Anxious and Available: How online dating can add extra stress to a college student’s already busy schedule

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Dating: it’s something that incurs both lots of excitement and lots of anxiety, especially for young adults. There’s such a thrill when you meet a potential new love interest and the sparks begin to fly.

You begin to measure your time based on when you’ll get to see them again, and you fly to check every notification on your phone in case it’s them, and then you end up majorly disappointed when it’s your mom asking if you got the socks she mailed you (sorry, Mom).

However, along with this thrill comes major anxiety. This is already a very nerve-wracking time in our lives, and dealing with the inherent ups and downs of dating on top of that can only add to our stress.

Technology has become an important part of our everyday lives. We use it for everything from music to directions to funny cat videos, and now technology has found its way into our dating lives as well.

Dating apps have risen in popularity recently, especially among college students. While there are upsides to dating apps, there can also be lots of negatives, particularly for people who want more serious relationships.

I recently tried dating apps for the first time, and it was a very enlightening experience for me, but I’m not sure if I would do it again. I wanted to experiment with the apps to understand the process a little bit more and to see what would happen.

At the beginning, I was nervous, but as I used the apps more and more, I got used to them, and eventually using them became almost like an addiction for me.

This became both dangerous and damaging for my mental health, my friendships and my overall well-being. As someone who has had a lifelong struggle with anxiety as well as other mental health challenges, these apps just fed the fire of my struggles.

On the one hand, I loved having tons of matches because it meant more relationship opportunities, but by the end I began to feel like I was running a never-ending conversation marathon and I despised how it made me feel.

My conversations began to blend together and feel meaningless and repetitive. For someone that craves deep conversations and meaningful connections, this became quite stressful and made me begin to lose hope in the legitimacy of dating apps.

College causes enough stress on its own, and adding these apps only amplified that. Just being in college enhances these problems, let alone adding an extra stressor like this. Lots of other college students deal with the same problems that I deal with, so dating apps may not be the best method of dating for them either.

In some circumstances, dating apps are ideal, such as for more casual relationships; however, in my case and for many others, this is more of an obstacle to dating than a helpful tool.

There is an expectation that many others are on dating apps as well, and that it is inevitable that it’s the way you’re going to meet people. Along with the expectations that many people are using dating apps as the main mode of meeting others, there is also the factor of time.

College students are notoriously busy, so there is an appeal to the quickness and straightforwardness that dating apps provide.

It’s definitely a good way to meet people you might not have otherwise met, both in college and in the outside world, but it can also distract from the potential relationships sitting right in front of you.

Caitlin M. is a Behind Closed Doors columnist and she would like to remind you that sometimes the most meaningful connections happen when you look up from your phone at who is right in front of you.