Do Dating Apps Work? 5 Questions That Will Get You Thinking

Do dating apps work

Online dating has been a primary choice for people with busy lives looking for love. The number of online dating users has been growing since its inception in 1999. Hundreds of dating sites and dating apps have appeared around the world, some for general audiences, and many for specific niches.

While you’ve probably heard or read some success stories of couples meeting through dating apps, the question remains as to whether apps improve one’s ability to find love?

Dating apps are designed to highlight personal features, hobbies, interests, religious preferences, career aspirations, and the like. However, something that will never be reflected by a dating app is the possibility of chemistry.

And if dating apps are there to help people meet, why do the numbers of singletons increase year after year? Are those people just opting out altogether from using apps? Are fewer people interested in finding love?

Of the people who are looking for love, and by love, I’m referring to the long term, monogamous kind, how many will land their true love via a dating app? Do dating apps work, or are they a waste of time? Here I outlined my primary concerns about online dating apps.

1. Do similar interests help you fall in love?

If the adage “opposites attract” holds any weight, then how does pooling people together based on similarities help to form loving relationships? This isn’t to say that people don’t need to have points of connection that bring them together. The notion that the more things you have in common, the better suited you are for one another is false. What makes people feel connected isn’t the things themselves, but the way they feel when they share experiences. The more shared experiences people have or create, the more connected they will feel.

Experiences take time and effort, something we are all short on. That’s what led to the demand and creation of dating apps in the first place. Without the investment of time for building a relationship, the relationship won’t take off.

The truth is, there is no magic bullet that helps indicate if two people are right for one another. There will always be this ephemeral, pie in the sky, can’t quite put your finger on it thing, that will bring people closer.

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People who meet and date with the notion they have so much in common, and they must be perfect for one another, is another falsehood that leaves many frustrated. Dating apps are great at fostering this “we should be perfect for one another because we match on 90% of the questions”, feeling.

There is no magic bullet that helps indicate if two people are right for one another. Click To Tweet

2. Do dating apps offer the support to find love?

Many of the clients I’ve worked with over the years shared with me that they often have a one-and-done dating style, especially when it comes to meeting people via dating apps. Given the “wealth” of information provided by a dating app, the expectation is that a first date will reveal so much about a person, once you meet in real life, that one date alone should do.

While I don’t feel people should go on a second date if there is no initial attraction, I also believe far too many are giving up before they’ve given the other person a chance. It’s all about achieving that balance between determining whether to cut things off or give it a chance with the second date and try to connect.

I’ve found many daters decide to cut things off too quickly or shlep things out over time. Were a dating app to incorporate a dating coach or mentor into their package of services, or were someone to hire a dating coach as they use these apps, they will find they can make better choices that will help their love life progress better. They will make more informed decisions that will help them be more reflective about the dating experience.

via Giphy

3. Does the choice ever satiate the appetite?

One thing dating apps do deliver is the number of choices, to the point where people are constantly thinking about the next one.

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Many people create dating profiles to check out an app and get their feet wet, but they have no real intention of using it. They just put up a profile so they can tell themselves they’ve given it a try and then cross it off their list.

Also, there is a chance you will stumble upon unsatisfied, bored, or disillusioned married people that use online dating apps to find a “piece on the side.”

While you’ll surely meet legit users, there will always be a few bad apples in the basket. Scammers with fake profiles are a plague of online dating, and you need to be careful who you trust, especially if you haven’t met that person in real life.

Too much choice isn’t always a good thing. Narrowing down the options and being clear about what you need is essential in order not to get overwhelmed. The problem is that many users of dating apps only provide a few basic lines, if at all, and a photo doesn’t tell much. It’s as if being on the app should be enough to galvanize the masses to ask them out.

Many people create dating profiles to check out an app and get their feet wet, but they have no real intention of using it. Click To Tweet

4. Can dating apps replace meeting people in real life?

Many people want to use dating apps because they find it hard to connect with new people in real life. They convince themselves that meeting someone online softens the experience. It makes it a bit easier.

The other problem with dating apps is that they raise your expectations. When you meet your date in real life, it can feel like a downer, and it rarely works in reverse. If you weren’t expecting much, you would often not even bother meeting up, to begin with.

Here are a few tips that will help you manage your dating expectations:

  • Expect a gap between the virtual image and the reality.
  • Know what you want from online dating. Having no expectations is not going to get you anywhere.
  • Be prepared that there will be a lot to discover.
  • Feel hopeful.
  • Be open to possibilities. The person you met virtually is just a sliver of the actual individual.
Know what you want from online dating. Having no expectations is not going to get you anywhere. Click To Tweet

5. Is dating really a numbers game?

It is hard to know what kind of person you’ve encountered when there is little to no physical contact.

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The main problem with dating apps is that member profiles can be very deceptive. A photo of a cool guy skydiving or holding his newborn niece may hide significant emotional issues, and you wouldn’t find out about them until much later, after investing your time and energy while getting to know the person. Unmatch! And then it starts all over again. Trying to connect with the wrong type of people is time-consuming and can get nerve-wracking, eventually causing dating burnout and deterring from looking for love.

When you meet people in real life through volunteering for a cause that’s close to your heart, enjoying a hobby, or getting involved in public events, you build a connection that develops over a slow simmer over time. There is no pressure to determine in 5 seconds or less, whether you feel something for a person.

Seeing the increase in dating app popularity, it doesn’t look like they will be going away any time soon. However, if you want to improve your chances of finding love, then getting off the app and taking part in more offline activities is a better way to go.

Micki is a Marriage and Family Therapist and Relationship Coach who educates people about love so they can develop skills to keep connected and growing. Her Public Health background inspired her to help individuals and couples create loving and proactive relationships from the start. Micki helps to deal with communication, sex, and intimacy issues, attachment and connection problems, infidelity, and commitment fears. Check out Micki’s website to learn more about her work.


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