Rx for love: The best dating apps for busy residents

By Alpana Mohta, MD, DNB, FEADV, FIADVL, IFAAD | Fact-checked by Barbara Bekiesz
Published January 15, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Residents work an exhausting 60–80 hours each week, leaving little time for dating.

  • Fortunately, dating apps exclusively for doctors exist, designed by HCPs who understand the challenges of the physician profession.

  • These apps connect like-minded individuals in the medical field, offering new possibilities for finding love amidst the demands of medicine.

Let's talk about those glamorous portrayals of doctors on TV. Their hair? Flawless. Their lab coats? Immaculate. They make diagnoses faster than you can say "scrubs," and their treatments are always successful. They have no trouble balancing their personal and professional lives, and they fall in love easily... Dream on—if only real life was that glamorous and effortless!

As physicians, our lives are caught in a whirlwind of sleepless nights, never-ending stacks of medical records, and ice-cold meals. By now, we have turned down more family get-togethers and outings with friends than we care to count. 

No time for love?

The demanding stages of doctors' training—especially during residency, in your 20s and early 30s—often clash with the ideal timing for finding a life partner and starting a family. Long hours, irregular schedules, and the constant need to be on call leave little room for love.

A 2018 national resident survey revealed that only 34.2% of residents had work schedules that could accommodate a personal life.[] Most worked over 60 hours weekly, and nearly 20% worked 80 hours or more.

A qualitative study published in Academic Medicine found that resident doctors’ commitment to their medical careers significantly impacted their relationships.[] The demands of their profession often resulted in less time for loved ones, prompting them to make adjustments. One of the participants recalled, “You tend not to make commitments. Or if you do make commitments, you tell the person that there’s a chance you may not be there.”

Many respondents believed their loved ones should understand and accept these compromises. Another participant expressed, “You have to sort of prioritize your family, your significant other, and other people who you’re much closer with, and after scheduling them in between call and your clinical duties, you may not have as much time to spend with other people.“

When it comes to male doctors, their profession alone can be enough to attract attention and interest. However, for female physicians, society often stereotypes them as intimidating, making it harder for them to find love.

Consequently, professional women have been known to downplay their abilities and achievements during the early stages of dating.

Amidst all this chaos, the demanding nature of the medical profession leaves doctors—regardless of their gender—with little bandwidth to actively pursue a romantic relationship or go on dates.

Finding love in the digital age

Who better to support a doctor as a life partner than a colleague? Enter DownToDate, ForeverX, and Miss Doctor—dating apps designed exclusively for doctors by doctors who understand the challenges of their fast-paced lives. In a world where time is limited, these apps provide a space for doctors to meet like-minded individuals. 


DownToDate, a dating app exclusively for qualified physicians, was created by Robin Boyer, MD, MBA, and Celestine Odigwe, MD, in response to the isolation experienced by their colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic.[] 

DownToDate first verifies users' qualifications and then allows doctors to connect with single colleagues who understand the demands of a medical career. Its filters include location, training level, specialty, and conventional dating preferences to cater to the unique needs of these professionals. 

DownToDate has become the go-to platform for physicians to find like-minded partners by eliminating uncertainties and streamlining the dating process.


Shivani Shah, DO, a pediatric neurology resident at Duke University, came up with a similar idea. With her brother, Sagar Shah, the two researched the dating market within their personal networks and received overwhelming interest from over a thousand physicians—across genders or sexual orientations. 

Armed with insights from their research, they launched their app, ForeverX, in 2021. Today, it boasts over 5,000 verified users—and to combat the issue of deceptive profiles, ForeverX implemented a rigorous verification system. 

Dr. Shah acknowledges the flaws in traditional dating apps, emphasizing the value of meeting people naturally to forge lasting connections. The app aims to facilitate real-life dates, prioritizing the human connection often lost in virtual interactions. She also recognizes the importance of specific requirements, such as the desire for children—particularly for female doctors in their 30s—and strives to accommodate these needs within the app.

Miss Doctor

Ifie Williams, MD, a psychiatrist in Washington, DC, recognized the need for a more efficient dating platform for ambitious women in medicine.

In 2017, she created Miss Doctor, an app exclusively for women in medicine and doctoral-level professionals. 

The app focuses on matching these women with others who have achieved similar levels of success, regardless of gender. Miss Doctor encourages intentional and thoughtful interactions by offering a limited number of free "likes," with additional likes available for a fee, challenging the superficial nature of many dating apps. 

What this means for you

Career obstacles inherent in the physician profession often discourage dating. Luckily, digital dating solutions tailored exclusively for doctors are now available on your smartphone. Everyone deserves love, even if you can only spare an hour a week. 

Read Next: Romance during residency: Is it OK to date a co-resident?
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