Dating apps don’t destroy love

Mobile apps have revolutionized the way people meet in Switzerland and elsewhere in recent years. Unlike traditional dating sites, these apps do not feature detailed user profiles, but are largely based on rating photos using a scan review system. As the popularity of dating apps increased, reviews about them only encourage casual dating, threatening the existence of long-term engagement and potentially affecting the quality of intimacy. There is no scientific evidence, however, to validate these claims. A study from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, provides a wealth of information on couples who met through dating apps, drawing on data from a 2018 Swiss survey. results, published in the journal PLOS ONE, indicate that couples formed by the application have stronger cohabitation intentions than couples who meet in a non-digital environment. Additionally, women who have found their partner through a dating app have stronger desires and intentions to have children than those who have found their partner offline. Despite fears about a deterioration in the quality of relationships, partners met on dating apps express the same level of satisfaction as others with their relationship. Finally, the study shows that these applications play an important role in modifying the composition of couples by enabling couples who are more educationally diverse and geographically distant.

The meteoric rise in romantic dating on the internet is fast becoming the first place for couples’ training in Switzerland, along with meetings between friends. “The Internet profoundly transforms the dynamics of meetings”, confirms Gina Potarca, researcher at the Institute of Demography and Socioeconomics of the Faculty of Social Sciences of UNIGE, and holder of an Ambizione research grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation. scientific research to study the effects of digital media on the formation and sorting of marriages. “It offers an unprecedented abundance of meeting opportunities and involves minimal effort and no third party intervention. These new dating technologies include smartphone apps like Tinder or Grindr, where users select mates by browsing and swiping images. These apps have raised concerns, however: “Much of the media claims that they have a negative impact on the quality of relationships because they make people unable to invest in an exclusive or long-term relationship. there is no evidence that this is the case, ”continues Dr Potarca.

Facilitated meetings

The Geneva researcher decided to study the intentions of couples to start a family, their relationship satisfaction and their individual well-being, as well as to assess the composition of the couple. Dr Potarca used a 2018 family survey from the Federal Statistical Office. The analysis presented in this study covers a sub-sample of 3,235 people over the age of 18 who were in a relationship and who had met their partner during the past decade.

Dr Potarca found that dating sites – the digital tools for meeting partners that predated apps – mostly attracted people over 40 and / or divorced people looking for romance. “By eliminating the lengthy quizzes, self-descriptions, and personality tests that dating site users typically have to complete to create a profile, dating apps are much easier to use. This has normalized the act of dating. online and open for use among younger categories of the population.

Looking for a lasting relationship

Dr Potarca investigated whether couples who met on dating apps had different intentions to start a family. The results show that couples formed after meeting on an app were more motivated by the idea of ​​cohabiting than others. “The study does not say whether their final intention was to live together in the long or short term, but given that there is no difference in the intention to marry, and that marriage remains an institution In central Switzerland, some of these couples probably see cohabitation as a trial period before marriage. It is a pragmatic approach in a country where the divorce rate is constantly around 40%. Couples formed through dating apps have mentioned wanting and planning to have a child in the near future, more than with any other means of meeting.

But what do couples who have met this way think about the quality of their relationship? The study shows that, regardless of the context of the meeting, couples are also satisfied with their life and the quality of their relationship.

Couples with a diverse socio-educational profile

The study highlights a final aspect. Dating apps encourage a mix of different education levels, especially between highly educated women and less educated men. Partners with more diverse socio-educational profiles “may have to do with selection methods that focus primarily on the visual”, explains the researcher. Since users can easily connect with partners in their immediate region (but also in other spaces when on the move), the apps make it easier to meet up to more than 30 minutes, resulting in increased relationships at distance.

“Knowing that dating apps have likely become even more popular during this year’s lockdown and social distancing periods, it is reassuring to dismiss alarming concerns about the long-term effects of using these tools,” concludes Dr. Potarca.


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