Talk to two people — even two relationship experts — about the function of dating apps and you can easily get two very different opinions.
Claudia Duran is in the sometimes-helpful-but-mostly-making-things-worse camp: She uses the term “swipe vulture culture” to describe people’s behavior on these services.
Duran is a Miami-based matchmaker at dating service Elite Connections, where she charges $15,000 for a six-month membership. When I spoke with her by phone in July, she said “this digital saturation” has led more and more clients to her door, looking for something more effective and less frustrating.
The main problem with dating apps is the “illusion of overabundance of fish in the sea,” Duran said, “when really there isn’t an overabundance. To find someone special is so very rare.”
Another, related issue Duran has observed is that “it’s very easy to fall into the trap of swiping and likes. It’s that instant gratification.”
Duran went on: “People start to become reliant on that sort of high and instant ‘Wow! They like me!'” It doesn’t take long, she said, before “it really becomes an ego-feeding thing, rather than going out there, sitting with someone, and really just starting to get honest and vulnerable.”
Duran’s perspective differs somewhat from that of another relationship expert I’ve interviewed, Eli Finkel, who is a psychologist at Northwestern University, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, and the author of “The All-Or-Nothing Marriage.”
When I spoke with Finkel last September, he said the best thing about online dating is that it widens your pool of prospective mates — i.e. shows you that there are plenty of fish in the sea. Apps like Tinder, he has said, are the best way to go, precisely because you get tons of options.
Meanwhile, Jess Carbino, Bumble’s in-house sociologist (she used to work at Tinder) previously told me that you shouldn’t be spending hours every day swiping through profiles without actually communicating with anyone.
Instead, Carbino recommend spending 30 minutes a day and then using the rest of your time to actually go on dates with people you’ve matched with.
Duran isn’t against dating apps per se — but she doesn’t think they’re conducive to finding a long-term relationship. “It’s fine to use the services if you’re having fun and looking for adventure,” she said. For “extending your network, hookups — this kind of thing is a very good tool.”
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