At the end of the date, you text them, “I really enjoyed our date today,” and then you ask if they would like to go out again. Two hours later they see the message. Then the message has been seen for two hours. Then three. Then four. Eventually, you stop expecting a response. I mean, the two of you met on Bumble of all places, this was bound to happen right?
Following the rise of the internet in the past two decades, the world has been more interconnected than ever. Over 60% of the world is connected to the internet, and that has made communicating with people easier than ever. Not only has this changed the whole culture and environment surrounding communications, but has changed the game for modern-day dating as we know it. This means that dating, finding a date, and going on that date now has become more commodified and simpler than ever with the introduction of dating apps and sites. The instant gratification brought along with this more casual culture of dating has lessened the value of romance, which in turn means that dating is now more seen as a product that can be sold rather than an experience that you can go through.
According to Cloudwards 25 Online Dating Statistics & Trends in 2023, 323.9 million people are on these apps. But why do so many people use these apps? Why are they so popular?
Apart from the obvious answer because of widespread technology, dating apps also bring in something that isn’t seen in dating in person, options. Not just any options, however, but easily accessible options. Looking back at the statistics presented beforehand, 19% of these users have talked to 11 or more people at a single given moment. The prospect of so many options leaves people wanting to go on and on, seeking the benefits of others’ affections in the short term. So now, not only does the way people go about dating change but also how they will perceive it as well.
Not to mention, apps and sites are designed in such a way that finding the next person is but a simple swipe of left or right. These apps and sites also have categories of maybe they fill specific niches to fit for anyone who is looking for companionship, such as Grindr which has the target audience of LGBTQIA+ communities who are looking for a relationship.
The accessibility and inclusivity of these apps and sites lead to a quicker-paced idea of dating, making people want more of the instant gratification that comes with it, meaning that you give up long-term benefits for immediate satisfaction, such as our dating culture now. This has led to these dating apps and sites becoming more places where people find others they find attractive and participate in the hookup culture that has been cultivated.
At some point, hook-up culture on these dating apps became the norm rather than what happens from time to time, leaving people to have short-term activities rather than going for something in the long term. This form of short-term benefits that people have sought in this modern era of dating can not be considered to be the healthiest way to go about it.
Taken from the American Psychological Association’s cover story on hookup culture, “participants who reported fewer depressive symptoms and fewer feelings of loneliness who engaged in penetrative sex hookups subsequently reported an increase in both depressive symptoms and feelings of loneliness (Owen et al., 2011).” While the same article states that there is not yet a clear correlation between self-esteem and uncommitted sex, that doesn’t dismiss the fact that past studies have shown that the potential to hurt yourself emotionally or to be hurting someone else is there.
However, some people have successfully dated and maybe even found love through these dating apps. Yes, that has happened, yes, it is not something rare that you would see. People find love in all weird corners of the world nowadays, not just on dating apps or sites. I understand the argument of there still being who comes to dating sites and apps such as Tinder or Hinge to genuinely find relationships, but that does not change the now much more common approach towards the dating culture that has formed and is exercised by many young people.
The only way that this can be somewhat remedied is to communicate with whoever you are talking to about what you want. If it’s something purely physical you are looking for, tell them, if you’re interested but not looking for anything serious, tell them. It seems simple enough, but strangely enough, we as a generation don’t do that enough. Everyone reads between the lines and makes assumptions without knowing what each other wants.
If you are looking to date, it’s ok if you don’t know what you’re looking for. With our current technology, there is an unlimited amount of people for you to meet out there. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be going onto these dating sites and apps with just the intention to swipe, talk, and ghost the other person afterward. So even if you want to participate in our modern dating culture, just make your intentions known, even if you don’t know your own.