Why Dating Apps Are Not A Way To Find True Love
I wasn’t planning on writing a book telling singles to ditch their dating apps.
The emphasis of Make your move: the new science of dating and why women are in charge is not online dating. It’s flipping the script on traditional gender roles in dating – rewriting all those archaic ‘rules’ that tell a woman she can’t invite a man out on a date or can’t ask her little one. friend to marry her.
But something else came out of my interviews with women who found love by going against the rules: They hated online dating.
So many women I’ve spoken to have had these amazing stories that wouldn’t have been written if they hadn’t quit apps and found a soul mate at work, at church, through friends or at the dog park. Inspired by their stories, I even added a chapter to the book titled The Make Your Move offline dating challenge, a step-by-step plan to find love in the real world rather than the digital one.
“A skeptic’s game? ”
One of those unhappy customers of the app was Mia, a 49-year-old divorcee.
Why? On the one hand, she described online dating to me as “a game for those who doubt.” Mia just assumed most men online were lying to her – about their careers, their marital status, or whether they were looking for a romantic relationship or a real relationship. (According to a Pew Research survey, Mia is right: 71% of daters say it’s “very common” for people to lie on dating app profiles.)
Tired of being cheated and exploited, Mia spent her first dates trying to find all the holes in men’s stories. It didn’t lead to many second dates.
Today, Mia is engaged to a man she met through a close friend. Before her first date, Mia didn’t even bother to google it. She didn’t have to, she said, because she knew her friend would never put her in a relationship with a mean or untrustworthy man. “It’s more of a believers game,” Mia said of old school dating. “I was just more inclined to find the positive.”
Yes, people find husbands and wives through dating apps. And, no, I’m not opposed to all forms of online dating, especially during the COVID era. There are some niche dating apps that I really like. (Read my book!)
And, yes, there are valid reasons for using dating apps that have nothing to do with finding a life partner. If you use them to find a connection or a friend with benefits – or even a friend without benefits – by all means, swipe away. But if your goal is to get married, there are better ways to find a life partner than spending 10 hours a week browsing apps (which is the average time daters spend these days).
According to Pew Research, 55% of women think dating is more difficult today than it was 10 years ago. Two troubling reasons: 57% of women say they have been harassed on dating apps and 19% say they have even been threatened with physical violence.
Even when safety isn’t a concern, research shows it’s harder to fall in love online. A study by Susan Sprecher, professor of sociology at Illinois State University, found that young men and women who first met in person were 25% more likely to report feelings of closeness than those who did. are met for the first time online.
Break rates are also higher. Aditi Paul, professor of communications at Pace University in New York, analyzed the most comprehensive independent data set on online and offline dating, that of Stanford University.How couples meet and stay togetherIn part of his study, Paul found that relationships involving people who first met in real life lasted four times longer than those between couples who first met online.
Why is it harder to find true love on apps? Human beings evolved as social animals. We are linked by a shared experience. That’s why jokes always seem funnier with friends than alone. These shared experiences are part of us, the stories we love to tell and tell our loved ones. They become the foundation for deeper emotional connections.
Dating business models
The same reason that finding a soul mate online is so difficult is the same reason that no one ever turns on a computer to find a best friend. This is not the way the human brain is wired.
Another problem with online dating is that the romantic goals of the dating app members don’t always match the business goals of the dating app operators.
It’s no coincidence that Match, Zoosk, and other dating apps almost never tout the overall effectiveness of online dating in their ads. Bounty claims its paper towels are more absorbent, Chevrolet claims its cars are more reliable, and Verizon claims its network is the fastest. Yet dating apps never claim to get you married any faster than meeting people the old-fashioned way.
Dating apps are not enriched by your happiness. Their business models revolve around growing member revenue by attracting new customers and retaining old ones. Some apps like Tinder also make money from advertising. Every time a Match or Tinder member gets married and stops using the apps, that’s one less paying customer.
Do you think I’m too cynical? Take a look at the Match Group Annual Report 2019, the parent company of Match, Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid and Plenty of Fish. The following is a list of words that don’t even appear once in the Match Group annual report: married, marriage, marriage, couple, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, husband and wife.
The word partner appears three times, but only in reference to the business partners of the company.
Tinder, Match, and OKCupid don’t want to take you off the market. They want to turn you into permanent buyers. Match group admits as much in its annual report, boasting that “successful experiences … lead to repeat use”.
Translation: Start dating someone great on Tinder, and you’ll keep coming back to the app to find someone even more great.
If the Match Group were serious about helping you get married, they would focus on you to connect you with people you already know in real life. Surveys show, for example, that couples who meet at work marry at a very high rate, up to 30%.
Considering the complications surrounding dating in the workplace, and COVID of course, wouldn’t it be great if there was an app that revealed mutual attraction between coworkers before someone was in danger of being sent to HR?
Connecting singles within the same social sphere was, in fact, Hinge’s business model before it was acquired by Match Group. In the early days of Hinge, users had to be friends or friends of friends on Facebook before the Hinge app would match them.
Hinge’s Facebook demand has paid off in a romantic way for its users: According to the agitation, Hinge was the most mentioned dating app in the wedding section of the New York Times in 2017. But in June 2018, the same month, Match Group acquired a controlling stake in Hinge. open model.
Something else happened in June 2018: It was the last time Hinge issued a press release claiming to be “the first mobile dating app mentioned in the Wedding section of the NY Times.”
Adapted from Make your move: the new science of dating and why women are in charge. Jon Birger is a former senior writer at Fortune and the author of Date-onomics, which, along with Make Your Move, can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Walmart, and other traders. Birger can be contacted at jonbirger.com or on Twitter at @ jonbirger1. You can also schedule a Virtual Book Club Q&A with him at Book YaYa.