Dating in the Tinder Age

To be fair, dating isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s not even fun. Though currently in a two-year relationship myself, I know that before I found my own Prince Charming, you have to date a couple frogs along the way. The fun part about dating used to be going out with your girls and maybe meeting someone that sparked your interest, getting to know them and actually being able to have a conversation. Today, technology has tried to make dating easier and more fun with dating apps and online dating. I’ll admit, it can work; my dad met his girlfriend of five years through online dating, but there isn’t always a happy ending.

Through the experiences of my friends, dating in the age of Tinder and other dating apps have changed the game completely — and for the worse. Launched in 2012, Tinder has blown up in the dating environment, recording more than a billion “swipes” a day. 

I think that dating in the digital age has left people unsatisfied with what they already have, leading to commitment issues and not being able to settle, while always looking for the next best thing; it could only be a swipe away, right?

For me, dating has always had one major point: marriage. I mean, why would I be with someone and share part of my life with them, if my goal wasn’t to share it forever? It seems like today, there is no real end goal in dating. Dating apps have shifted the emphasis on dating from building relationships to immediate attention and gratification.

The problem with dating apps is that you are open to so many possibilities — but perhaps too many. Sticking to a choice can be so hard when you have so many to choose from. And if there are so many choices to choose from, we can start to place less value on the choices we’ve made. Imagine going to a buffet; with so many options to choose from, you can’t seriously be satisfied with just the amount on your plate when there’s so much more offered to try. But can you ever be satisfied this way? Or will this leave you thinking there’s always room for more?

Dating in the digital age has made people become easily replaceable and disposable. No commitment, no consequence — right? But if this is the way dating continues, then how will it ever be possible for people to make a connection or commitment in the future? Will it be possible to finally let yourself fall for someone when you think you could be so easily replaced?

Dating apps have made it impossible for trust and loyalty to be the norm. I see it all the time, from friends and on Twitter: women have begun praising men for actions and behaviours that shouldn’t be a rarity, but an expectation. Oh, your boyfriend “let” you go out tonight? Cool, but you shouldn’t need his permission. With the addition of dating apps, women have become more insecure and ready to applaud men for, quite frankly, doing the bare minimum. 
David Buss, a professor at the University of Texas specializing in the evolution of sexuality, argues that:

“Apps like Tinder and OkCupid give people the impression that there are thousands or millions of potential mates out there. When there is a surplus of women or a perceived surplus of women, the whole mating system tends to shift towards short-term dating. Marriages become unstable. Divorces increase. Men don’t have to commit, so they pursue a short-term mating strategy. Men are making that shift, and women are forced to go along with it in order to mate at all.”

This is not saying there aren’t any women also looking for short-term relations, but when either a guy or girl wants to begin to settle down, will it ever be enough for them? 

With online dating and dating apps increasing in popularity as the way to meet people, it has become rare and almost bizarre when people approach someone new while out at a bar, for example. We’ve all been there: a guy comes up and starts to talk to you and your immediate reaction is: “who is this creep?”. Although if someone you don’t know but has matched with on Tinder decides to message you, it is completely normal?

​For the time being, Tinder and its users are getting what they asked for — wealthy creators and happy consumers. Meeting my boyfriend happened out of nowhere — at a part-time job I got to help pay my way through school. So, it is still possible for people to meet outside the internet. Online dating is here to stay; hopefully, with these tech advancements, love and building relationships can advance from them as well.