We keep hearing that dating apps are killing love, ruining relationships, and bringing about the dating apocalypse. That would be pretty concerning, since 15 percent of adults, and nearly 30 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds, use some form of mobile or online dating platform. We’ve seen this kind of mistrust before about technology taking the place of family members or community — and it turns out that couples who meet online seem to do just fine.
One of the things that has people so concerned is the glut of choices that dating apps serve up. There are a couple of studies that suggest having too many options can make it harder to decide, and to be satisfied with the result. But people have been using technology to increase their dating prospects throughout human history — with lonely hearts ads, newspapers, snail mail, email — even video dating (in the 1980s, of course). Computer dating emerged in the 1950s and ‘60s, long before the internet.
The ability to reach outside community or geographical constraints has been a boon for people who aren’t well represented in the dating pool. As the internet started being more widely used in the 1990s, the percentage of couples in same-sex relationships who met online began climbing. In 2012, nearly 70 percent of same-sex couples surveyed had met online, according to a study published by sociologists at Stanford University.
In the end, regardless of sophisticated dating apps and online dating become, they’re still just tools: there’s no magic algorithm that takes the work out of forming, and maintaining a relationship. At least, not yet.