How do you feel about online dating? Couples can still be a little reluctant to say they met online. From now on, though, they should shrug off any lingering social stigma, as a new study has found that partners who meet by swiping right can have just as strong and long-lasting relationships as people who meet in person.
Though many have viewed matchmaking sites such as Tinder and Bumble as more concerned to facilitate one night stands and casual sex, it turns out that those who hook up on those sites often have deeper long-term relationship goals than those who get together in other ways. A survey in 2018 of over 3,000 Swiss people found ‘no difference between couples initiated through dating apps and those initiated elsewhere regarding relationship and life satisfaction’. Moreover, for women seeking partners on dating apps, they had ‘stronger fertility desires and intentions than those who found partners offline’.
And internet dating apps have also led to more people from different backgrounds encountering one another. A notable difference was in relative levels of educational background. One finding was that dating apps increased the ‘mixing’ of ‘high-educated women and lower-educated men’. The reason suggested for this was that the selection process focused ‘mainly on the visual’. Physical attraction, given the apps prioritization of photo-based choices, may lead women, in particular, to be more likely based on that to overlook a lower level of education than they would if the first encounter were in person.
Sex, dating and coronavirus
The study takes on even more significance in the current coronavirus pandemic. It has made dating in person much more difficult and risky, where social mingling is even allowed. And so many are turning to dating apps as an alternative.
With the apps becoming more popular, it is reassuring for many to discover that early criticism of them was misguided and any continuing whiff of stigma, dismissed. Of course, many will still want to use them for casual sex and short-term hook-ups – but for those looking for a longer lasting and deeper relationship, dating apps are just as good as meeting any other way.