4 Ways to Avoid Sabotaging Your Mental Health While on Dating Apps

A hand swiping on the Bumble dating app.

When I joined the online dating scene in 2011, I strategically crafted my profile with the right keywords, phrases, and photos that I thought would grant me the best chance of landing a date, and hopefully, a long-term relationship that would end in marriage. It was challenging to accept this new level of vulnerability and publicly announce that I’m single, looking, and by the way, would you please pick me?

Dating apps like Bumble represent some of the highest-grossing social experiences in app stores worldwide. Bumble’s $1 billion valuation comes as it surpassed $100 million in revenue in 2017. It reached these heights by offering something different to the dating app experience: letting the other party initiate the conversation.

Dating in the modern era is a process that requires patience as you swipe, click, and message your way through a sea of potential significant others. To safeguard your mental health from the first day you create your profile, follow these key guidelines as you navigate dating apps.

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Our Relationship Expert Gets Real With Your Questions About Love

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Relationships are complex, and require a great amount of effort between two people, one or both of which may be working through mental health challenges. We recently asked Talkspace Instagram followers to share their burning questions about relationships, specifically in a mental health context.

Talkspace’s relationship expert, clinical psychologist Iris Reitzes, PhD, kindly lent her expertise to help answer your important questions.

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8 Red Flags to Look Out for When Dating

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We’ve probably all experienced — and ignored — red flags while dating. It’s so easy to get swept up in the novelty and excitement of seeing someone new that we’re blind to the not-so-great things going on.

It’s one thing if you’re just looking for someone to casually hook up with — but if you want a real relationship, if you want things to get serious and take things to the next level, you need to be willing to take a step back, wipe the hearts out of your eyes, and get real.

Here are 8 red flags you should look out for if you’re trying to make something blossom into a serious relationship.

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The Chemistry Behind Summer Flings (and How to Enjoy Them)

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Sandy and Danny from Grease aren’t the only ones who’ve experienced getting friendly down in the sand on romantic summer nights. Something about summer love makes it unlike any other type of romance we experience.

There are a lot of reasons summer flings are so popular and so intense. Long walks on the beach, sharing ice cream cones, late night skinny dips, cuddling in bed with the air conditioner on full blast — what’s not to love? Not to mention, summer flings are way more exhilarating than those of lazy winter cuffing season.

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How Schizoaffective Disorder Has Affected My Relationships

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I’m 30 years old, and for many years, the longest relationship I had to date was in middle school — it lasted six months.

I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder at age 19. Schizoaffective disorder is thought to be a unique combination of schizophrenia and a mood disorder like bipolar, presenting with symptoms like difficulty communicating, episodes of depression, delusions, and even hallucinations. It presents differently from person to person, and there’s still a lot to be learned about it. Though it has negatively impacted my life in many ways, it’s been especially difficult to navigate in my social life.

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7 Truths About Love to Remember This Valentine’s Day

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If we were to ask pop culture what the ideal relationship looked like, most of us would expect an image of fireworks in the sky with that one and only person who completes us. Romantic comedies may be uplifting, and love songs beautiful, but much of what we learn about relationships early on sets us up for unrealistic expectations.

The result? We never feel like our relationships are good enough, and may doubt if we’re deserving of love.

Holidays like Valentine’s Day can exacerbate these worries. Social media often makes it seem like everyone else is coupled and in an ecstatic state of love. If we’re partnered, we may wonder if our relationship is as good as everyone else’s seems to be. And if we’re single, we may feel even more inadequate.

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8 Ways Being Single is Great for Your Mental Health

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Let’s get one thing straight: Being single doesn’t mean you’re going to be forever alone. If nothing else, being single is a learning experience — one that happens to be good for your mental health, believe it or not.

So stop stressing over those seemingly endless (and cliché) “I SAID YES!” posts everyone shares on Instagram, and start appreciating the benefits of single life. Here are some ways being single is actually beneficial to your mental well-being.

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Dating Someone With Social Anxiety: 6 Tips from a Therapist

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It’s hard to have social anxiety. You feel like everyone is judging you, and you’re frequently uncomfortable in your own skin. It can also be difficult to date someone who suffers from social anxiety. Sometimes it can seem like your life is being constricted in ways you didn’t sign up for, and that issue can lead to resentment and irritation. Here are some tips to keep in mind when your partner has social anxiety, so the relationship can withstand the pressure of this disorder.

1. Try Hard to Empathize With Your Partner

You may not have social anxiety, but do you have any other issues you wish you didn’t have, or that you are actively working on improving? Most people wish they were different in some way or other. For instance, if you struggle with ADHD, it is useful to compare the conditions in your mind, saying, “I don’t try to forget things, and my partner isn’t trying to be scared of social situations. We both struggle.” Continue reading Dating Someone With Social Anxiety: 6 Tips from a Therapist

Ask a Therapist: Anxiety is Tearing My Boyfriend and I Apart

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Talkspace is pleased to continue our advice column, this week with therapist Dr. Samantha Rodman. Send your mental health questions for Samantha to [email protected].

Dating Drama writes,

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost three months. In the beginning, everything was perfect, but then it’s like a huge storm came and destroyed our relationship. I am trying to help him deal with his severe anxiety, and we constantly fight all day. He accuses me of doing things wrong when I do nothing. I understand I have flaws and faults from the past (before we were together), but I am not the same person as I was when he first met me. I’m constantly being insulted and being accused of these ridiculous things. He even blamed me for what someone else posted on their social media. Continue reading Ask a Therapist: Anxiety is Tearing My Boyfriend and I Apart

How to Manage Social Anxiety When Meeting Your SO’s Friends

man with girlfriend her friends in living room

My first experience meeting a significant other’s close friends was like being thrown into the lion’s den. I’m from a small rural town and had recently moved to a city. The group I was diving into was a suburban clique that had known each other since childhood.

I was in an unfamiliar place. People asked me lots of questions. I drank to relax. Long story short, it was awful.

Just getting out and dating with social anxiety comes with its own set of pitfalls and requires both courage and commitment. Now that you’ve jumped that hurdle, getting serious means meeting friends and family. This step of relationship growth can be a big social anxiety trigger.

Over the years, I searched for ways to make the best of meeting my partner’s friends, much to the benefit of the authors of the books I bought and therapist I paid. The following tips are what I learned and will help you have the best experience possible when meeting your significant other’s close friends or family. Before we dive in, my tips assume your partner knows about your social anxiety, your symptoms, and is committed to supporting you. If that’s not the case, that should be your first step. Continue reading How to Manage Social Anxiety When Meeting Your SO’s Friends

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