It may be fun to swipe right when you see someone with a cute profile, but are dating apps really useful for finding a potential partner? Or are they just setting us up for disappointment, particularly in those with low self-esteem? Here, one of our expert psychologists Dr Catherine Sykes discusses the pros and cons to using dating apps and the best approach you should adopt when scrolling for a new love interest.

What are your thoughts on dating apps?

Relationships and the laws of attraction are full of patterns so it would make sense to develop algorithms to increase the chances of finding love. However, in the mathematics of love, the odds of finding long-term compatibility on an app alone can be slim. One problem with the apps is that it’s humans that use them! Humans are programmed to avoid rejections, but in using dating apps, you have to accept the risk of rejection as well as acceptance.

What are the pros and cons of dating apps?

Let’s look at the pros versus the cons:


  • They are convenient, people can search for prospective partners in a busy world.
  • Many dating apps are very popular, so the chance of meeting someone is increased with just a swipe of approval or a private message. This can help with confidence as you can practice the skill of talking to new people.
  • There are specific apps for different types of relationships, so the intent is transparent.


  • Human emotion isn’t neatly ordered, rational or easily predictable.
  • Low confidence could result in over-focus on rejections, which may lead to what psychologists call ‘maladaptive behaviours’, such as becoming too self-conscious.
  • In the avoidance of rejection, you may curate a profile that is similar to all other users, therefore you are actually increasing your competition and making it harder to stand out.
  • The approach to dating can become goal-focused as you search for criteria matches. As a result, little attention is paid to that unexplainable, hard to capture as data, human connection that we call chemistry. It’s a sense of chemistry that predicts the long-term success of a relationship.
Can dating apps be used to find love?

Absolutely, if the apps are used mindfully. Placing more emphasis on your unique qualities is the right step to create authentic connections which could result in a greater chance of finding love.

Additionally, people generally find partners when they are not fixated on meeting someone. Using dating apps in conjunction with being open to meeting people when you are not on the apps is a healthier and more relaxed approach towards dating.