Throughout my years of attempting to navigate the bewildering world of modern romance, I’ve had many aversions towards online dating and widely used apps such as Tinder and Plenty of Fish.
Without delving straight into it or coming across as deeply judgmental, I will simply say that for the good part of the first few years Tinder surfaced into today’s dating world, I was under the impression that they were reserved for singletons who had a hard time managing to secure dates in real life – to be perfectly fair, I have no doubt in my mind that many of us shared a similar sentiment at one point or another.
It is not untrue that the growing popularity of Tinder and online dating has positively impacted the calendars of not only the socially awkward types who could never work up the courage to ask someone out on a date face-to-face. But also the calendars of individuals who simply do not have the time to meet a potential partner in ‘traditional’ ways.
Even with that in mind, I can’t help but wonder if the pros of helping those who might just have an overwhelming fear of facing rejection could possibly outweigh the cons of replacing the instant chemistry, emotional connection and sexual tension that could only be detected in the presence of a human being towards whom we have an attraction for.
I recently had an epiphany about modern relationships which made me question a lot of my views surrounding them. It came about because I recognised that I was gradually turning into a cynic about love, sex and relationships. As someone who has always had a very positive – and possibly even naive outlook – on everything that falls within the scope of love and dating (we were all Charlotte Yorks at some stage in life), I found it disheartening to see myself develop an attitude that is the antithesis of what I’ve always stood for.
This forced me to look deeper into common behaviours within modern dating and recurring patterns that I’ve been seen both in myself and the failed relationships of others. It made me question the dreadful future a lot of singletons of today and Tinder users may be heading towards.
It forced me to question whether the existence of Tinder and online dating and the increased accessibility we have to each other is a large part of the reason why men and women alike are less attracted to the idea of settling down and are instead moving more towards being sexually liberated about whom we explore our carnal desires with.
Did the burning desire to freely explore our sexual choices always exist within us and are dating apps simply revealing what we’ve always subconsciously wanted or can we hold online dating at all accountable for the fact that less and less millennials are getting married?
It’s a loaded question that has many layers, not only because there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration, but particularly because it brings in the conversation of monogamy and its biological implications. It suggests monogamy is simply a social construct that goes against human nature – an argument for which there is a lot of evidence, but a discussion for another day.
The topic at hand is the classic ‘egg or the chicken’ debate. Did the desire to be sexually free birth a large number of dating apps or did the large number of dating apps birth a generation in which the the average age of brides and grooms continue to rise?
Before we can attempt to look at this objectively, we need to look at the facts. The internet was only made widely accessible about three decades ago. In retrospect, that isn’t a very long time to fully understand or even attempt to grasp the full repercussions of having such an advanced technology be so readily available. One of the first popular dating sites came about nearly 25 years ago, and following the likes of Ashley Madison and Seeking Arrangement, it led to a lot of negative connotations.
To the contrary, the first marriage records date back to the 19th Century in Ireland and much earlier in the U.S. So how can we truly know the impact of online dating on the human psyche and the evolution of marriage? Thy say social media addiction activates the same areas of the brain as taking a class A drug, now that alone should be enough to startle us.
According to the Central Statistics Office, there were 20, 389 opposite sex marriages in Ireland in 2018, a drop from 21,262 recorded from the previous year. The average age of brides and grooms last year were 34.4 years and 36.4 years respectively.
Granted, there are a considerable number of reasons for this and I am in no way shape or form suggesting that online dating alone is the reason why the average age of grooms in opposite-sex marriage was at the highest to date last year. But it does make you question what role dating technology currently plays and the impact it will continue to have in coming years. After all, for those who do get hitched, one in four couples end up going their separate way.
Now that’s something to think about.
- 10000Dating. I’ve never really been a fan of the term. Not only do I think it’s very American, but the word itself makes me incredibly awkward. Whenever I hear the word date, I automatically picture two strangers sitting in close proximity to one another in an often controlled environment: uncomfortable body…