Dating burnout, the exhaustion of app users during the pandemic

Dating burnout, the exhaustion of app users during the pandemic

Relationship apps boomed in the number of users during the pandemic. However, the impossibility of taking the conversation beyond the screens, due to the risks, caused a phenomenon of exhaustion known as dating burnout. How is the future of love relationships?

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The process tends to be the same. Through the app, you find people with common interests. If the “saint” (or the algorithm) hits, you start a conversation that extends until you feel safe and willing to make an appointment at a bar, cinema or restaurant.

Then, it’s like in any relationship – it can work and go on or end there. This process, more and more frequent in recent years with the popularity of dating, was abruptly interrupted by the pandemic. The singles found themselves half lost with the impossibility of leaving home. After all, it is hard to start a long distance relationship and it is also difficult not to even flirt in so many months of isolation.

Therefore, despite the prejudice of many with the virtual resource, it became the best solution for the period. Architect Georgia *, 24, had been single for three years. Earlier this year, he engaged a novel, but nothing was made official. The arrival of the pandemic increased the uncertainty of the meetings, causing the partnership to cool.

“I needed to get over it and my friends insisted so much that in May I decided to download Bumble. As only women can chat in this application, I thought I would avoid the insistent types ”, she says. Just over a month later, Georgia felt completely drained from online xaveco.

“I was unable to develop a fluid conversation with anyone, although I had met guys who seemed to be interesting. Without being able to meet in person, it is challenging to maintain the connection. I spent more than two weeks just giving likes, without even talking to those who gave match. The feeling of exhaustion was real ”, he says.

This feeling of the architect and many other people in similar situations was called dating burnout. The excessive use of apps it can cause side effects similar to those of Burnout syndrome, such as physical and mental exhaustion, besides leaving people depressed because they feel ineffective in building a lasting bond.

A survey of the Happn application for August shows that 60% of users spent several hours a day connected and 78.4% used more than one application simultaneously. “The virtual was an ease, especially in the last few months. At the same time, it is complex to be bombarded by so many stimuli; it wears us out.


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There are more profiles and it is difficult to focus with so many options ”, says Carla Françoia, psychologist and professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná. Higher availability generates fire, initials of fear of missing out (fear of being left out), that is, while talking to a crush, the person thinks he is giving up knowing another more interesting one.

The obstacle

Priscila Ohara, 29, ended a long relationship at the beginning of the pandemic and returned to applications. However, as he lives with his parents, who are at risk, he did not have the courage to leave. “I met some nice guys. With two of them, I even set dates by video call, but after a while the subject died. And men seem more eager to meet in person, ”says she, who admits to getting tired of apps a few times. “I delete it, but then I download it again, because it’s the only way out now, even though I don’t like it very much,” he adds.

We must not look for someone to fill us. This causes frustration in all types of relationships, whether initiated virtually or not ”

Carla Françoia, psychologist

It is not only at this stage that a possible relationship is broken. Reports of conversations that are nothing more than “Hi, how are you?” they are also quite common. According to Adriana Nunan, psychologist and author of the book Love Relationships in the Digital Age (Editora dos Editores), this is due to the fact that most people do not really want to develop a relationship, but just feel desired.

In other words, the match serves to inflate the ego. At Happn, according to the aforementioned study, 81.4% of users spend much more time liking than chatting and 94.3% say it is increasingly difficult to have meaningful chats. “People submit to this because they place their happiness on others and need this validation”, he explains.

There are those who, unlike Georgia, decided to take a step forward in the relationship. The artist Daniela * was involved with a person when the isolation measures were announced in São Paulo, where she lives. As the relationship was going well, the couple decided to live together, in her house, to reduce coming and going.

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This was the option of many peers, so much so that the practice gained the name of corona cuffing, something like bonding the corona. “It was the best solution for us. I never liked to stay for months before I started dating, and he is the same ”, he says.

420% was the increase in invitations to leave on the Inner Circle app in August

In another step

With the recent easing of the isolation in some cities, the change in behavior among app users can already be noticed. In August alone, invitations to meetings grew 420% on the Inner Circle app, while conversations about “coronavirus” and “quarantine” decreased considerably, giving rise to chats about “need”, “sex” and the recurring use of the expression “eyes to eyes”.

Businesswoman Luana *, 49, finally decided to go out with two people she met in the apps during the pandemic. She chose to link the application to her LinkedIn account so that suggestions for crushes had professional profiles similar to hers and to increase the probability of having friends in common with the other user, factors that Luana values.

Even so, the businesswoman considers it unlikely to develop something more solid for now “I can’t just stay online anymore and I don’t think it’s safe to go out with a lot of people; so I reduced the use of the tool. In addition, I am working hard and ended up accumulating unread messages, which left me lazy ”, he admits.


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Professor Patrícia Schatz, 35, took advantage of her free time out of traffic to focus on Tinder, which she had been using sporadically since the beginning of the year. She doesn’t even start the conversation if the person doesn’t have interests similar to yours.

The increase in the use of this type of filter was observed in other social networking applications, such as Badoo, in which a specific tool for filtering tastes started to be used 2.8 times more in the last months. Thus, it is easier to establish a connection, which resulted in an 11% improvement in the quality of matches, with more extensive conversations.

“After a while, I decided to accept going out with some guys as long as the chat was good and they were fulfilling the isolation right. You can see if this is true after a period of online conversations ”, explains Patrícia. Some people made this criterion even more obvious by stating in the profile description terms like “Corona-free” or “Covid-free”, pointing out that a possible date would be safe.

What will become of tomorrow

If you identified with this fatigue of virtual dating, know that all is not lost. You don’t have to abandon applications altogether. The recommended is to make a detox from the nets for a while, until you feel ready to return. Try to restrict yourself to one or two apps at most. Remember: the more options, the more difficult it is to choose.

“Also try to be very clear about what you are looking for in a partner and what your tastes are. This requires a lot of reflection, but with this focus, it will be easier to meet someone with whom the exchange can evolve into something cool ”, explains Carla. Adriana also suggests looking at only ten profiles at a time. “There are studies that show that, starting from the tenth, we no longer pay attention to what we are doing. Give it time before you continue, ”says the psychologist.

In this period of withdrawal from the networks, dedicate yourself to a deep dive to truly understand your relationship with the applications. “Many women suffer from the social expectation of having a long-term relationship because there is a very strong discourse and culture that only then will we be complete. We must not look for someone to fill us. This causes frustration in all types of relationships, whether initiated virtually or not, ”explains Carla.

It is difficult to predict the future of online flirting, but most respondents for this article believe that apps will continue to be useful in post-pandemic life. Fatigue can become a stimulus for people to return to them more focused and with clear intentions.

With these factors defined, the apps’ function would even be enhanced – instead of ending up in so much energy waste. “I don’t intend to abandon applications for good, even when we can go out and meet people in other ways. For me, they are one more possibility to find someone nice. The experience can be very rich; it depends on how often you are, ”says Luana.

* Names changed at the interviewees’ request

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