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Tinder, the endless search: how dating apps make healthy relationships difficult


Platforms for flirting are conceived as a catalog of people among whom you can navigate and decide, with a simple gesture, if you are interested in them or not. This quantity and ease is possibly the basis of its success. However, numerous studies and users talk about the hook they produce and the fragility of the ties they generate

Anyone who has or has had a profile on a dating app knows that it is quite likely that at some point you will be



that is,

that someone disappears from one day to the next, leaving a message unanswered.

According to a study by the Canadian University of Western Ontario, 72% of the people surveyed had suffered it and 64.5% had done it.

But perhaps the worst thing is not that this happens.

Perhaps the worst thing is that it seems that it has normalized what happens.

Dating applications are generally seen as a catalog of people among whom you can navigate and decide, with a simple gesture, if you are interested or not.

This quantity and ease, in an age of rapid and varied stimuli, is possibly the basis of its success.

And it is also postulated as the cause of phenomena such as



“It does not give me life to answer all the messages.

So I focus on what I can and leave the others”, says Marta, 29 years old.

Given this, it could be argued that what is affectively responsible would be to contact a volume of people that can be managed.

But the trend in the use of these applications is not going that way.

According to the article

It's not you, it's Tinder.

Gamification, consumption, daily management and performance in "levante" applications


the use of this type of platform is considered as "a playful and competitive experience, similar to that of a video game, which implies the


sexual-affective search in the sense of unraveling strategies and deploy skills to get higher scores in the form of





More information

The 'gamification' of love: how dating 'apps' have turned the search for a partner into an addictive game

Applications are tools that work in one way or another depending on how we use them.

So it could be said that if unhealthy ways of relating arise, it is more the fault of the users than of the application itself.

Marta does not entirely agree with this: "The very structure of the application validates that you contact a lot of people and that you do not respond to everyone because it will keep proposing new profiles."

Javier, 21, and also a user of the best-known dating app, comments that “sometimes there are users who interest me on Tinder and I've started to follow them on Instagram.

So I start to see them in a different way and it wouldn't occur to me to

ghost them

, for example”.

Tinder is conceived as a catalog where the image prevails —although there is a brief text— and where each profile is almost like a consumer object.

On Instagram you can share everyday aspects, hobbies, opinions,


you like, photos of the pet... Despite all the posturing on this social network, it humanizes and brings people closer.

The almost unlimited catalog offered by Tinder causes another phenomenon: the endless search.

“Even though you're talking to one person, it's easy to get the feeling that there might be someone better.

So you keep looking”, says Javier.

This is at the base of phenomena with a name in English that is less well known than


, but just as present in current relationships as


, that is, giving small signs of interest that make those who wait never end up seeing the expectation disappear. ;



, which is the definition of leaving crumbs of attention to maintain the interest of the other person, although in general there is no intention of materializing the interaction.

That endless search for the perfect


on a site with a huge catalog can lead to another problematic use of apps: snagging.

"There is a virtually limitless possibility of potential dating options that can make it more difficult to stop using Tinder," as specified in the Too many

swipes for today: The development of the Problematic Tinder Use Scale (PTUS) study.


Being able to see how close users are and anticipate a possible reward in the form of an appointment is another feature of the application that contributes to its use and abuse.

Finding sexual encounters is one of the reasons for use —not the only one and, according to some research, not the main one— for this type of application.

The consumption of bodies under that expression of "sex only" seems to forget the emotional part that is included in any relationship (even when it is "sex only").

If we add to this way of thinking the unlimited catalog effect of Tinder, we have a perfect combo to neglect affective responsibility.

Aware of all this, there are other dating apps that aim to humanize the experience.

Beyond those that are segmented by interests —for vegans or vegetarians, polyamorous, LGTBI...— or those that seek to generate encounters by valuing something more than image, some seek to correct the vices of the most popular.

One of them is Hinge, which is committed to creating fewer


, but of higher quality, and to helping to avoid accidental


, sending reminder messages when it is your turn to reply, in case you miss it.

It is currently only available in the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and India.

And despite everything, why do we still use dating apps?

Of course, there are people who have found great relationships on Tinder.

The application must have something good so that it is difficult to find, especially among


and generation Z, someone who does not have or has not had a profile.

Using Tinder can have positive mood effects, especially when receiving matches, which work in a similar way to positive feedback on social media.

It's obvious: having “success”, understood in the form of the number of encounters, makes you feel good.

In the Tinder blue studio

, mental flu?

Exploring the associations between Tinder use and well-being

add that although a greater number of


it can improve the well-being of users, it can also worsen sadness and anxiety, since the most successful users are likely to be compulsive users of the application.

On the other hand, these kinds of apps can reduce the anxiety of those who have a high sensitivity to rejection due to the lack of explicit negative feedback.

But that same thing can reduce one's own well-being when one tends to compare one's own "failure" with the "success" of others, which also happens even if there is no data from other users' matches.

Marta is clear about why she uses Tinder: “I go in when I'm bored.

I don't always look for meetings, but to entertain myself."

The ease of connecting with new people every day makes it easy.

So, on the one hand, there are apps, which don't seem to help build healthy relationships, full of profiles.

And on the other, articles on the importance of taking care of oneself and taking care of relationships proliferate.


is normalized

, while affective responsibility is claimed.


Arola Poch

is a psychologist from the University of Barcelona, ​​a graduate in Audiovisual Communication from the UOC and a sexologist from the Camilo José Cela University.

She is an expert in sexual education and outreach, and has published several books.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-23

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