This column first appeared in the October 13, 2019 PRINT edition of The Vindicator:
Happily married for nearly 20 years, my wife and I still have the “occasional” disagreement.
She calls them arguments. I call them debates (which infuriates her just a bit more).
Lately, our debates have focused on what really happened when we dated in college. We agree on how we met. Other events are blurry, a discombobulated list of dates, times, locations and “he said, she said."
After all the misremembered recollections, we always end in agreement about one specific thing. It’s one reason why we’re happily married: we would be terrible in today’s dating scene. Of course, I silently disagree that she would have any trouble finding dates. My wife is smart and funny and pretty. There’d almost certainly be a long line of suitors at her door.
However, the fact that I even used the word “suitors” in the previous sentence suggests I might be getting a little too long in the tooth to survive today’s dating scene.
This is because most of the people we know who are single have turned almost exclusively to online dating to find their matches.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve talked to people actively using dating apps.
“We met online,” a newly married couple said, in unison, both smiling.
Ahhh... young love.
“Well, I like to say ‘we matched online’,” the wife clarified. “Living in a different city from where I grew up, it was too hard to meet new people,” she added. “I didn’t have time to figure out if my the love of my life was hanging out at a gym or a park or some random street corner.”
They turned to Match.com to find each other. But from what I gathered from these discussions, the platforms we choose to find our matches matters very little.
eHarmony. Bumble. POF (a.k.a. Plenty of Fish). OkCupid. Hinge. I was introduced to new apps like Coffee Meets Bagel and The League. The list of dating apps seems endless. It’s easy to understand why entering the dating scene seems such a daunting task.
This is the new norm.
Just last month, after teasing it for more than a year, Facebook entered the dating business with a new feature simply titled Facebook Dating.
Even Tinder has found a new home among reputable dating apps. Once lauded as the “hook-up” or “booty call” app, many are turning to Tinder to find long-term love.
“(Tinder) was the first app I used when my last partner and I split,” a single woman told me. “It looks a little superficial on the surface, but you can really find lasting relationships on (Tinder) too.”
Subscription fees are a big turn off for some.
“I’m not a big fan of paying for (dating apps),” a new college graduate said. “If I can try them for free, I’ll likely use that app first over others that charge up front.”
When asked for what advice they would give to those who are new to online dating, most focused on keeping the options open. By “options,” they meant dating apps, not those we might choose to “date.”
“Don’t limit yourself to one (app),” the new college graduate added. “You never know if your match is over there on Tinder while you’re spinning your wheels on another app.”
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor of communication studies the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on social media and society.