Dating apps promise to revolutionize romance by making it easier than ever to find love with just a swipe. As a concept, it’s perfect: love at the touch of your fingertips.

But how does this work out in real life?

Our study reveals that most Gen Z users are experiencing serious dating app fatigue. Let’s take a closer look at why this digital love affair might be on the rocks.

Key Takeaways

  • 99% of Gen Z are tired of dating apps, with only 1% reporting they aren’t, citing various reasons.
  • 53% of Gen Z are tired of dating apps because they’re not delivering on their promises — finding a lack of genuine connection, too many false matches, choice paralysis, and too much rejection instead of love.
  • A significant proportion of both men (34.40%) and women (31.28%) surveyed are experiencing burnout from constant screen time, leading to emotional distress.
  • Both men and women tend to treat these apps like a game (with women doing it more than men by 3%), but men tend to do it for validation, while women find entertainment in endless swiping.
  • While around 25% of both men and women are finding solace in dating app alternatives, 17.08% of women said they prefer IRL alternatives, and 16.26% of men gravitate toward online meet-cutes on other apps.
  • Among cities and regions, lack of genuine connection is the top concern for most.

Top 10 Reasons (99% of) Gen Z Is Tired of Dating Apps

Gen Z has been set apart from other generations due to many factors, mainly because they’ve grown up in the middle of a digital revolution and are the first generation to have had access to modern technology since they were born. This is closely followed by living their early twenties or mid-teens behind closed doors amidst a global pandemic.

 And while dating apps started as an exciting new way to meet people, our survey found that they’re seemingly becoming a tedious chore, at least for most young adults.

For Gen Z, the initial appeal of dating apps has worn off, replaced by a growing sense of frustration and fatigue for 99% of those surveyed. The reasons behind this shift are as varied as they are telling, painting a picture of a generation increasingly disillusioned with digital matchmaking. 

For half of Gen Zers surveyed, these apps have not delivered on expectations. Fake matches, rejection, choice paralysis, and the lack of genuine connection are not what people signed up for when they started swiping.

Dating apps have also morphed into ego-boosting platforms. Instead of genuine connection, people often find themselves chasing likes and matches just to feel validated. Additionally, endless swiping and constant notifications are leading to emotional and mental distress for one-third of Gen Z. 

The thrill of the swipe is wearing thin as people tire of the perpetual screen time. Here are some of the reasons why:

10 reasons Gen Z is over dating apps

It’s no surprise that emotional burnout and choice paralysis are among the reasons these apps are losing favor among daters. Studies show that even CEOs find it hard to make decisions when presented with too much data. 

So, how can Gen Z fare better?

The answer might be using more focused dating apps that cater to people with specific interests (or ones that genuinely deliver on what they promise).

That being said, validation-seeking behaviors pose a greater long-term threat to dating apps. While these behaviors keep people engaged in the short term, they undermine the core purpose of these platforms — forming genuine connections. 

As more people experience emotional burnout, they may abandon the apps and seek more authentic ways to meet people. That begs the question: Is the case the same for both men and women?

Men vs Women: Who’s Over What?

It turns out that men and women are navigating similar universes within dating apps. Their reasons for abandoning these platforms highlight echo experiences and expectations in the quest for love (or at least a decent first date). 

Let’s break down why each gender is feeling swiped out:

Why Gen Z is ditching dating apps

“Swiping for dates seems easy on the surface,” said Amber Brooks, Editor-in-Chief of DatingNews.com. “But anyone who has spent time on the swiping apps knows that it’s extremely difficult to get results when you’re surrounded by a carnival of distractions and false choices.”

Next, we’ll break down the main differences our survey uncovered between men and women.

Over 30% of Men are Experiencing Emotional and Mental Distress

For men, dating apps are a battlefield of validation, rejection, and the occasional existential crisis. The top reason men said they are over dating apps is that they find the experience is not what they were expecting — like a digital pat on the back, but instead of feeling uplifted, it leaves many feeling hollow. 

But men are not just tired of dating apps; they’re generally burned out from screen time. Swiping left and right becomes just another chore, blending into the endless scroll of social media feeds and work emails.

They also said they feel that other apps work better for finding dates; Instagram or TikTok can offer more authentic glimpses into someone’s life, making connections feel more genuine.

Unsurprisingly, rejection is another common pain point. The sting of unmatched messages or ghosted conversations adds up, chipping away at self-esteem and enthusiasm. In addition, encounters with fake profiles or people who are not looking for anything serious can make the whole process feel like a waste of time.

Most Women Are Tired of Apps, But Almost 40% Treat Them as a Game

For women, the story is slightly different, with a strong emphasis on using these apps as a form of entertainment. 

For 37% of those surveyed, swiping has become a casual pastime rather than a serious search for a partner. While it may provide a temporary ego boost, it often leads to a cycle of dependence on external approval, which can be mentally exhausting.

Digital fatigue also tops the women’s list, but the reasons dig deeper into the emotional toll. Women often feel overwhelmed by the constant screen time and the superficial nature of interactions. So, their alternative to dating apps is mainly IRL meet-cutes on other apps.

Rejection is also a common theme among women, pointing to the emotional toll of unreciprocated interest and ghosting.

The Bigger Picture

While both men and women said the apps aren’t delivering on their promises and that they’re experiencing emotional and mental distress, the nuances in their reasons reflect broader social and psychological dynamics. 

Men are often more concerned with validation, while women are more prone to use the apps as a form of entertainment, which leads to both genders treating dating as a game.

As emotional burnout continues to rise for both genders, it’s becoming clear that while technology offers convenience, it often falls short of facilitating profound human connections. 

Regional Roast: Who’s Hating on Apps the Most?

In American dating, regional differences paint a picture of frustration and disillusionment with dating apps. The leading reason for app fatigue across the board is the lack of genuine connection. But there’s more to it.

In the Northeast, the lack of genuine connection tops the list at a staggering 36.13%. Perhaps the hustle and bustle leave little room for meaningful interactions, making shallow digital encounters all the more disappointing. 

In a region where time is money, Northeasterners are particularly vexed by inauthentic profiles and catfishing, feeling their precious time is being wasted.

Midwesterners value authenticity and community, so it’s no surprise that lack of genuine connection and emotional burnout are major concerns. Validation-seeking behaviors are also prominent.

This aligns with the Midwest’s reputation for sincere and heartfelt interactions, which are often lacking in the digital dating world.

In the South, validation-seeking and digital fatigue are significant issues. The warmth of Southern hospitality doesn’t always translate to the digital realm, leaving our young generation feeling drained and unfulfilled. 

Meanwhile, digital fatigue and emotional burnout are prevalent out West, but the desire for genuine connections is the strongest contender.

Regional roast

Let’s see how this translates to cities around the US.

City Slickers vs. City Quitters

For urban dating dynamics — from the tech-savvy streets of San Francisco to the bustling avenues of New York — Gen Z is about done away with dating apps on every corner.

In Austin, Texas, residents are particularly peeved by too many false matches and the quest for validation. The city’s tech-savvy populace is perhaps more discerning about the authenticity of profiles, leading to higher dissatisfaction with fake accounts.

Denverites are facing a significant lack of genuine connection and digital fatigue. Surrounded by breathtaking nature, residents might find the superficiality of dating apps especially stark.

Although Los Angeles and New York are more closely related to a lively scene than to nature, they seem to have the same mindset.

From coast to coast, while each city brings its own flavor to the dating app experience, common themes of dissatisfaction prevail. Whether it’s the pursuit of authenticity or the weariness of screen time, urban dwellers across the nation are increasingly swiping left on the idea of finding love through their phones.

Is There Any Hope for These Apps?

Despite the challenges, dating apps still have the potential to rekindle their romance with Gen Z. The current frustrations don’t signal an inevitable breakup; instead, they present an opportunity for a much-needed makeover in the dating app industry. 

Ultimately, the future success of dating apps hinges on their ability to prioritize genuine connections and user well-being, fostering a sense of community and support. 

By evolving to meet these needs, dating apps can remain relevant and effective, rekindling their appeal to a generation that values authenticity and meaningful relationships.

Methodology & Sources

This study analyzed survey data from various regions and cities, focusing on the top reasons Gen Z users are ditching dating apps. The aim was to understand why this generation is seeking alternatives to find love.

Users aged 18-27 who are currently dating were asked, “Why, if for any reason, are you tired of using dating apps?” They were also asked to select all answers that apply.

The data was then segmented by gender and location to identify patterns and differences in user experiences.