Dating can be daunting. Finding someone you truly connect with is tough, never mind finding someone you can genuinely see yourself settling down with to build a life together.

If this resonates with you and you’re single, chances are you’ve turned to online dating at one point or another. Perhaps you’ve trying it right now. After all, a greater and greater proportion of relationships are starting online. So why doesn’t that reality seem to be playing out when it comes to you?

You’re not alone in your frustration

Even back in 2019, the American Trends Panel found that 43% of singles felt dating wasn’t going well for them, and 47% said that dating was harder now than it had been 10 years prior. According to the survey, a third of all singles had turned to online dating—and that was four years ago. I’m certain that proportion will have only risen massively since then.

Interestingly, of those singles who feel that dating is harder now than it was just a decade ago, 41% actually attribute that to technology—quite the opposite effect of the convenience supposedly introduced into our lives by dating apps. For them, the ease of meeting new people is counterbalanced by the relatively low cost incurred for being fake online, either by misrepresenting oneself or by just downright catfishing your date (meaning to arrive looking absolutely nothing like your pictures).

Why does online rejection seem to hurt more?

The feeling of rejection can be palpable if you’ve had disappointing date after disappointing online date. Yet it’s important to understand that rejection is widespread in online dating—far more so than when people meet organically in real life. Why? Because online daters have access to a seemingly endless pool of potential partners. Opportunity appears to lie around every corner, and this can inculcate a false sense that there will always be someone better out there. This thinking is flawed—because how else would you ever settle down with someone?—but it’s undeniably enticing, too. And the numbers game affects you directly. Because the more dates you go on with different people, the greater the likelihood of you experiencing rejection in some form or another. That’s just statistics.

Unrequited romance hurts like hell—but in modern times it seems to be hurting more in its online manifestation. The sheer volume of potential partners apparently available amplifies the perceived rejection when you either fail to get the matches you want or else don’t connect with someone when you meet up in person.

What is the ‘rejection mindset’?

When we meet someone of romantic interest through a friend, we tend to ask why we should date them. But when singles evaluate lots of options in one go—as is the format with online dating—they tend to unconsciously adopt a ‘rejection mindset’, whereby they stop looking for the positives and instead ask only, ‘Why shouldn’t I date this person?’ This is in response to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the unfathomable number of dates on offer.

Psychological research shows that decision fatigue applies to dating just as it does to any other aspect of our lives. When we perceive there to be too many options for romance, we discriminate arbitrarily against those singles who are presented later on in the ‘sequence’. According to the psychologists in question, this explains online daters’ ‘low satisfaction and success with dating.’ They recommend limiting the number of profiles you review in one sitting to no more than 50—after which, they warn, ‘doom scrolling’ sets in, and you swipe nihilistically through faces having stopped caring either way about whether you match. Alternatively, of course, if you’ve have had enough of online dating yourself, well—we can help.

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.