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New age dating Photo by Korney Violin on Unsplash. In a world where meeting someone online is the new norm, the demand for more niche dating sites has only risen since the first online dating forum, Match. Now there is everything from sites based on algorithms analyzing a person's character traits to selecting a date solely based on their musical tastes.


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It was a dull, grey afternoon in April when Jordyn McDonald, 20, finally took the plunge and ed Tinder.

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Notice: Remvoing copyright notice is a crime. I close the app, ignoring any messages I have gotten from new matches, and open up Instagram to look at memes instead. My thumb instantly settles into the familiar scroll across the smartphone screen.

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The battles of human boredom today can be fought against with either swiping or scrolling. If the advent of online dating apps, such as Tinder or Bumble, brought the collective of single smartphone users any excitement at the new expanses of romantic possibility, that sentiment seems to be ebbing. In theory, location-based dating apps should make dating easier than ever.

The concept of swiping through potential real-life romantic partners online has become a normalized tenet of modern dating, whether we like it or not.

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And yet, dating in the digital age is exhausting. InTinder reported a collective 1.

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Our daily existence seems to operate through screens and devices more and more. Swiping left and right becomes a game; the people we swipe on become bite-sized versions of themselves, and the nuance can get lost. And in many ways, the profiles we swipe through on our dating apps have themselves become more content to consume. A lot of the time, we want to be more interesting than we actually are, and our online persona is a performance to prove this.

From distractions to jealousy, how americans navigate cellphones and social media in their romantic relationships

Being cut off from someone so abruptly can be traumatizing. Being behind a screen is a safe place to act in bad ways.

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And when we are exposed to a seemingly infinite conveyor belt of other people to talk to on dating apps, we forget the real people on the other side. Perhaps online dating is so exhausting because of this conveyor belt. A study compared the challenges of online dating with the economic concept of diminishing returns —the idea that satisfaction decreases over time.

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Over the course of three online dating simulations, participants rejected potential partners with a cumulative decrease of 27 per cent in the chance of acceptance from the first to last choice. Tila Pronk, the main author of the study and assistant professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Pronk, who has been studying relationships since and online dating for the past three years, is a big fan of dating apps.

As humans we love the freedom that comes with choice, but the breadth of options on dating apps is overwhelming.

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Swipe-based apps that prioritize images and scale over depth are part of the problem too. There is no scientific formula for love. But if dating apps want to foster quality connections, Dr. Pronk suggests a people-based approach that focuses on small-scale selections based on common qualities—which has yet to be implemented with current apps.

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Tila Pronk. After the pair matched, Charlie messaged her asking what she was doing that day, she responded, and he never replied. We can safely assume that Charlie has not been abducted by aliens, or that his phone has not been dead for the past week, because things like this happen all the time.

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Half-hearted or one-sided conversations are a symptom of apathetic dating. The ease and accessibility that dating apps provide make space for casual usage.

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We indulge ourselves in micro-doses of dating while we wait for the bus, or in line at the grocery store, with no real intent most of the time. This type of cursory dating makes up a large portion of the conversations on dating apps. A University of Oxford study analyzed the metadata of about 20 million messages from a mobile dating app the actual app is unnamed, for legal reasons and found that only about half of all messages sent out were responded to.

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One can assume the other 81 per cent were circuitous routes to dead ends. Those who use dating apps want to be desired, and the apps provide a sense of that. Dating has never been easy, regardless of the tools we use to find dates, but there is something uniquely counterintuitive about dating in a hyper-connected world.

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And yet, so many of us find ourselves exhausted by these apps; caught in an infinite loop of dead-end conversations, ghosting, and apathetic intention. We delete these apps in frustration only to return to them to feel, as all humans do, wanted. The rejection mindset tells us that the longer we use these apps, the more critical we become.

Riding the crest of the spirituality craze, dating app rlove wants to put the soul back in your swipe

We keep coming back to dating apps, each time a little more disillusioned than before, because it can feel like the only option. But even as we perfect our online personas in hopes that they could translate into the real world, swiping on dating apps—like scrolling through any other social media platform—is, in the end, just another thing to do to pass the time.

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