Dating apps have created a culture of entitlement
You swipe, you match, and all of a sudden…they’re mad at you? In the culture of dating apps, there is currently an incipient set of communication habits often deployed by cis-het men that give off “you owe me” vibes, a sense of entitlement to continued contact and access. to matches, even when the interest is not mutual.
A few months ago I saw a Twitter feed by writer Beth McColl lamenting the impatient and demanding behaviors of men on dating apps who become choppy with their matches if they don’t respond within hours.
Replies in the thread included someone sharing that a man messaged them, only to write another reading “Yawn…” after not receiving a response the next day. Another shared that once, when they hadn’t replied to a message from a game, they received another message just an hour later asking them why they hadn’t replied and suggested that they were “playing with his head”.
Appalled by this kind of behavior – which, judging by the volume of bad experiences that end up being posted online, must be commonplace – I asked around to see what other types of laughable conduct people are up to. submitted on dating apps, and it goes beyond the timing of responses to whether one is interested at all.
Some people I’ve spoken to have unmatched guys on dating apps only to have the person DM them on Instagram, demanding to know why they’ve been unmatched. The tone of these messages can be mean and aggressive.
“There was a guy from Tinder that I’ve never really been in a relationship with, never talked to or anything, and somehow he slipped out in my LinkedIn DMs,” sex blogger Madam Mayhem told me. She was worried that he had managed to go this far and find her on another platform without knowing her profession or surname. “I had explained to him that I was not interested in him and that it was totally inappropriate to approach me anywhere other than on the dating app, given that we hadn’t even matched.” Then the guy replied, “I needed to get my shot.” “It felt like such a violation,” Madame Mayhem said.
Stephanie, a black woman based in Sheffield says men send insults that often have a racist slant if she says she’s not interested. “If I haven’t reciprocated like they would like, they come back with things like, ‘Oh, I didn’t even like you anyway,’ ‘I don’t even date black girls anyway ‘ or ‘You’ I’m a little too, like, dark or something.”
Having an unusual name can also attract unwanted attention on other platforms than the one you are using. A dating app user living in London, who is from a minority ethnic group, told me: “I once swiped a guy to the left, only to be contacted by him later on Facebook, sometimes it’s the problem of having a unique name.”
When an online match wants to meet immediately, you can say no
Author and journalist Shon Faye writes in her recently published book, The transgender issue, about the entitlement people feel on dating apps when their interest isn’t reciprocated — and the tirade of transphobia that may follow. “I also realized as a trans woman who only dated men, that there were men who could both be attracted to me and also be abusive. This was especially evident on dating apps. where I was always open about being trans. If men initiated messaging and I declined their advances, it was not uncommon to receive a torrent of misogynistic and transphobic slurs.”
Kate, who runs the popular Instagram account of @thirtysomethingsingle, says she often receives insults based on the appearance of anger after pairing. She posts some of these interactions on her page to raise awareness of the misogynistic and fatphobic harassment she and many other dating app users regularly experience.
Some platforms are finally doing something about it. Dating app Bumble recently implemented a body shaming ban, explicitly prohibiting unsolicited and derogatory comments about a person’s appearance, shape, size or health. This includes language that may be considered fatphobic, ableist, racist, colorist, homophobic, or transphobic. Tinder has launched a number of security features, including the “Are You Sure?” AI-powered feature that puts the onus on the individual about to send an abusive message (machine learning uses reports from former members to detect harmful language).
Shani Silver, author of A single revolution, tells me she thinks we have enough anecdotal evidence to say that’s what women experience on these platforms, but the apps themselves don’t adequately address it — for a reason. “That’s what can make dating a very difficult, exhausting, even punitive space,” Silver says. “We don’t discuss often enough that dating apps are one of the only companies in the world that have an incentive not to work, because the longer you’re single, the more money you make. So why would that- can you help yourself to stop being single?”
Silver advises making room for yourself outside of your chosen app if you are being targeted by harmful messages. “Find different places to put your energy that make you feel good instead of feeling like you have to fight the behavior when meeting,” she says. “But block and move on and really assess for yourself how much you want to participate in this activity. You don’t deserve any of this and you’re allowed to leave a hangout space if it’s difficult for you. And that doesn’t stop you from having future relationships.”
While researching this article, it became apparent that women are more open to sharing their dating app experiences with journalists. No man shared his experiences.
People have every right to set boundaries in their love life, online or offline. Justine Ang Fonte, M.Ed, MPH is a New York-based sex educator, also known as Your Friendly Ghostwriter (@good.byes) on Instagram, started the account to help people compose messages you avoid sending to potential dates, but has expanded it to other areas of life where setting boundaries is helpful. Boundaries are basic guidelines that people create to establish how others can behave and communicate around them, and setting them can ensure that relationships can be mutually respectful, appropriate, and caring from the start.
“I started the account for dating, because it was something very real to me and I saw a lot of very defensive responses to all the kinds of boundaries that I was trying to set,” she tells me. Melting. “I’ve extended it to many other categories and aspects of life where people need support and boundaries. And that’s because we never raise our boys to accept people’s boundaries. We raise them to have the right, as opposed to nurturing and empathy in the way we raise most girls.”
How to set boundaries in the early stages of dating
Fonte offers some advice on how you can let potential matches be aware of some of your limitations (only if you think it’s necessary). “When you’re still communicating through the app, you can let the other person know if there will be a change in message response times.” So, if you’re about to go to a meeting, you can send a message like, “I’m about to go to a meeting and probably won’t be able to respond for four hours.” Fonte says: “This way the delay in messaging shows the other person that it has nothing to do with your interest in them, but that you have a whole life separate from messaging people on apps. met.”
A more limited approach to dating means having an idea of what you’re looking for and an idea of yourself, being okay with rejection, and sending out positive feelings that you hope will be reciprocated. But demanding an instant response or explanation from someone on a dating app as to why you’re not immediately interested? Nobody, ever, has the right to that.