The new rules of modern dating

Bumble, breadcrumbing, benching … it’s a whole new game (and language) in the digital dating world, says sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein.

Remember when you used to head to the closest nightclub or party to meet the person of your dreams?

Now you’re just as likely to be lounging around in your PJs, swiping through a dating app.

But, even with the help of technology, finding love in the modern world can be tough.

“While the digital age has certainly opened up our choices when it comes to dating, it also means it’s more fast-paced and superficial than it’s ever been,” says sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein.

“Men in particular don’t spend a lot of time reading profiles; they’re usually flipping through photos, looking for something that attracts them.

“They also know they can just jump back on that same app at any time. That can mean while it’s easy to get a first date, if everything isn’t absolutely perfect for the other person they can quickly lose attention and because of technology have this idea there are endless options.”

Here are Nikki’s tips for dating in the digital age.

Choose your app

Technology has opened up a world of choice, with numerous apps available to help you find love.

“There is a plethora of apps out there, some good and some bad, so do your research,” Nikki says.

The Bumble app, created by former Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe, allows only women to make the first move.

There’s no rush

“Digital dating can be addictive so one of my biggest tips would be to take it easy,” Nikki says.

“Find something that really interests you about a person – look for pets in their photos if you like animals, or check to see if they’re involved in sports if that’s what you’re into.”

Be honest

Technology has brought with it a whole new dating dictionary, including terms like “breadcrumbing” (leading someone on with flirtatious messages but no intention of following them through) and “benching” (putting your partner ‘out of play’ while you check out others).

“Technology basically lets us lie,” Nikki says. “I would say be true to yourself. Use a photo that looks like you. Be proud of yourself and what you’re all about. You have a better chance of finding someone who matches your values if you’re honest.”

Give love a chance …

“You’ve been through the process of messaging them, perhaps talking on the phone and now you’re about to sit down and have a drink or a walk on the beach. Talk to them about their hobbies, see if they make you laugh, and share stories,” Nikki says.

… But trust your gut

Nikki also advises caution. “Always go with your instincts,” says Nikki. “If you feel something is off or feel you’re in any kind of danger.”

Remember, life isn’t all about technology

It’s still important to know how to strike up a conversation in real time. “Put your phone in your bag while you’re waiting for your coffee and start a conversation with the person next to you. Be approachable. You never know where it might lead,” says Nikki.

The downfalls of dating in the digital arena

Visit for more dating advice or listen to Nikki’s Sex and Life podcast.

Written by Liz McGrath