While dating is generally seen as a fun way to meet new people, get out, and while away an evening in the company of another person, many people jump into it without even considering the adverse effects it could have on their mental and physical health. For one thing, the advent of internet dating has opened an avenue for creeps of every stripe to take advantage of others almost anonymously. And then there are a wide variety of drugs to help them out. And of course there is always the infamous rejection to ruin your day (and date). Whether the negative side of dating rears its ugly head in ways that are dangerous or simply disappointing, how it affects your health can be an extremely serious matter.
- STDs. Despite vast educational resources and warnings via public service announcements, plenty of people still choose to have unprotected sex without checking the medical history of their partner. This is especially prevalent in young people who are dating (possibly due to the presence of alcohol or simply a lack of knowledge and experience). Whatever the case, sexually transmitted diseases continue to circulate and they can be a real turn-off to the world of dating, especially considering that some of the most common ones are incurable.
- Date Rape. This is probably the worst possible outcome of dating an unknown partner and can affect one in four women. The occurrence of date rape can be accompanied by the use of drugs like rohypnol (or flunitrazepam), a sedative that causes the victim to black out for a period of approximately eight to twenty-four hours. This is a good reason to date someone you know and trust (and always get your own drinks) rather than rolling the dice with an internet date.
- Stress. As anyone who has entered the dating scene knows, it can be extremely stressful. The social pressure attached to ritualized dating, including making a good impression, presenting an attractive physique and personality, being funny, and ultimately, finding a mate, can cause nervousness, anxiety, and a number of other symptoms, especially in those prone to apprehension.
- Rejection. Being rejected by a potential partner (especially if things seemed to be going well) can cause a number of negative side effects. For starters, it can be humiliating and even degrading, depending on how harsh the other person is in delivering the fateful news (and in offering “constructive” criticism). It can also lead to depression, eating disorders, and even body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Of course, these are pretty severe outcomes, but at the very least it can make you feel pretty miserable.
- Low self-esteem. Dating is tough. Between stress, rejection, and potentially harmful physical encounters, it’s a wonder anybody does it. And if several dating experiences are unsuccessful, it can lead to low self-esteem, which could usher in a host of problems, but mainly heralds feelings of unworthiness and depression. It can lead people to do things that they would never otherwise do in an effort to be accepted, and that could lead to potentially dangerous situations.