Even a decade ago, online dating was still largely misunderstood. There was a conception that it was in some way less authentic than meeting organically and that relationships resulting from the practice were not made to last.
Today, this has changed. Now, no one blinks when a couple announces they met online. It’s become the norm, and in 2020, it is the most common way for partners to connect. In fact, 39 per cent of all relationships begin online.
One thing is for sure, online dating is now widespread—it has actually become rather hard to find someone who hasn’t used a dating app. But does it really result in marriage? And if so, how does this modernistic origin impact the long-term relationships that were formed on it?
According to Our World in Data, there are some very interesting statistics emerging on marriage and divorce in the modern world, and many of these are at odds with the dating site stigma that once existed (and still does, to some extent).
Even though these sites and apps have been accused of fuelling hook-up culture, especially among younger people, the numbers say otherwise. In fact, while fewer of us are getting married, it’s not because we’re avoiding long-term relationships; instead, we’re choosing to cohabit, which is just as legitimate in most people’s eyes.
In addition, divorce rates are actually lower among younger demographics, despite an awful lot of couples initially meeting online. Indeed, in many wealthy countries, the average duration of marriages is increasing.
Take the UK as an example. From the 1970s to the end of the 80s, the average marriage duration fell from 12 years to nine. However, this has now gradually increased again, so that it once more sits at a little over 12 years.
What’s interesting to note is that online dating is believed to be contributing to this trend.
In what way is online dating impacting modern marriages? Firstly, it’s responsible for introducing many now engaged and married couples, with 44 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men on dating apps stating that they’re looking for a serious long-term relationship.
Of those who met in this way, 14 per cent of the couples surveyed ended up getting engaged or married, with a further 15 per cent claiming they’d been together for more than a year. This data proves that the odds are very much in your favour when it comes to finding a long-term partner—even a potential spouse—online.
In fact, meeting in this way might help explain the longevity of these relationships according to experts. That’s because, unlike partnerships that begin organically, those who connect online tend to know what they’re looking for.
According to Badoo, this is one of the reasons why it’s important to have a strong dating profile that allows your personality to shine through. Certainly, 21.5 per cent of men and 19.1 per cent of women say they’re drawn to those with common interests, while descriptions are also given a lot of weight when choosing potential partners.
That’s because these are good indicators of compatibility, and compatibility tends to contribute to strong and enduring relationships that last the test of time. This means, essentially, that your next virtual date could well be your Mr or Mrs Right.
The coronavirus outbreak is only now starting to seriously affect the UK and the US, and everyone is panicking. Here I am, working from home during what seems to be the end of the world. People are scared, confused and unsure about what lies ahead. Have we got enough food in the house? Am I really going to do all my meetings through video calls for the next month? Even worse, am I really going to be unable to date people for a whole month?
Reaching ultimate boredom because you’re stuck in the house is one thing; self-isolating and therefore missing out on many great dates—and, potentially, great sex—is another thing. Here’s how the coronavirus is impacting our dating lives and what you can do to make things just a tiny bit better.
Speaking with some friends about whether or not they were still using dating apps and if so what for, one just stated what should have been obvious to me: “it’s making people horny innit.” Well, it turns out it actually is. Hinge has become the ‘place to be’ for thirsty coronavirus pick-up lines. Tinder is kindly asking its users to wash their hands and avoid touching their face—let alone go any further than chatting through the app. People are home, bored and swiping through profiles just to get a distraction from our constant anxiety-inducing pandemic newsfeed.
Add self-isolation to general public health concerns, and people feel lonely, panicked and desperate for some company. Friends that were ‘on the market’ for a few months have decided to delete their dating apps completely, justifying this by explaining that opportunities are much slimmer and that nobody seems to be talking about anything else at all. “Dating during a pandemic is just… different,” said one.
Screen Shot spoke to a Tinder spokesperson about how the app was approaching the outbreak and what measures it was taking to inform people to stay safe. “Tinder understands that our members are oftentimes meeting new people in-person, and given the current environment, we wanted to remind them of the precautions they should take. All of the suggestions shared are from the World Health Organization, and we are making it easy for everyone on Tinder to find out more by linking directly from the app to the WHO site.” In other words, at the moment, there’s not much the app can do apart from encouraging people to avoid meeting for dates.
However, while it looks like regular activity is continuing on Tinder, the dating app just recently had to cancel the release of its apocalyptic-themed in-app video series called Swipe Night. The company had planned to release the first season of the show offering a five-minute interactive story where users made choices to progress the narrative. These choices would then appear on the users’ profiles and would be used to match them with others who also took the same action. Apocalyptic theme put aside, this actually sounded like a good distraction. Another one bites the dust.
The same can be said for other dating apps such as Bumble, Hinge and Grindr. And while the reasons behind this drought are more than justified, FaceTiming matches and having phone sex might not cut it.
That’s where Feeld comes in. For those of you who haven’t heard about it before, Feeld is a dating app for people interested in polyamory, kink, swinging and other alternative sexual preferences. Speaking to Feeld’s head of PR Lyubov Sachkova, Screen Shot asked about the app’s new way of facilitating intimate interactions. “Being online is what everyone seems to be doing now, more so than ever. What that means for dating is that while people might not be meeting in real life they still would want to connect with like-minded individuals and create connections, chat and get to know one another,” explained Sachkova.
So what is Feeld doing better than the rest of our dating apps? It is introducing a feature that will actually relieve us from our self-isolating horny state. “We recently launched a project titled For Play where you can digitally touch, tease and flirt with others”. If you decide to enter the For Play universe, you will be transformed into a floating avatar that both mirrors and completely abstracts your features. Your ‘orb’-like avatar is then assigned to a digital room where you can play with up to three other live participants.
What’s the deal, some of you might ask. “We are aiming to create a multi-sensory digital experience that stimulates sight, touch and hearing. So hopefully in this time of social distancing we can still feel the positive effects of human touch even if only digitally for now.” While we’re all stuck inside losing our mind over the tiniest thing only because we can’t deal with being isolated for more than two days, For Play gives you the chance to get a tiny bit of gratification and thrill over bumping your orb against someone else’s—sounds dirty, I know.
What we can take away from this is that dating will not be the same for a little while. Whether you decide to keep on using dating apps to chat online or have already deleted Hinge from your phone, we can all agree that self-isolation is, technically, making meeting new people harder for everyone. It’s all about your determination now. Are you willing to date through FaceTime? If not, For Play seems like the safest (and funnest) option.
So, what are you waiting for? Want to bump your orb against mine? Just make sure you wash it first.