Everybody has an opinion about dating apps. Some people say they’re killing romance, others say they are the future of building relationships. What are the advantages and disadvantages of online dating? Let’s take a look at both sides and in the end, we leave you to decide for yourself.
Love in numbers
There is a good chance you, or someone you know, have used Tinder or some type of dating app. A 2019s survey says, one third of U.S. adults have tried online dating, and it’s even more common among young adult (48%) or LGB communities (55%). And if we can believe to a research made in 2017, 39% of heterosexual couples found love or even marriage through these platforms.
There are more and more success stories around us, Tinder is no longer just a hook-up app in the public’s eyes. These apps can be used against boredom or they can make good stories to be told on friends’ night-outs. When asked about online dating apps, people are more likely to describe their overall experience in positive, rather than negative, terms.
Misconceptions of the other person
Online dating started with the launch of Kiss.com in 1994, but dating apps joined the dating seen later in the early 2000s. The main difference between the websites and the apps, were speed and how much they focused on compatibility. Dating websites such as OkCupid have long questionnaires. These can indicate how much two people have in common or if they are looking for similar type of relationships.
On the other hand, dating apps like Tinder put the focus on appearance and first impressions. This means you make a choice in a few seconds, based on a few pictures and maybe on a few words, if you bother to read the person’s bio. This can create a fake picture in your head about the other person’s personality, especially because everybody tries to put their best foot forward. Roughly seven-in-ten online daters have come across some type of lies the others made in order to appear more desirable. This behaviour can result in bad first dates and misunderstandings.
Another issue is that you can miss out on potentially good candidates, just because you don’t like their pictures. Even though chemistry usually cannot be determined via online. Women can be especially picky, which means, that male users get significantly less matches and responses. A study that examined links between mobile dating app use and self-esteem showed that male Tinder users, reported significantly lower self-esteem compared to non-users.
The beauty of infinite possibilities
One of the most heard advantage of online dating is that you can meet people outside your social circles. In the U.S., meeting online has become the most popular way couples meet. Internet meeting is displacing the roles that family and friends once played in bringing couples together. You can get to know interesting personalities and can hear new thoughts and world-views, that you wouldn’t come across in your own filter bubble. However, these interactions can also result in harmonic relationships. Love can spark from unexpected places and between unconventional couples.
Moreover, these apps can be more beneficial for those, who cannot find a partner in real life so easily, such as non-heterosexuals. Thus, the rate of gay couples meeting online is much higher. So, it is safe to say that online dating opens doors and creates more opportunities for finding love or a one-night-stand, depending on what you’re looking for.
The other side of infinite possibilities
On the other hand, infinite possibilities can also cause problems. Studies suggest that impression of “there are other fish in the sea” can result in less committed relationships. The sad truth is, that not only singles, but also those in committed relationships, have started using mobile dating apps. Consequently, they are constantly reminded of the amount and quality of singles they missing out on.
People who found their partner on a dating app might be even more likely to continue their quest for a relationship, despite already being in one. For instance, an experiment with undergraduate students proved, that those who selected a partner from a large dating pool were less satisfied with their choice and more likely to change their mind. On the other hand those with fewer options were more satisfied. So, having too much options can actually make us more uncertain about our relationship, if we finally manage to start one.
The dangers of anonymity
There are several cases when people took advantage of online anonymity. These cases vary from catfishing and name calling to actual sexual abuse. These platforms do not take responsibility for how people use the apps. However, taking preventing and dealing with complaints and sexual reports more seriously is something most users demand. You can never know the person on the other side of the app, and therefore being cautious about how much information you give away about yourself is important. Not to mention how and where you meet them at the beginning. As a 2015s documentary explains, the “unmatch” function was created to protect users from unwanted attention, just like the “blocking” function on Facebook. However, this can also be used for disappearing after abusing somebody. This means that the evidences and the personal information’s of the offenders can also be erased.
Like most of the things which are stimulating our “reward system” in our brain, using dating apps can also become addictive to a point where it interferes with you daily life. This is especially true to those with low self-esteem, who are constantly seeking validation from others.
“Tinder’s algorithms were developed to keep you swiping in the hopes that a potential match will happen after a while. This basically makes it similar to a slot machine, offering a quick reward for your continued efforts”- explains Antonia Hall, psychologist, relationship expert and author. “That positive reinforcement (a match) gives you a small hit of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that ensures survival needs like food and sex are met.”
Most people compare using Tinder, to playing games. It is like a competition, where you want to win the game of love. Furthermore, it feed our ego. Getting matches and messages make us feel wanted and desired. It is easy to get addicted to positive reinforcement, especially when it comes in a game-like wrapping.
Being single in the time of smart phones, social media platforms and virtual realities isn’t easy. Pictures are going to be photoshopped, people are going to have unrealistic expectations and relationships are going to be harder to maintain. Nevertheless, every minute thousands of people find their significant other through the internet, so you can decide for yourself, whether you think it worth the effort. And what is really important, that studies show, that the success of a relationship do not depend on whether people met online or not. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you met your significant other, the relationship takes a life of its own the minute you meet in person.
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