Looking for love in the digital age can be equal parts exciting and equal parts despair. Firstly, that age old adage regarding fishes and how many there are of them is truer than it’s ever been. There are more people that you could potentially fall in love with than you’ll ever have the opportunity to see or even imagine, let alone date. As soon as a relationship ends, you have hundreds of millions of potential backboards to rebound off of. It’s impossible to be sad over a lost love when the phone in your pocket contains thousands of single people who have stated outright whether or not they’re interested in you, right?
No. If anything, the ease of dating and meeting people now has added almost a clinical, insincere feel to the dating world. The number of beautiful faces on digital screens can almost make one feel lonelier. When you truly realize how many people there are out there in the online dating world, it’s difficult to maintain the fantasy that they’re there for you to choose from, and sometimes easier to slip into the notion that they’re all just looking over you. In a 2018 study, researchers found that college aged people using Tinder often had lower self-esteem and increased rates of depression. Being rejected constantly via digital applications, as it turns out, can be mentally taxing, even if it is just hookup culture. According to Jessica Strübel, who penned the study, “As a result of how the app works and what it requires of its users, people who are on Tinder after a while may begin to feel depersonalized and disposable in their social interactions, develop heightened awareness (and criticism) of their looks and bodies and believe that there is always something better around the corner, or rather with the next swipe of their screen, even while questioning their own worth.”
The news doesn’t necessarily get better when it comes to sites that are more focused on serious relationships, either. One in six people using match.com, a site with 7 million active users in 2018, reported feeling addicted to online dating. People have even been financially and emotionally scammed on match.com and sites like it. Predatory individuals pretend to fall in love with users, even going on dates with them and seducing them before ultimately ripping them off. The sad truth is that people know there are a significant number of vulnerable people on dating sites, and there will always be someone willing to take advantage of them.
Despite the risks and downsides to online dating, there are obvious benefits. Tinder users on average have 1-2 dates a week (mine must be broken), and one night stands have largely been replaced by young people with temporary sexual flings. One in six marriages begin with online dating, and are less likely to end within the first year than marriages which began in reality. And there are a million apps to choose from, like Tinder, Bumble, Jamble, and many more. These are heartening statistics, for the sole purpose of not bumming anyone out entirely about online dating. However, maybe a good mix of dating IRL and online is the way to go for true balance.
You’ll fall in love yourself with the following video: