in favor of these seven solutions for having a better experience in the digital dating world.

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