Why Dating Apps Aren’t for Everyone

Published On: February 15, 2024|Categories: Dating Apps, Dating Tips|7 min read|

Does every modern love story begin online? A growing number of people are turning to the Internet to find love. According to Pew Research, one in ten partnered adults met their significant other on a dating app. Clearly, online dating is here to stay.

But is it the right place for every single person who’s ready to mingle? The same Pew survey found that alongside finding a serious relationship, the most common reasons users were on dating apps were for noncommittal dating, to make friends, or to have casual sex.

On dating sites and apps, you’re facing a large pool of folks with mixed intentions. It’s hard to know if you’re looking for love in the right place. And it’s starting to show—singles are frustrated with the apps, and they’re looking for their next relationship elsewhere.

Business Insider India asked 21 singles why they were staying offline to find love. The answers they received from people in their 20s were similar to answers from readers in their 40s and 50s. It seems that across the board, people of all ages are catching onto the inauthenticity of dating apps. As one 22-year-old single puts it,

“I’m old-fashioned and personally believe dating apps ruin our view of relationships. With apps, we too easily dispose of people and are quick to get into new, meaningless relationships. In my experience, dating apps have made me feel like if things don’t work out with someone, I can turn to the apps.”

If young singles, the group most likely to be active on dating platforms online, are feeling this discouraged with apps, things must really be bleak. If you’ve found yourself experiencing the same frustration, it may be time to face facts. Online dating might not be the right choice for you.

Why Online Dating Might Not Be for You

People choose their dating journey for a variety of reasons. The convenience and set-it-and-forget-it nature of dating apps and sites make them a nice option for some. For others, they’re a frustrating waste of time.

An online dating platform might suit singles well in one stage of their lives, but not so much when their priorities change in life. If you’re looking for love, here are a few reasons why staying offline might be the way to go.

You’re Tired of Shopping Around

According to an article from CNBC, around half of dating app users are there to date casually. This is great news for those of us who just want to meet new people or have a few fun dates a month. However, if you’re in the market for a serious connection, sifting through a sea of non-options can get tiring quickly.

It’s so disappointing to meet someone really great and then learn that you’re not a good fit for one another. On dating apps, you essentially have a 50/50 shot. Will this person be your next long-term partner, or are they just looking for their partner for the evening?

You Want Genuine Connection

Dating apps have created a transactional culture around the early stages of getting to know someone. Online daters sift through hundreds of profiles. Many want to see if a match is viable as soon as possible, so they learn how to cut to the chase.

This helps to weed out potential “no”s, but it doesn’t do much to make the “yes” candidates stick out. As one former dating app user says,

“Where’s the conversation? Where’s the getting to know each other? Where’s the banter?” she said. “There doesn’t seem to be that natural connection, that natural growth and development in a conversation.”

When both users are more concerned with sorting through their inboxes than connecting with one another, the conversation suffers. We all know what it’s like to talk to someone who is disengaged and not invested in the conversation. Unfortunately, on dating apps, this is how a staggering number of conversations go.

You’re Busy Living Your Life

Dating apps can be very time-consuming. Most profiles involve submitting multiple flattering photos, answering several questions and prompts, and writing a bio for yourself. To get the return that you want, you might spend hours creating and editing your profile.

This can be tedious and frustrating, but it’s nothing compared to the endless hours that dating apps are trying to get you to waste on their platform.

Dating apps are designed to keep you swiping. The swipe-left, swipe-right interface used by many apps preys on the same mechanisms of your brain as casinos. This gamification has led some experts to dub them “pocket-sized slot machines”.

Both slot machines and dating apps are addicting because of something called intermittent reinforcement. This happens when someone’s behavior is rewarded in an irregular pattern. Their brain remembers the possibility of being rewarded, so they continue the behavior just in case.

A slot machine keeps you interested with the possibility that the next round will win you the jackpot. Gamblers remember the rush of winning. They keep playing even after losing to chase that feeling.

Similarly, dating app algorithms are designed to keep you swiping by dangling the possibility of a new match in front of you. The rush of “winning” a new match keeps you on the app, and this is all companies like Tinder and Hinge care about.

You Want a Successful Relationship

The endless swiping that users experience on dating apps is taking a toll. Because there’s so much to sift through, it’s hard to really take in all the information that someone writes on their profile. This leads users to overly rely on photos to decide who is a good match.

If you’re looking to get beyond the superficial, you’ll still run into problems dating online. When users think they know someone after reading their bio and looking through photos, they’re simply wrong. You just can’t summarize an entire life into a dating profile. The only real way to get to know someone is to meet them and build a relationship over time.

On dating apps and sites, however, this can be incredibly difficult to do. Even the most detailed profile is an incomplete impression of the person behind it. Yet apps and sites still ask users to decide who they want to pursue without ever exchanging a word.

Since the stakes are high, users can be pretty judgmental about who fits their criteria and who doesn’t. Users make snap judgments based on the limited information available.

For those who make it to an in-person meeting, the judging and filtering continue face-to-face. According to licensed psychologist Dr. Alina Liu, everything from who paid for the bill to how long their date waited to text afterward can become a potential disqualifier. As a clinician, she sees how detrimental this attitude is to her clients.

“In my clinical experience, successful relationships are often not built on similarities but rather on the capacity to tolerate and reconcile differences.”

– Dr. Alina Liu, licensed psychologist

The options on dating apps are seemingly endless. This can make users far less tolerant of deviations from their ideal partner. The idea is that there is always something better waiting online, but this is incorrect.

People are complicated, and in reality, your “ideal” partner will not be perfect. To have a successful relationship, you first need to ditch the dating app mindset.

You’re Wary of Romance Scams

According to several government agencies, romance scams have been on the rise in the years following the COVID-19 Pandemic. In these operations, the scammer typically makes a fake social media account or dating profile to find and romantically seduce their targets. A staggering 59% of victims say that their scammer first reached out on social media or an online dating platform.

Older adults are the most likely targets of romance scams. They are perceived to be more lonely and less digitally literate than younger Internet users. Romance scammers are patient and will wait weeks, sometimes even months, to make their move.

Once a scammer has their victim’s trust, they will invent an emergency. This could be medical debt, a business deal, a car accident, or any other lie that makes them look sympathetic. Their victims, who often develop real feelings for their scammer, send money in hopes of solving their “partner’s” problem.

However, once they get what they want, the scammer disappears, taking their victim’s hard-earned money with them.

Final Thoughts

While dating apps can be convenient, they’re not always the best way to find a meaningful relationship. Swiping through profiles is easy, but it often leads to shallow conversations and disappointing encounters. Singles of all ages are feeling fed up with the superficiality and unpredictability of online dating. Maybe it’s time to step away from the screen and try meeting people in real life.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!