It can be tough out there in the dating world. Looking for love in a time marred by a pandemic, financial insecurity and a climate crisis to boot is just next-level unusual and stress or anxiety is bound to pop up from time to time. We all struggle with difficult bouts and mental health challenges impact far more people than you might expect – yes, even that dreamy individual you just matched with on a dating app.
While it may be tempting to brush over conversations about mental health, recent data from Hinge highlighted that 97% of singles on the app would prefer to date someone who actively takes care of their mental health. Additionally, it shared that 86% of users reported they are more likely to go on a second date with someone who mentioned on the first date that they go to therapy.
In short: therapy is hot, people.
We chatted with Hinge’s Director of Relationship Science, Logan Ury, over email to get a little more insight into the way our relationship with mental health can help and hinder romantic relationships. Here’s what she had to say.
Why has therapy, and talking about mental health, become such an attractive quality for singles on dating apps?
On the topic of dating app users showing a growing interest in potential partners who have a healthy relationship with therapy, Ury thinks COVID-19 has had a bit of an influence here, and a positive one at that.
She shared that “The pandemic forced us to spend time alone and question our values and behaviour. This self-reflection inspired many singles to become more intentional about who they are, and reassess what’s important to them in life and their relationships”.
In short, she explained that people are increasingly uninterested in games and hollow connections.
“Singles who are prioritising more meaningful connections now want to find someone who’s ‘done the work,’ and is ready to connect in a deeper, more authentic way,” Ury said.
What are some green mental health flags to take note of?
If you’re one of the above-mentioned people who is looking to connect with singles who are committed to prioritising good mental health practices, communicating well and just building strong relationships in general, Ury pointed out there are some green flags to take note of.
They’re a good communicator: Communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. It’s crucial that you can express how you feel and what you’re looking for. Good communication skills will help you navigate the inevitable hard times.
They share openly about their mental health journey: Our research at Hinge shows that singles want to date someone who has “done the work” and is investing in their mental health. That might mean discussing some bad habits you’ve broken recently, sharing an insight you had after a month of not drinking, or sharing some books you’ve been reading to help you feel more present.
They don’t judge you: If you choose to share about something you’re struggling with, do they meet you with curiosity or judgment? Part of finding the right partner is finding someone who accepts all of you — and that includes your mental health struggles.
And if the stress of dating feels too much?
There are times when all the swiping, the chatting, and the failed first dates can get to be a bit much. If you’re feeling burnt out by your dating app routine, Ury suggests taking some time to focus on yourself and your mental well-being before diving back in.
She shared the below dating mental health tips:
Take a break when you need to: If you feel like you need to take a break, do it. Taking a break doesn’t mean you can’t move closer to finding someone. You can spend time doing a self-audit of your dating history, developing a new hobby that you can talk about when you get back out there, and investing in your mental health using tools like meditation and journaling.
When you’re ready, allow yourself to ease back into dating: Get back out there at your own pace. Venturing back into dating is like learning to walk again. Take your time. And don’t feel like you need to go on tons of dates all of a sudden. Put some dating training wheels on and go on fewer, better dates. Remember, dating is a marathon, not a sprint!
Be compassionate with yourself: If you feel like you’ve hit a wall, it’s not just you. 51% of Hinge users are feeling more anxious about finding someone than they were before the pandemic. Understand that what you’re going through is normal.
All in all, the general message here is that singles on dating apps are overwhelmingly eager to meet people who are working on themselves every day (like so many of us are) and there is no shame in talking openly about that. In fact, it’s likely to win you a second date.