The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Online Dating

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Like most single millennials, I hate to admit that I have used Tinder in an attempt to meet ‘the one’. So far, all these attempts have failed miserably. However, I will say that I have had far more dating prospects online than anywhere else. Despite this, I have a strong love-hate relationship with dating apps. Although the actual definition of tinder is an object that sparks a fire, all that Tinder managed to spark for me was an aching thumb from too much swiping.

Dating apps originated in the gay community in 2009, with apps such as Grindr helping single men meet partners within a specific geographic radius. With the launch of Tinder in 2012, smartphone users of all sexualities could start looking for love, casual dating, or just sex. Apps like these definitely have their advantages. They succeed in dismantling the high stakes and pressure associated with the fear of asking someone out face to face. But, at the same time these apps seem to cheapen the act, making the ‘love’ feel disposable and people something to be consumed. Tinder is a virtual marketplace for singles, and sliding into DMs is the modern version of walking up to someone in a coffee shop and asking them on a date. In fact, Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, two of Tinder’s founders, have admitted that the inspiration for Tinder came from their own dissatisfaction with the lack of dating opportunities that arose naturally.

One attraction of using dating apps is that you know (or would hope) that everyone on there is single and ready to mingle. There is nothing worse than finally plucking up the courage to speak to someone face to face, and them swiftly telling you they are in a relationship. At least on dating apps you know that everyone is looking for the same thing.

Along with modern dating comes modern dumping, or as the online dating era call it, ‘ghosting’. Ghosting is when suddenly, without warning, the person you’re messaging seems to disappear. They stop replying to messages with no explanation. This is an evil way of ending the relationship without bothering to explain or even let the other person know, and it is something that has sadly become somewhat of a norm with online dating.

I believe that the relative anonymity of dating apps has also made the dating scene a flakier and more superficial place, making ghosting a lot easier way of ending the relationship without having any awkward repercussions. With the shallowness of the 500-character bio and a maximum of six pictures being allowed on your profile, of course you are going off initial sexual attraction to the person because you know nothing about them except what they look like. Dating apps make people pickier and more reluctant to settle for a monogamous relationship because there is simply too much choice. How are we meant to find ‘the one’ when ‘the better one’ could be one swipe away?

Although it is awkward to think about, you know that if you are messaging someone on Tinder there is a 99% chance that they are messaging other people as well as you. A highly comical way of discovering that the boy I was dating was also talking to a friend of mine was when I was telling a story he told me about a celebrity, only for my friend to say the guy she was seeing had told her the exact same story. A quick Insta stalk later and we confirmed that we were seeing the same guy. You’ve got to laugh really.

As the saying goes, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince. But as easy as they make it look in Disney films, meeting the one takes time, patience, and Tinder plus.