Do dating apps really take the luck out of love?
The current generation of teens has grown up with phones practically attached to their bodies. As they become adults, their obsession with Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok will likely transform into using more mature things like dating apps. With ease someone living in, say, Phoenix can select a potential Phoenix singles partner using whatever criteria they like, such as age, appearance, etc–kinda like shopping an online catalog.
But are these dating apps destroying the magic of traditional courtship and romance? Or are they adding a whole new and enjoyable dimension to finding a partner?
Does this sound romantic to you?
Slumped on her sofa on a Sunday evening, our (imaginary) single Phoenix lady slides her thumb to the right or left on the screen of her smartphone in the hope of “matching” with a potential new partner. She selects those who meet the most criteria of the ideal man in her eyes, and if any of them like her, they can meet! No effort!
Gone are the days when she would be surprised by a friend of a friend met randomly at an impromptu party. Phoenix women seeking men? What could go wrong by using an app which is a practical, pragmatic solution? Its a sure thing, right?
Well, not all of these digital love quests are successful. While getting exact figures is impossible, one study estimated that only about 17% of the people on even the best dating apps for teens, free or otherwise, formed a long-lasting relationship.
A young lady we will call Anna, 33, claims to be one of the lucky ones who have found love via smartphone, “at least for now,” she qualifies. Getting there involved meeting seven other men, with only two passing the muster after the first date. The first relationship fizzled out after a few months, the other turned into a “jerk” after two years.
She explains why she put herself through this, “Because I am always working it became almost essential for me to go through these platforms because I no longer had the opportunity to meet many people,” says the young woman.
To filter the different candidates, she had established a very precise list of disqualifying criteria. “I directly excluded the profiles if I saw pictures of kittens or dolphins, if they were wearing a curb chain, if they looked like biker, if they looked smaller than me, if he made spelling mistakes in his description, and even if he only had pictures with a hat or a cap, which in my opinion is a way of not taking responsibility for his baldness.”
With the Internet, we have a choice to meet the “perfect” person: a non-smoker, a person with or without children, a movie buff or an animal lover. You cannot do this in real life–you meet who who meet and take your chances.
Critics say the chance of love at first sight no longer has a place as most of the time the list of criteria used in finding a “perfect” match prevents one from being surprised by fate. People might subconsciously prevent themselves from choosing those who do not look like our projections of the ideal partner. They say dating apps lack what we call instinct, the possible charm of the other, their humor, tenderness or charisma which is reflected when talking in real life.
Is there really no more luck in love?
All that being said, has fate really disappeared from romantic encounters? “Not quite,” according to those who use these dating apps and sites. “I think there may be MORE chances in apps than in real life. Sometimes I tell myself that if I choose a person at a given moment, I will not necessarily make the same choice the next day depending on my mood,” explains Anna. Selections also depend on each app’s algorithm and the order in which the profiles appear. So there is a degree of randomness there.
Also, despite filtering, stress, apprehension, and questioning are still very present at the first real face-to-face encounter. So whether you’ve stalked your date or picked it based on specific criteria, “it’s always a leap into the void”. Chance and surprise eventually come into play when the first date arrives.
One expert concludes, “The Internet has not eliminated the chance of romantic encounters. It seems to me it has simply changed the game by providing new data that gives the encounters another dimension”.
So, when you’re an adult and seeking someone, there are many options to meet somebody special and not feel alone in this big world. Dating apps might just fit the bill, and so might just hanging around your local coffee shop and chatting with that cute barista!