Have Smartphones Really Changed the Way We Date?

In a new study sponsored by JDate and ChristianMingle – which it turns out are owned by the same company – researchers have found that smartphones have “changed communication patterns” and created new “dating etiquette in a mobile age.”

You don't say. But the ways in which people say they actually shaken things up are pretty eye-opening — and they're things with which you might identify... maybe not for the better.

For instance, 46 percent of singles report getting upset with someone they’re dating due to a text message, and more than half of all singles said they would consider ending a casual relationship via text; 24 percent even said they would consider ending an exclusive relationship this way.

Really, this isn’t all that surprising. Smartphones hones have given us new methods of communication, and in a totally predictable twist, we’re using them. And the amount of communication we expect increases as communication becomes easier. Researchers found that 14 percent of singles aged 21 to 26 expect instantaneous text responses, and 78 percent of all singles expect some sort of communication within 24 hours after a good first date — though both men and women agree it doesn’t matter which party initiates it. So congrats ladies, we can stop waiting for him to text and do it ourselves. And then wait for him to respond. Oh goody.

What is really interesting in all this, though — aside from the fact that Android users are more likely to pay for a first date — is the fact that phones are not only integrated into our lives, but that this has become accepted and acceptable. Though 96 percent of respondents said they keep their phones out of sight during a date (with 67 percent finding a way to check it anyway), it turns out that 81 percent of singles aren’t offended if their date responds to a text, email, or phone call as long as they have a reasonable explanation. As for what counts as reasonable, I can’t help you there.

Still, even though phones have become a key part of the dating experience, ultimately dating itself remains, well, dating. Smartphone etiquette might not be totally clear, but then again dating etiquette is never totally clear. Ultimately, every first date runs the risk of being a train wreck with no topics of conversation, the good night kiss is still a big deal, and trying to schedule anything is a nightmare when you’re both working crazy hours.

Dating is about the daunting task of trying to get to know another person and see if they fit into your life in the capacity you want them to. That remains true whether you communicate via smartphone or carrier pigeon.

Image: jcomp/Fotolia