Online dating has been a way for people to meet and begin romantic relationships for years now. The first site dedicating to helping you find love over the internet was Match.com all the way back in the distant year of 1995. But it was Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks who really helped popularize the concept with the 1998 rom com You’ve Got Mail. In recent years, those algorithm-based sites of old have fallen off quite a bit compared to the swiping apps that dominate the online dating scene today. Tinder, alone, has about 75 million active monthly users.
Dating apps, such as Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble for example, are mostly populated by younger people. In a pew Research Poll, 48% of respondents were between 18 and 29 years old. These apps also seem to be more heavily utilized by members of the LGB community- 55% of respondents who have used online dating apps identify as such. Outside of age and sexual orientation, though, there is not much else you could use to separate users from one another.
This “new” way of meeting someone doesn’t come without its problems. According to a Pew Research poll, 53% of women who use online dating apps are not a safe way to meet potential partners. Grace Castiglia, a 23-year-old from Marlton, New Jersey, said, “men are scary and not knowing who is on the other side of the screen is terrifying and potentially very dangerous.” Castiglia has been using dating apps for the better part of a year and thankfully does not claim to have had any harrowing experiences of her own. “I’m shocked the number of women who don’t feel safe isn’t higher.” According to Dr. Lopez Witmer, a New York City psychologist with the Therapy Group of NYC, says that negative experiences, such as ghosting, lead to low self-esteem in the victim. Witmer also says that Tinder users are more susceptible to mental health issues than those who do not have a Tinder profile.
The disparity between the sexes when it comes to the online dating experience does not end with safety concerns, however. Men are much more likely to feel as if they aren’t receiving enough messages on their profiles- 57% of men according to Pew Research Center to be exact. Compare that to just 6% who feel they get too many messages. “For a long time,” Matt Dalrymple said, “I was really down on myself because girls wouldn’t respond to my messages.” This is how most men feel when using dating apps. “It doesn’t feel good when you look down the line of messages and they’re all not responded to.” Conversely, 24% of women polled find the number of messages they receive to be underwhelming compared to the 30% who feel they get too many.
Despite these negative feelings many feel towards online dating, more than half of polled users report positive experiences. Almost a third of the time users say they are shown other users they are physically attracted to. But are these positives worth the mental struggles dating apps can cause in its users.