Psychotherapist Says Using Online Dating Sites Can Lead to Depression

by on January 8th, 2015
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Anne Rettenberg, author of “Finding the Woman You Want: A Therapist’s Advice for Men Looking for a Permanent Relationship” and psychotherapist from New York City says in a recent column in Psychology Today that she has begun advising her patients to stop using online dating sites because the constant rejection experienced by many of them has led to depression in some cases.

Rettenberg says that from her perspective, stories that lead to happy endings after meeting using online dating sites are far outnumbered by people who find rejection more than anything else. And while the rejection isn’t necessarily nasty, it is rampant. Statistics would surely back her up. Most people who meet other people via an online dating site do not wind up as a couple. That means one or the other or both would up rejecting the other. That’s how dating works. People meet, then if they both like what they see, they go out again. In real life this is generally a rather slow, long and sometimes tedious process. With online dating however, the number of dates over any given time frame is usually limited only by the wishes of those that sign on for such a service. And because most people are anxious to find someone, or they wouldn’t be on the site in the first place, they wind up going out with a lot of people over very short time frames. And then, when none of those meetings pan out, the feelings of rejection begin to pile up until it leads to full blown rejection.

Of course this isn’t always how it goes; some people seem to take the opposite road. Instead of asking what is wrong with themselves, they ask what is wrong with everyone else. They see themselves as highly attractive or desirable and blame the online service for hooking them up with the wrong people. And while there may be some underlying doubt that can also lead to depression, there is also the impact these people have on those they date and then reject.

Rettenberg says the danger of depression developing from online dating sites appears worse for men because when a man asks a woman out, he can conjure all sorts of reasons that she might say no, thus soothing his ego. But when it happens as a result of a dating site, there’s no way to look at it but that she just doesn’t find him appealing, and when this happens over and over it can wreak havoc with his self-confidence.

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