what if there is a nicer match after the next swipe?

AP

NOS NewsChanged

  • Carmen Dorlo

    editor online

  • Carmen Dorlo

    editor online

Was it the one aunt who asked during the holidays why you still didn’t have a partner, or was the lonely winter feeling decisive? The fact is that dating apps and websites are being used massively these days. It is now the busiest period in the online dating world, according to research from several dating platforms.

Online dating high season begins on December 27th, peaks on January 7th and runs until mid-February. On some dating websites, there is even a quadrupling of registrations. “The confrontation of being single during the holidays and sitting alone on the sofa after all the social obligations, these are the main reasons for the crowds,” says dating site Pepper.

According to the dating app Happn, a fresh start is the reason for the busy time. “There are new opportunities. For many people, one of the New Year’s resolutions is to meet a new love.”

Dating in 2018

Online dating is the most normal thing in the world for some and a mystery for others. What does that really mean in 2018?

Dating sites such as Lexa, Relatieplanet and Pepper and dating apps such as Tinder, Happn and Grindr are now part of the search for a new partner. Every third bachelor engages in online dating, and 14 percent of all Dutch couples know each other via the Internet, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands. “Online dating has become an integral part of the modern man’s mating dance,” says Marcelino Lopez, author of the book Love in Times of Facebook.

New dating

The ‘new dating’ also has new consequences. “In the past, there were fewer choices. You chose a peer from your village or town, and if you liked each other, you got married. It was very simple,” says dating expert Tosca Sel. “Dating as it was now was not possible, after all you only had your hand full of options. And if you had used them, it would have been difficult. Now you have 200,000 options at the touch of a button. Then you really like someone, but still dump them, because you think his socks are ugly. There are still 199,999 other people you can date.”

Before you know it, you’ve thrown away what your parents would call the love of their life.

Tosca Sel, dating expert

This way of dating leads to choice overload, Sel continues. “There’s so much choice, that’s why it’s hard to commit. After three months of absence, Tinder will start sending you messages again: ‘so many people liked you’, ‘we miss you’, etc. And then you’re on the bathroom and you go look and notice that other people are nice too. Before you know it, you’ve thrown away what your parents would call the love of their life.”

Author (and psychologist) Lopez cites the results of studies. “Give a human brain lots of competing options and it paralyzes. It cannot see the consequences of all the choices and therefore finds none of the choices satisfying,” he explains. “The brain keeps going in circles endlessly. More than five, six options don’t make you happier.”

Greener grass

Many young bachelors recognize themselves in the election stress. “People are much more critical. The grass is always greener on the other side,” says 31-year-old Jessica from Amsterdam. 28-year-old Mehrnaz from Amersfoort also recognizes the picture. “People have become more shallow and afraid that if you choose someone, you’re letting go of someone better.” Therefore, the whole dating process takes much longer than usual, she says. “No one will mention it and everyone will take it easy.”

Now there will still be a lot of sex through apps, but more and more people are also dating.

Tosca Sel

According to Tim, the way of dating suits this era. “The internet has ensured that we can easily compare and buy the best holidays, the best restaurants and the best products. Sometimes I fear that I approach dating in this way too. What if after the next swipe a better match?”

The dating apps Tinder and Happn have 2.2 million users in the Netherlands alone. These apps were initially known for their fleeting contacts. “In the past, these apps were used a lot for sex,” says Tosca Sel. “It works very quickly. Now there will still be a lot of sex through apps, but more and more people are also dating. I hear success stories around me more often.”

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Screenshot of Tinder conversation

Still, dating without immediately talking about a relationship is popular. There is no longer a taboo on foraging, say several bachelors. “A friend of mine threw away months on such an Amsterdam hipster in his 30s who wouldn’t call their relationship a relationship, only wanted to fling. But in the meantime they are already living as a couple … very stupid,” it says 27-year-old Felicia.

Typical of this hype are the different names of the relationship stages among younger people, especially students. For example, there is ‘twarrel’ (questionable free-range), ‘quail’ (quality free-range) and ‘prela’ (the stage just before intercourse). All this to see if a relationship with this person is really the best choice.

I have tried everything for a while with my current partner.

Laurie

Dating this way was truly a gift, says 35-year-old Jules. “After a long relationship, it was nice to have short-term contacts outside of my usual circles for a while.” Short-term contacts were not just for sex, he continues. “I think it’s a prejudice in online dating. Yes, you get laid with someone faster, but if you don’t keep in touch after that, while that expectation is there, you’re a dick. Just like in real life.”

Laurie has also struggled with her relationship status for a long time. “I’ve tried everything with my current partner for a while: relaxed sex but friends. It did not work. An open relationship because we both traveled a lot. Didn’t work either. So nothing because we are so young and why should we commit. That did not work either. And then a relationship. So I think we’re more open to other kinds of relationships, but ultimately we need the same things as our parents.”

Grindr, a dating app for men, actually makes dating easier, says Su. “A world without Grindr fished in a pond without bait, with Grindr the fish jump right out of the pond and into your bucket.”

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Screenshot of Tinder conversation

A confusing world, says 27-year-old Anouk, who has been in a relationship for ten years and therefore comes from a ‘different date generation’. “There is no more mystery, people no longer want to discover each other. That’s right: bam, on it.”

There is indeed a new reality, says dating expert Sel. “It’s comfortable. It’s as normal to meet someone online as it is in a supermarket, a pub or even a bus shelter.”

Match via artificial intelligence?

And that reality will continue to evolve, Lopez says. “I think artificial intelligence will take off. Also with the search for partners that are right for you. A deep emotional click seems hard to predict, but I think that in the end you can predict which people have good matching properties.”

Until then, we will only focus on ‘normal’ online dating. Because Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. “And it’s also a good reason to look for a date now,” Pepper said.

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