They were supposed to make it so easy. After all hanging out at bars waiting to meet someone was so antiquated – surely dating apps would make finding a partner and easy sex a breeze.
It’s 10 years since Tinder was unleashed onto a world eager for a good dating app. Yup – September 2012 is when we first started to swipe right (or left). And since then, what has happened?
Has dating got easier?
Are we happier in our relationships? Are we have better sex more often?
Actually, the stats say no. ‘The Tinder effect‘ is a thing and more of us are finding that now that the hype has died down, dating apps have actually ruined our approach to dating, relationships and sex.
Social media crashes into dating
If you’re old enough to remember when Facebook first launched you might remember the frenzy about it back then. Suddenly it was easy to find old pals, and we could keep up to date with people we met – maybe even do a bit of casual stalking.
Instagram wasn’t a thing yet, but the trend for hyper-socialisation was truly born. THIS is what the internet was made for, surely…
Were there dating apps back then? Well, yes. We had Match.com, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk and even Adult Friend Finder. And although they were seeing steady growth, and even becoming more respected, in general they were still seen as the ‘losers’ choice.
Social media meshed with a dating app? Genius.
No more awkward profiles or needing to enter credit card details. You simply downloaded the app, filled in some basic info, popped up a picture and you could casually be swiping in minutes.
And like our adoption of social media, we took to the new way of online dating with relish. It was easy, fun and a great way to even stalk people and feel like you were on the dating scene, but without needing to chat up, or be chatted up, in sleazy nightlife hangouts.
But like a McDonalds or KFC, it felt good and even offered an instant hit. But little did we know that the fast food-ification of dating was about to cause problems.
‘The Tinder Effect’
If it was easier than ever to meet people, it was also easier than ever to mess people around. And this is where the issues have arisen.
‘Ghosting’ is perhaps the best known modern term related to dating. If you’ve used Tinder, you’ve probably been ghosted. You’ve built up a rapport, maybe even gone on a date – maybe even got lucky… And then bam, nothing. Blocked.
This simple act of ignoring or blocking people has caused havoc with the emotions of daters the world over. This aspect of the Tinder effect is what has, for many ruined dating.
By making dating into a game, or like fast food, we’ve lost perspective on the emotional elements. Internet strangers are easy to ignore, even if you have had sex with them.
Another element to the toxic dating app scene is the ease with which people can be trolled or abused. More than half of women have reported being harrassed by men after either turning them down, or simply not responding to them. The troll behaviour is still very much alive even in the dating world.
Oh and as for liars and deceptive behaviour… Have you seen ‘The Tinder Swindler’? Just a high profile example of guys (and girls) who use the power of online profiles to dupe fellow daters – and make dating apps even more toxic.
Real world problems
Like many of the issues related to social media, dating apps have skewed the way we interact in the real world. Half of young people have problems with dating in real life; and social media including dating apps have had an effect on this.
Take a look on Reddit, Twitter or any other social media site, and you’ll find people complaining that they don’t know how to date. How do you meet people without dating apps? Can you even get laid if you don’t use Tinder, or Bumble?
We’ve lost our mojo, and it’s pretty much entirely thanks to the easy dating app era.
Where do we go from here?
Humans have been making new humans for, oh, about 300,000 years now. So we clearly have an innate ability to procreate that a toxic culture of dating apps probably isn’t going to extinguish.
Like many things related to social media and the online world, we need to understand the effect the technology is having on our health. Especially with regards to our emotional intelligence and mental health.
Ditching the dating apps might be daunting to a singleton in 2022 – but less reliance on them is the best way to build our dating mojo back up.
Take the time to socialise with people in real life. Meet new people, get a new hobby, go see more live music, go to parties, talk to strangers… It worked for everyone before 2012, it could probably still work for you too!