Updated: Jun 14
Remember meet cutes? When couples met in elevators, or in 10th grade at school, even meeting someone in a bar now is fading into the past. That’s because we observe a world where dating apps are becoming the stem of modern relationships. An early 2020 study found that 1 in 5 relationships and 1 in 6 marriages began on apps, *so they do work*.
The bad news is that the other 4 out of 5 app-born relationships average less than a 3 month lifespan, and 50% of users view dating apps negatively. Eeek.
"Negative opinions often come from experience, so I’m exploring the positives and negatives, to understand if apps really are a yellow brick road to the big L."
The Yin and yang on dating apps, starting with the positives:
Finding a relationship
There’s relatively good statistics (aforementioned) supporting success rates of app relationships and stats don’t lie, it’s absolutely achievable to find love on apps.
The lights are on and dating apps are always home, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. If we have a time heavy job or a shyer nature for example, they provide us access to people we wouldn't encounter in daily life.
There’s a bountiful array of potential lovers, whatever our niche.
We have access to eligible bachelors/bachelorettes in any area we visit or move to, with no ground work, prior knowledge or acquaintances necessary.
If we don’t like the option we see, we simply swipe left and be presented with another in 0.1 seconds, it's efficiency at it’s finest.
We can do some surface scratching before going the whole 9 yards to meet for a date, in-app messaging is comparable to a second testing phase, to gage if we’re suitable beyond the obvious.
It’s possible for us to be in and/or out of a relationship in days, even minutes.
They are some enticing and convenient upsides, but does the sweet turn sour? Lets explore the negatives:
Decrease in romance
Communication seems to be a different kettle of fish since the 20th century when gentleman wooed their sweethearts with traditional gestures, romance fades into the past- kinda sad.
The grass maybe greener
Being spoilt for choice it makes it difficult for us to be content with current options, we are often greedy and look for better people, or start double dealing (trying a few people at once).
Some of us (admittedly me, when I used them), spend 0.2 seconds per swipe to judge compatibility with a potential date. Realistically it’s impossible to asses the complexity of a person in less than a second— especially as dating apps are mostly based on looks.
Unaccountability and confusion over expectations
It’s acceptable on dating apps for us to ignore a persons efforts without feeling guilty, as ‘ghosting’ becomes a common practice; there’s also issues with our expectations, as dating intentions can be very different from one person to the next.
Dating, especially if we are going out a few times a week, can be so heavy on the bank and time balance.
Rebounds and serial daters
Dating apps house an array of new singles, skirt chasers and floozies who tend to have unfavourable morels and shallow intentions, which can end in tears for us (because we're genuine AF).
A tainted view of love
As most app relationships peter-out after 1 or 2 dates, we can end up feeling deflated afterward; rejection and unsatisfactory dates chip away at our self-esteem, which in turn can change our whole perception of love (for the worse).
We are failing to recognise dates as real people. If you think about it: firstly there’s the shallow judgment over a few images, then we might read 100 words (and if they suffice), their opening line better be satisfactory or we will un-match. It’s all a bit merciless, don’t you think?
Increased depression and anxiety
As mentioned, dating apps can be hostile even after matching, our attention spans are short and our progression is fickle. Ghosting leaves us wondering what we said or did wrong; and this whole theatre of rejection is attributed with the rapid rise of depression, social anxieties and suicide in millennials. It ain’t good.
Being subject to crime
It’s rare but sadly some of us experience horror with app encounters: theft, fraud, abuse, stalking and sadly even more sinister things can take place, we have to be aware.
It’s not just about meeting people that used excessively filtered pictures anymore, or turn up 10 sizes bigger, we also have to be cautious of the double life catfish. They are rife in the dating app pool, and pretend to be wealthy, lie about their assets, say they own a business (when they’re really a receptionist), or have a spouse waiting at home.
It’s familiar to cross dates who engage in bisexual, fetish, polyamorous relationships and have addictions—etc. There’s nothing wrong with those personal choices- each to their own, but some dates are being dishonest about sharing this, and it can lead to some sticky situations.
The negatives do outweigh the positives, but as we live in an increasingly technological world with 57 million of us using Tinder (2020 stats); we might as well be inclined to get along with dating apps a little better.
They are fruitful for finding love, the stats are there to prove it, and in any case they won’t hurt our chances. To help tame the stomping grounds, I’ve put together some tips to help navigate the neighbourhood:
Two cents worth of ‘do’s’ on dating apps-
Do swipe less severely and recognise that there’s real person behind the phone.
Do weed out the hard hearted by doing more digging and being clear about what you seek.
Do catch yourself making assumptions, you might miss a diamond because of something insignificant, such as an unsatisfactory opening line.
Do act accordingly with your morels, avoiding those who contradict them.
Do be leery of new singles who use dating apps as a distraction from past love, and of players who linger, frequently changing their name and photos.
Do remember that to put an egg in every basket, results in spreading yourself too thin, put sincere investment into a person with potential to benefit.
Do keep in mind that some of us seek life partners and others look for hook ups; both are acceptable, but be sure to speak up sooner than later, to avoid wasted time and sadistic nights.
Do recognise that you’re meeting a stranger you know nothing about - past or present. Remember that it’s easy to lie, when there is a blank canvas between you - be cautious.
Do keep your faith in love, short relationships are common on dating apps because compatibility is based purely on the physical- you know that love is not only about that.
Do remember that how they ‘sound’ on text isn’t necessarily reflective of their real life personality.
Do NOT (haha sneaky) take app interactions personally, users know nothing but a picture about you.
Do enjoy it! Keep in sight the fact that dating is a whirlwind of excitement and desire, be confident in yourself and your social skills, it’s natural to you.
Peace out, home slice.
Images shot in Franschhoek, South Africa. Wearing Asos dress, Balenciaga shades, Gucci purse