Contrary to earlier concerns, a University of Geneva study has shown that people who met their partners on dating applications have often stronger long-term relationship goals, and that these new ways of meeting people encourage socio-educational and geographical mixing.
Dating app love
Mobile apps have revolutionized the way people meet in Switzerland and all over the world. Unlike traditional dating sites, these apps do not feature detailed user profiles but are largely based on rating photos using a swipe review system.
As dating apps escalated in popularity, so has criticism about them encouraging casual dating only, threatening the existence of long-term commitment, and possibly damaging the quality of intimacy. There is no scientific evidence, however, to validate these claims.
Geneva conducted study
A study by the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, provides a wealth of information about couples who met through dating apps, drawing on data from a 2018 Swiss survey. The results, published in the journal PLOS ONE, indicate that app-formed couples have stronger cohabitation intentions than couples who meet in a non-digital environment.
Also, women who found their partner through a dating app have stronger desires and intentions to have children than those who found their partner offline. Despite fears concerning a deterioration in the quality of relationships, partners who met on dating apps express the same level of satisfaction about their relationship as others. Last but not least, the study shows that these apps play an important role in modifying the composition of couples by allowing for more educationally diverse and geographically distant couples.
The meteoric rise of romantic encounters on the internet is on its way of becoming the leading place where couples are formed not only in Switzerland, but all over the world.
“The Internet is profoundly transforming the dynamics of how people meet,” confirms Gina Potarca, a researcher at the Institute of Demography and Socioeconomics in UNIGE’s Faculty of Social Sciences, and holder of an Ambizione research grant awarded by the Swiss National Science Foundation to study the effects of digital ways of communicating on marriage formation and sorting. “It provides an unprecedented abundance of meeting opportunities, and involves minimal effort and no third-party intervention.”
Knowing that dating apps have likely become even more popular during this year’s periods of lockdown and social distancing, it is reassuring to dismiss alarming concerns about the long-term effects of using these tools.
Reference: “The demography of swiping right. An overview of couples who met through dating apps in Switzerland” by Gina Potarca, 30 December 2020, PLOS ONE.