Online dating has come a long way since ‘You’ve Got Mail’, the 1998 movie in which Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fall in love via an internet chat room. Dating apps, such as 'Tinder', 'Happn' and 'OKCupid' are rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways of seeking a relationship. However, what sort of relationships are they manufacturing? With so much unlimited access to people and the impression that there will always ‘other options’- are these apps encouraging us to favour polyamorous relationships (Greek for ‘many lovers’) over settling down and finding love in the traditional sense? And have these apps really changed the dating landscape for the better?
Plenty of fish in the sea.
The same thing applies when shopping for jeans. There’s often just too much choice. Do I go for the high-waisted skinnies or the boot cut with the tapered cuff? Or what about the boyfit ones?
I JUST DON’T KNOW.
* Walks out the shop empty handed. *
The same applies to men. Or women. Or both. Too much choice leads to an excessive amount of options. Someone hotter, smarter, richer than your current partner/friend-with-benefits. So why stick to one? Instead of wasting your time chatting to one guy at a bar- which may or may not lead to something more- Tinder can connect you to multiple people. Multiple options. As a result, relationships have become an option. Not a priority.
Why stop fishing?
According to psychologist Christopher Ryan, Human beings aren’t sexually monogamous by nature.
So why bother with relationships at all?
Well, as a big fan of ‘happy ever after' endings I can’t say I am too pleased about this. I have just about out grown the idea of ‘the one’ because the whole concept used to stress me out too much (“But what happens if I move to America and The One was actually in England all along?? Or what if The One strolled right past me as I was tying my shoelace??!?) Too much is left up to chance, fate and circumstance for this to be deemed reliable dating advice. Yet, I do strongly believe that there aren’t many people out there for each of us- because otherwise what would be the difference between that ‘special guy’ and the guy that served you your skinny latte at Starbucks? You might as well stick a boyfriend badge on any guy with reasonable manners and hygiene standards. But you won’t….why? Because I think deep down we are all looking for a spark. A meaningful connection where we just click with another human being.
Perhaps I’m just a hopeless romantic who has read far too many 'Mills and Boons' novels but I can’t believe that the internet has the power to manufacture that kind of magic. It is a powerful tool which helps us to build bigger networks and stay connected but it should not obstruct or inhibit real-life relationships. The sort of face-to-face contact that’s not photo-shopped or spell checked. It is the kind of contact where we are completely and utterly out in the open- warts, stutter, knuckle cracking and all.
Swipe right for real-life.