Online Dating Burnout and Emotional Fatigue Data (2023 Study)

Since the inception of online dating over two decades ago, the use of technology in the matchmaking process has proven to be quite effective—but at what cost? For transparency, we’re not here to say that online dating is bad, but we do think it’s important to ask the question. Specifically, this study looks at the potential effects online dating apps may have on causing or exacerbating feelings of burnout and emotional fatigue. We polled 1,000 singles aged 18-54 in the US who had used at least one online dating app in the past year to begin exploring the possible link.

Key Takeaways

Additional Key Takeaways

  • Almost 90% of people say they felt the need to take a break from online dating (89.80%).
  • Men were more likely than women to use alcohol to cope with the stress of online dating; women were more likely than men to use stress eating to cope with the stress of online dating.

Table of Contents

Who We Asked – Brief Methodology

The study looked at 1,000 people aged 18-54 who live in the United States and who have used at least one online dating app within the last 12 months. Respondents were evenly distributed between four age brackets (18-24, 25-34, 35-44, and 45-54) with an equal number of men and women in each subsection. The study asked four main questions, three of which were single-answer and one of which allowed respondents to answer multiple answers.

The four main questions asked were:

  1. Have you ever experienced feelings of emotional fatigue or burnout from online dating?
  2. Have you ever sought out professional help as a result of online dating (therapy, counseling, etc.)?
  3. Have you ever felt the need to take a break from online dating?
  4. Have you ever used any of the following methods to cope with the stress of online dating? (multiple answer options provided)

Additionally, respondents were provided a list of 19 of the most popular dating apps and asked which of these they had used in order to give a better picture of the apps represented in the study. Here are the responses to that question:

Chart showing which dating apps were used by the study respondents

Here are a few additional considerations we wanted to share about the data.

  • Polled users were required to answer whether or not they had used a dating app within the last 12 months prior to taking the survey. If they answered “No”, they were excluded from the study.
  • There was an even number of males and females in each age bracket polled for the study. (Example: 125 women aged 18-24 and 125 men aged 18-24).
  • For all questions except the question about coping mechanisms, the answers were in order from more severe to least severe as they are listed above. For the coping mechanisms question, answers were randomized for respondents.

Online Dating Burnout Results

The main objective of this study was to determine if single adults in America using dating apps have experienced burnout or emotional fatigue as a result. Below, you’ll find our key takeaways from the data, as well as the raw data parsed by age group and gender.

Study Question: Have you ever experienced feelings of emotional fatigue or burnout from online dating?

The four answer choices were:

  • Yes, and it was severe
  • Yes, and it was moderate
  • Yes, and it was mild
  • No, never

Key Takeaways – Dating App Burnout

  • Nearly 4 out of 5 said they have experienced emotional fatigue or burnout from using online dating apps (79.1%).
  • Burnout from dating apps was worse amongst younger groups with the highest percentage of severe feelings of burnout or emotional fatigue in the 25-34 year old age bracket.
  • Females were more likely than males to experience dating app burnout overall (81.40% to 76.80%, respectively). Additionally, females were also more likely than males to experience severe feelings of burnout or emotional fatigue (16.40% to 14.40%, respectively).

Overall Results – Dating App Burnout

RespondentsYes, severeYes, moderateYes, mildNo, never
All15.40%39.70%24.00%20.90%

Results by Age – Dating App Burnout

RespondentsYes, severeYes, moderateYes, mildNo, never
18-2414.40%44.40%24.40%16.80%
25-3418.40%44.80%20.00%16.80%
35-4416.40%37.20%23.60%22.80%
45-5412.40%32.40%28.00%27.20%

Results by Gender – Dating App Burnout

RespondentsYes, severeYes, moderateYes, mildNo, never
Male14.40%40.20%22.20%23.20%
Female16.40%39.20%25.80%18.60%

Singles Seeking Therapy and Counseling Results

The next factor our study aimed to look at was if any of the users who had experienced these feelings of burnout or emotional fatigue chose to seek professional help in the form of therapy, counseling, or something comparable.

Study Question: Have you ever sought out professional help as a result of online dating (therapy, counseling, etc.)?

The two answer choices they had to choose from were:

  • Yes
  • No

Key Takeaways – Seeking Professional Help

  • Nearly 1 in 3 people in the study said they had sough out professional help as a result of online dating (27.20%).
  • Men were more likely than women to seek out professional help as a result of online dating (29.60% to 24.80%, respectively).
  • Users aged 45-54 were the least likely to seek out professional help as a result of online dating (19.40%).

Overall Results – Seeking Professional Help

Respondents
YesNo
All27.20%72.80%

Results by Age – Seeking Professional Help

RespondentsYesNo
18-2428.40%71.60%
25-3430.00%70.00%
35-4432.00%68.00%
45-5418.40%81.60%

Results by Gender – Seeking Professional Help

Respondents
YesNo
Male29.60%70.40%
Female24.80%75.20%

Taking a Break From Online Dating Results

Often, we hear anecdotal stories of online dating app users needing to take a break from the process. This question looked to see how many users have ever felt the need to take a break from online dating.

Study Question: Have you ever felt the need to take a break from online dating?

The four answer choices they had to choose from were:

  • Yes, often
  • Yes, occasionally
  • Yes, rarely
  • No, I have never felt the need to take a break from online dating

Key Takeaways – Taking a Break

  • Nearly 9 out of10 people polled said that they had felt the need to take a break from online dating (89.80%)
  • Females were more likely than males to feel the need to take a break from online dating (91.80% to 87.80%, respectively).
  • 1 in 3 females felt the need to take a break from online dating often compared to only 1 in 4 males (33.00% to 24.80%, respectively).
  • Users aged 18-24 were the most likely to feel the need to take a break from online dating to some degree (92.80%).

Overall Results – Taking a Break

RespondentsYes, oftenYes, occasionallyYes, rarelyNo, never
All28.90%48.20%12.70%10.20%

Results by Age – Taking a Break

RespondentsYes, oftenYes, occasionallyYes, rarelyNo, never
18-2428.00%50.40%14.40%7.20%
25-3433.20%44.00%10.80%12.00%
35-4426.40%53.20%10.40%10.00%
45-5428.00%45.20%15.20%11.60%

Results by Gender – Taking a Break

RespondentsYes, oftenYes, occasionallyYes, rarelyNo, never
Male24.80%48.20%14.80%12.20%
Female33.00%48.20%10.60%8.20%

How Users Cope With Dating App Stress Results

In addition to understanding how dating apps affect burnout and emotional fatigue, we wanted to try and understand how some users were choosing to cope with the stress of dating. While it would be impossible to list all the possible ways that people cope with this stress, we did list several that we thought would be more common or more impactful to be aware of. Users were able to select multiple answers to this question as well as none of the above, if applicable.

Study Question: Have you ever used any of the following methods to cope with the stress of online dating?

The seven answer choices they had to choose from were:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Exercise
  • Smoking
  • Stress eating
  • Talking to friends/family
  • None of the above

Key Takeaways – Coping Strategies

  • Nearly 42% of users admitted to using drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress of online dating (41.90%).
  • Users aged 25-34 were the most likely to use alcohol to cope with the stress of online dating (38.80%).
  • The percentage of males and females who use smoking to cope with the stress of online dating were nearly identical (30.60% to 30.00%, respectively).

Overall Results – Coping Strategies

MethodAll Respondents
Alcohol29.90%
Drugs12.00%
Exercise38.60%
Smoking30.30%
Stress Eating25.30%
Talking to Friends/Family43.20%

Results by Age – Coping Strategies

Method18-2425-3435-4445-54
Alcohol24.00%38.80%30.00%26.80%
Drugs9.60%18.40%12.40%7.60%
Exercise44.80%44.00%40.80%24.80%
Smoking23.20%30.80%34.80%32.40%
Stress Eating29.60%25.60%29.20%16.80%
Talking to Friends/Family50.00%48.00%38.40%36.40%

Results by Gender – Coping Strategies

MethodMaleFemale
Alcohol34.20%25.60%
Drugs13.20%10.80%
Exercise41.80%35.40%
Smoking30.60%30.00%
Stress Eating19.60%31.00%
Talking to Friends/Family40.60%45.80%

Written By: Healthy Framework Team

The Healthy Framework team has a combined 50+ years of experience in the online dating industry. Collectively, the team has reviewed over 300 dating apps and is known as one of the leaders in the relationship advice and information space. The team’s work has been featured on The Economist, People Magazine, Parade, Women’s Health, Her Campus, and more.