If you've been wondering if you should join Tinder, but are scared of its hookup reputation, then I have good news for you: As it turns out, Tinder is not leading to the end of romance. That's right, I know you've heard about a plague of random hookups and millennials with too many options and relationship ADHD, but recent research shows that might just be a myth. And it was a surprise to everyone — even the researchers. They thought that the research would confirm the rumors about the apps, but actually found that most people on the apps valued lifelong long-term partnership.
The study looked at 366 participants — all of whom were on Tinder— and found that overall, Tinder was a win for relationships. Because you have to remember, the way apps are used is determined by the people who use them. “The meaning and usage of the apps are determined by the users and can change over time," study author from the University of Sydney, Dr. Mitchell Hobbs tells Bustle. "Some apps are seen as pathways to hookups and casual sex, while others are viewed as more of a matchmaking service for those seeking a relationship. Some apps, which achieve a critical mass of users, can be both. For instance, Tinder is used for casual hookups and for dating with the intent of finding a partner. In large urban environments, there are enough users for people to find romance and a life partner or, if they prefer, simply casual sex. Both outcomes of the dating network mean more power and choice — greater agency for the individual."
I met my girlfriend on Tinder and we're in a happy long-term relationship, and I'm not alone — I've been to a Tinder wedding and am about to go to another wedding that was the result of a dating site. Technology is everywhere and it gives you hookup and relationships, whichever suits your fancy.
Here's what the researchers found:
1. Most People Were Just As Monogamous On The App As Off
Yeah, some people use Tinder for hookups — and that's fine. Some people want hookups. So it's a way for those people to connect. But if you're looking for a relationship, 72 percent of users were just as monogamous using Tinder as when they don't. This means there are plenty of people looking for a monogamous relationship, if that's what you're into.
"On the surface, the proliferation of hookup apps might make it seem seem as though romance is dead and all anyone (particularly men) is looking for is sex," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "But once we scratch the surface it seems that people are not that different today from how they always were... If most people try their best to be loyal and monogamous while in a relationship, why should they be any different just because the relationship was started from an app?"
2. It Gives People More Opportunity
Swiping apps are giving people access to potential partners they wouldn't meet otherwise. And that's not an advertisement — that's what users think. Eighty-seven percent felt they had more opportunities as a result of this technology. I certainly felt that way and, for a lot of LGBT people, the IRL pool can be small, so meeting people online is a godsend.
3. It Provides Users With A Sense Of Control
I know dating apps can make feel like you're a little lost at sea sometimes— especially when you first use them. But once you wrap your head around it, you actually might feel like it gives you way more control. In fact, 66 percent said that they felt like they had more control over romantic and sexual encounters and a sense of agency. And I think that's great.
Many people complain that dating today feels a little unpredictable and out of control, and I get that. I've certainly felt that way. But if you use these apps with a certain outcome in mind and actually commit yourself to sending some messages and going on dates, then they can actually help you weather the storm. So let's start admitting that these apps might actually be helping us.
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