Are dating apps turning us into commitment-phobes?
Dating apps offer up a virtual swiping smorgasbord … but all that choice may be creating a romance FOMO that makes it harder to find lasting love.
Like most modern singles, Michelle Kim dipped her toe into the world of dating apps in her search for love.
At first, she enjoyed scrolling through the wide pool of profiles in her search for love, connecting with men she might never normally meet.
Every match was an opportunity to chat to someone new, try out different restaurants and bars, and move a step closer to finding a partner.
“You name it, I tried it – Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, The League, Match.com, eHarmony, OKCupid!, Happn,” says the candle maker.
But she soon stumbled upon the same men rotating through each app, and the fun factor wore off.
“Most men seemed to genuinely want a relationship, but because there were so many women to pick from, there was no need for them to commit for fear of missing out on someone better,” says Michelle, 40.
“It quickly turned into homework, having to continuously fill the dating funnel with new matches, messaging back and forth, and scheduling dates.”
After four years on and off dating apps, she found love the old-fashioned way – at a friend’s party.
The American woman spotted an Aussie surfer across the room and sparks flew. Five years later they are living together on Victoria’s Surf Coast.
Why millions are tapping into the game of love
Every year, millions of Australians are swiping right for love, using dating apps and matchmaking websites like never before.
But one survey found that while 60 per cent have tried online dating, only 25 per cent were treading that path for a long-term partner.
So with an overwhelming number of options being thrown in front of singles, are dating apps making it harder to commit?
The experts are divided.
Yes: We are getting relationship FOMO
The smorgasbord of singles available on apps is contributing to an increasing fear-of-missing-out syndrome for those on the dating scene, says relationship coach Beck Thompson, of The Relationship Circle.
“Somehow people assume that the options are never ending, so they don’t want to commit to one person who meets some of their needs – in case someone better comes along who meets all of their needs,” Beck says.
“The difficulty with that is that it is unrealistic, and it puts a lot of pressure on relationships.
“People can choose the tiniest detail that might annoy them about someone, and move on to the next one.
“It’s as if people are getting FOMO and don’t want to miss out, so therefore won’t commit.”
No: Phobia of commitment is a deeper issue
Dating coach Debbie Rivers says a reluctance to jump into a relationship cannot be solely blamed on modern dating culture.
“When it comes to commitment issues, they often come from much deeper issues than the use of an app,” she says.
“It could stem from a past failed relationship and scared of being hurt again, or seeing their own parents’ divorce and not trusting love … or seeing too many failed relationships.”
She says dating apps such as Tinder are a tool and need to be used in the right way.
- Make an impression: Dos and don’ts of first dates
5 tips for finding love online
- Be direct and say what you want – a relationship, or casual dating – and ask for honesty in exchange.
- Actions speak louder than words. People just looking for a hook-up won’t treat you the same way as someone looking for a partner.
- Be real. Have an authentic profile where you show, rather than tell, who you are. This will attract the right people.
- Honesty-bombing is the new black. Engage in small talk but don’t be afraid to broach bigger topics too, such as vaccines, mental health, children and marriage.
- Don’t take poor behaviour, such as ghosting, personally. The way people act says more about them than you.
Written by Elissa Doherty.