Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Stephanie Tong


Millions of emerging adults use mobile dating applications (MDAs) daily in their efforts to find a romantic partner. However, the processes these daters use to interpret and react to rejection have received little attention. Not every attempt to develop a relationship can be successful. As daters evaluate profiles on these apps and interact with potential partners, they may miscalculate their perceptions of compatibility hand encounter rejection. Within MDAs, rejection could be a passive or active declaration by an individual signifying they do not want to initiate or escalate a potential relationship. These various forms of rejection are conceptualized in this project as micro-rejections. This project uses qualitative methods to explore how heterosexual emerging adult mobile daters define and experience these speech acts in their attempts to develop relationships. After interviewing 41 daters, I identified differences in the way mobile daters classify and process rejection within their mobile dating interactions. These differences were influenced by a dater’s perceptions of affordances within dating applications and the emotional impact of micro-rejections within these spaces.

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