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Swipe, match, repeat; the struggles of modern dating

Over time dating apps have become significantly popular, with people downloading the apps to either try and find ‘the one’, or simply to have a bit of fun. This new form of match-making is completed in a few simple steps:  individuals create a profile, add pictures of themselves and provide a few details about the kind of person they are. This has redefined the world of modern dating, and has now caused “choice overload” and “cognitive burden” for its users.

 

Photo: Adobe Stock 2022

According to Relationships Australia, whilst social media is helpful with maintaining relationships, its use has been linked to “loneliness and anxiety”. The report shows that 51% of women and 37% of men view online dating as a platform that did not lead to healthier, safer relationships and that the traditional way of meeting people in person was a more successful approach. 


Madeleine Fugère, is a dating and relationship expert and a professor of Social Psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University. In an article published on Psychology Today, she highlights the role dating apps play in modern dating and how “having a larger number of choices makes us less likely to commit to one person”.


Fugère claims that people who choose a partner based solely on physical factors may find it difficult to find, maintain, and experience a long-term healthy relationship.


“I’ve had enough and I’m just tired of it all,” said 20-year-old Bianca Ross, who has been on the search for love on several dating apps including Hinge and Tinder. “I am completely and utterly exhausted,” she said. “They’re all just as bad as each other.” 


“Some guys prefer to play games rather than commit to a long-term relationship,” Ross said. “Dating apps like Hinge have given people the opportunity to completely judge someone based on a few details, and then decide whether it will or could be your forever person”.


41-year-old Janelle Smith “misses the good old days,” back when people “exchanged numbers and called each other on the landline.”

“It really showed someone was interested in you,” Smith said. “Now everyone plays games, and replying fast is deemed desperate. What a world!”


24-year-old Tayla Shannon expressed her gratitude for the dating apps, as she said she found her “perfect person” on Hinge.  Shannon says she was only on the app for about a month before she matched with her current boyfriend. “I didn’t realise how quickly things would all work out for me. I’m just so happy and so in love.”


According to Relationships Australia, almost 1 in 4 people aged under 44 years old have met their partner online. 


However, in a 2022 study it found that nearly 72.3% of Australians who used dating apps had experienced some form of sexual harassment, aggression and violence by someone they had met through a dating platform. This has been traumatic and extremely stressful for some and has influenced people to no longer use the apps.

 

In a joint media release published on the federal government website from September last year, the Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, and the Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, demanded that dating sites ensure that safe policies and practices are in place for Australian users. In the release, they stated that legislative consequences will be pursued if dating apps do not help ensure optimal safety for users of the apps. 


Account bans have been imposed on Hinge due to some users violating community guidelines, which are in place to ensure a safe and respectful environment for those on the platform. Common reasons for being banned from the app include inappropriate content, harassment or engaging in behaviour that goes against the app's terms of service. 


While dating apps give people an opportunity at finding love, it can also come along with inherent risks and drawbacks. The important thing is to learn how to navigate through those difficult situations, learn from them, and above all, ensure you put yourself first.





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