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Have Dating Apps Killed Romance? Experts Debate

Swipe Right! Online Dating Isn't Killing Romance After All

Swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe This sums up dating apps today. Endless swiping leading to a few matches, then less matches you decide to have a meaningful conversation with and eventually one or two people you meet in person. These first dates tend to be forced and judgmental. You have very little information on the person you are about to meet and each of you is trying to force the initial date. In the end it is unlikely to be 2 people who truly click.

With the popularity of apps like Tinder, singles have been caught in a whirlwind of complex relationships and hook-ups. Break-ups and hook-ups have moved into the fast lane as the world around tries to keep pace.

Thanks to the way the app is designed it allows for a pause to step back and think about the choices one is making on the romantic front. This has also led people to question whether dating apps have killed romance.

While dating apps played matchmaker, they also created an environment of plenty according to users. It may or may not lead to something serious but it does give you a lot more choices as you are no longer bound by physical boundaries.

Are dating apps killing romance?

You can sit in India and chat with someone from across the globe. That means you have more choices when it comes to interacting with people. Relationship experts definitely seem to think so.

These first dates tend to be forced and judgmental. You have very little information on the person you are about to meet and each of you is trying to force the initial date.

In the end it is unlikely to be 2 people who truly click. User retention is at an all-time low and studies have showed less people are meeting in real person from these app than ever. Luckily there are some new innovative players looking to buck the trend. By using blockchain technology LoveBlock is able to secure user data like no platform has done before.

As well, fraud, fake profiles and scammers will be wiped out across the whole industry with the LoveBlock. And if it's someone who's never done that, you're more worried. John Donvan: Now, that's divorced individuals. Are there other groups for whom dating apps have caught on faster than for others and are more important in the sort of larger demographic picture than in others?

Daniel Jones: I mean, in my view, it's -- it's caught on most in the people who are -- or more with people who are -- who are introverts or shier or more prone to fantasy [laughs]. Because you -- I mean, one difference I've noticed in -- in meeting people in person or meeting people online is that when you meet people online, you tend to fantasize more in terms of what this relationship is going to be and how great this person is going to be for you because those fantasies can't be torn down in the moment.

And it's a little bit like the difference between, you know, shopping online or shopping at a brick and mortar store. Where, you know, if I go into a store and, like, these jeans are just so great, and I'm going to look so great in those jeans -- and then you put them on -- [laughs] -- and you stand in the mirror that shows you from every angle, and you're like, "Oh, God, it just -- it doesn't work. If you meet someone in person in a bar, you -- those -- you know, they don't give you the time of day -- in which case, you know, your fantasy is dispelled.

Or you don't -- you sense there's no chemistry. You know, smell is important in falling in love. It's -- [laughter] -- it's not that a bad smell is off-putting. It's that the smells need to mingle in a way that works, you know? John Donvan: I had no idea. John Donvan: That's working below the conscious level. Daniel Jones: Helen Fisher will tell you about that, I'll bet. John Donvan: Yeah?

Is that a charming thing to do? Daniel Jones: Well, I've heard that if a man has a dog in the picture, that's a huge plus, because it's -- again, it shows commitment and love, and that sort of thing. John Donvan: Interesting. Daniel Jones: And for a woman, no dog and looking up.

John Donvan: Really? Daniel Jones: [laughs] John Donvan: So, there's a science to the -- yeah -- to the mystery? Tom will tell you more about that. John Donvan: I'm curious -- in our audience tonight -- is anybody here on a date?

John Donvan: Oh, come on. Raise -- close your eyes and raise your hands if you're here on a date. So -- [laughter] -- I think both of those things are happening right now. But I want to go to, you know, take that question to you in terms of the -- what -- you know, the heart wants what it wants, but the brain is the thing that's telling us, "Don't do that stupid thing. Are there people who can talk themselves out of romance because their brain is telling them that it's a bad idea and their lives become ruined as a result?

Or are there people -- the opposite as well? Are people following their hearts and they do incredibly stupid things? Daniel Jones: -- following their hearts. I don't think I've ever been asked that question in that way before.

I think people are terrified. You know, that -- to open -- to be vulnerable with someone is what love requires, but that's the hardest thing. And I think it's harder -- part of that is harder these days because we have these ways of sheltering ourselves and being meeker about how we ask someone out. You know, it's just a text that says, "What's up? Daniel Jones: And there's so little risk in that. And when you're used to taking -- when you're not used to taking risks, it was really a risk.

Like, when I was in high school, and I was -- I mean, I'm terrible at relationships. Like, I just -- you know, part of this column has been, like, an education for me, because it's just not something I've ever been very good at. And I -- the idea of, like, calling someone or going up to someone in person -- John Donvan: [affirmative] Daniel Jones: -- was just paralyzing to me.

And if I had texting, I would have been emboldened by that. But it would have been this lower bar of, like, saying, "What's up? Daniel Jones: And I think that you have to practice vulnerability to do it well, just like anything. And I worry that our tools are allowing us not to practice vulnerability. John Donvan: How else has actually working on this column and knowing all of these people's stories -- how else has it changed you?

Daniel Jones: I feel like the question that we ask ourselves constantly, with love and relationships, is -- and this is something that I've sort of absorbed through people's stories -- is everyone is wondering, like, "How happy do I have a right to be?

John Donvan: [affirmative] Daniel Jones: Or "How happy is" -- you know, because everyone is trying to determine if this person is right for them. But is it worth jettisoning, you know, get -- is it worth getting rid of?

And the question that's sort of circling everyone's mind, it's an impossible question to answer. People end up answering it, but it's how -- what is happiness? What does it consist of? And how much of that do I have a right to? Is this marriage enough for me? Is this person enough for me? Now I need to -- we need to start thinking about having a family.

Is this the person I want to do it with? Do I feel good enough with this person? And I admire the people -- I've come to admire people through the column, the people who repeatedly open themselves up to love after they've been sort of crushed. Daniel Jones: And there are really two kinds of people in this world. And one is the kind -- everyone gets crushed, you know, at some point. And one is the kind who says, "Okay, I'm going to love again. Those are the people who are going to have a happy life.

And the ones who say, "I can't do that again," and go in the other direction and don't -- and decide, "My heart can't take that. And if you can be on that right side of openness, there -- you have a chance at a happy life. John Donvan: -- the Journalist. I don't consider myself an incredibly brave person -- John Donvan: Ah. Daniel Jones: -- when it comes to love.

I have a good marriage, and -- and I feel like I'm happier than I have a right to be considering how much struggle there is in the world. But I -- I don't know. I have a new view of sort of what -- what marriage is. I've been married 25 years and have two kids and see them go through relationships and all of that. And I've just -- I've sort of come to appreciate what kindness and generosity can do over the long term versus our sort of obsession with love and romance.

Which are -- I don't know, I see so many stories of people who -- who divorce or break up because they don't feel in love anymore. They say, "I don't feel in love anymore. What is valuable? And what do you cherish?

This sums up dating apps today. Endless swiping leading to a few matches, then less matches you decide to have a meaningful conversation. Psychiatrist Dr Hemant Mittal, feels romance, as we know it, has seen a decreasing graph since dating apps made an appearance. He says.

And I'm fascinated by people who struggle with those questions. Could you see yourself to rekindle the passion coming to an Intelligence Squared debate to sort of -- [laughter] -- get things fired -- Daniel Jones: What are you asking really? John Donvan: I'm not asking you out.

I just want to share. We've had some -- we've had people connect romantically by coming to these debates. Daniel Jones: I believe it, yeah. John Donvan: And we -- we had -- we had one marriage result -- actually two a few years ago inI got an email from a guy in Denver named Ryan who wrote and said, "My girlfriend and I have been listening to your debates. And we were having a lot of disagreements that were keeping us apart. But listening to your debates let us sort out what -- you know, what we believe about things and to learn to respect the differences with each other.

And now I think I'm ready to pop the question.

Online dating sites and apps are transforming relationships. Tinder certainly isn't killing romanceat least, that of the ephemeral kind. I am the author of two dating books, How to Meet a Mensch in New York and How at Hunter College entitled Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed Romance. Do you believe that dating apps have killed romance? Four relationship experts debated the effects of online dating on love. Find out who won.

And I sent the audio file out to him. And four years ago, he played it in the kitchen while -- while Nicole was making dinner. And then he got down on his knees and proposed to her. And I checked in with him this weekend. Daniel Jones: -- probably. John Donvan: And we -- we're very interested in these topics that kind of mix technology and the human spirit.

We've debated the impact of technology on the way we think on whether it makes it smarter, whether video games make us smarter. You know, artificial intelligence, and jobs. So, tonight's entrance in this category of Intellidating, we think, is really on target for us. Daniel Jones: [affirmative] John Donvan: But to get back to one other -- a couple of other insights from your book that I just found fascinating -- and your book, by the way, is called, "Love Illuminated: Exploring Life's Most Mystifying Subject.

Daniel Jones: Thank you. John Donvan: I really loved this book, because you had -- first of all, you're a fantastic writer. You -- so many people are competing to get into your column. I'm thinking, "Who is the guy who is judging all of these writers? First of all, all those pieces are really well-written -- Daniel Jones: Thanks, John.

That's nice of you to say. John Donvan: -- but your writing is fantastic. But you mentioned that men are three times more likely to declare themselves in love before sex, and that this was a study done at Penn State.

This Valentine's Debate -- Debate Clip -- Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed Romance

Do you recall that? Daniel Jones: Yeah, yeah. John Donvan: So, what's that about? Daniel Jones: That surprised me.

Dating apps killing romance

Well, it didn't surprise me once I knew why. It was a study about who says "I love you" first in relationships. And I just -- you know, I assumed it would be -- very sexist of me, but I assumed it would be the women who would get emotionally involved before the man. And maybe they do. But the person who says, "I love you" first is the man, more commonly -- three times more commonly, I think, and -- John Donvan: Yeah, yeah.

Daniel Jones: -- and he says it before sex. So, there's sort of a motive to -- [laughter] -- to saying it. I mean, I don't dispute its sincerity in the moment. John Donvan: At the time. Daniel Jones: In the moment.

John Donvan: Yes. Daniel Jones: And then women are much more likely to say, "I love you" after sex, at which point the man is less likely to reciprocate. John Donvan: -- the -- yeah, let's not. You also talk about the accidental "I love you," when one person blurts out, "I love you," not meaning to, and then -- Daniel Jones: [affirmative] John Donvan: -- and then it lands and becomes often unreciprocated.

John Donvan: I recommend the book just for these couple of pages, because this is a brilliant story. I mean, it -- but again, we're so guarded. And this is -- it's funny how "I love you," has become this sort of threshold. You know, like saying these words -- like, in some cultures you don't even say "I love you" ever. And for us, it's so loaded. And then the -- I mean, my favorite of stories that have come my way -- many of which actually are about this exact issue -- how do you say I love you?

What does a person say in response? And the classic responses are, like, "Thanks," you know? Well, yeah. You are a catch. And you've helped set up this conversation spectacularly well. The book, again, "Love Illuminated. So, far, 80, We've got another several hundred here, of people who can write and tell their stories. But I want to thank you -- Daniel Jones: Sure. John Donvan: [laughs] I want to thank you so much for taking the time and for helping us -- Daniel Jones: Thanks, John.

John Donvan: -- set this table this way. John Donvan: Daniel Jones. My pleasure. John Donvan: And now, let's please welcome our debaters to the stage, starting with Tom Jacques. Manoush Zomorodi. And Eric Klinenberg.

Eric Klinenberg: Hello. John Donvan: Welcome to Intelligence Squared. You are a professor at New York University. You're co-author of the best-seller, "Modern Romance. And that's a field that has been looking at mating rituals for as long as anyone can really remember. And tonight, we're debating the impact of dating apps on people. But how have these apps changed sociology itself? Eric Klinenberg: So far, they haven't really changed sociology, but it is inevitable that they're going to.

And there's a very simple reason for that, and that is that the things we do on apps are recorded by the companies that make them. And we can turn that into data that we learn to discover all kinds of things about our secrets, the things we do. And actually, I should say that is just one of the many unromantic things about dating apps.

Eric Klinenberg -- [applause] -- trying to slip one by us. And Eric's partner is -- ladies and gentlemen, please welcome again Manoush Zomorodi. Manoush Zomorodi: Hi, John. John Donvan: You host the "Note to Self" podcast. It's known as the tech show about being human. Your recent book, "Bored and Brilliant," also makes another sort of fascinating breakthrough argument that is based on new research.

You have found, you report, that we come up with some of our best and most creative thinking during periods when we are off of social media and just spacing out, because that's when our minds get busy, you say, in interesting and creative ways. So, given that, is the advice that you would give your opponents tonight, if they want to win this debate, that they should just space out now and then?

Manoush Zomorodi: Yeah, I would say, if they have not ignited the default mode in their brain and allowed their minds to wander towards brilliance, it's a little late, so Ladies and gentlemen, the team arguing for the motion.

You've been to many debates as a member of the audience. It's great to have you up here. You are a biological anthropologist. You are the chief scientific adviser to Match. That's what your book "Anatomy of Love" is all about, which raises the question, which probably will come up tonight, are we stuck with the chemistry that we're born with?

We've evolved a huge cerebral cortex with which we make decisions. It's amazing we don't do it better, but we do. We have, although, you know -- although we are flexible, we have personalities that are based in biology.

And we're naturally drawn to some people rather than others. So, people are correct when they say, "We have chemistry. Ladies and gentlemen, Helen Fisher.

And next in line is Tom Jacques. Welcome to Intelligence Squared, Tom. Tom Jacques: Thank you. You are -- that is a leading date site for anybody who might not know that. It boasts more than 3. You, Tom, got your degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon. And that makes you the numbers guy on the stage tonight, more than anybody else. So being good with numbers -- Tom Jacques: Yes.

John Donvan: -- can you please settle the most important mathematical question to have burdened sages and songwriters for generations. Is one the loneliest number? So, I think one certainly, you know, is a lonely number. But like all questions, the context matters. So, if we're talking about the number of relationships in the world, then zero is the loneliest number because it means that everybody's alone.

John Donvan: Oh. Tom Jacques: If you have -- [laughter]. You know, if you have one, but, you know, you might have access to a dating app like OkCupid, you can quickly turn that into two. John Donvan: Okay. Also getting ahead of yourself. Ladies and gentlemen, Tom Jacques. Everybody, we're going to move on. As always, our debate goes in three rounds. And it's the difference between the first and the second vote that declares our winners, and only one side wins.

Let's move onto Round 1. Speaking first for the motion and making his way to the Intelligence Square there on the floor, Eric Klinenberg. He is sociologist and co-author of the book, "Modern Romance.

You heard I'm a sociologist. I love sociology. I can't stop doing it.

So, I thought, let's start tonight by getting to know each other a little bit. I'm going to do an old-fashioned instant survey to get us going. So, let me just ask, how many people in this room -- can you clap, please -- if you have never done online dating -- if you've never used an -- [applause] -- oh, this is the National Public Radio crowd here tonight.

And can you also clap loudly if you have used a dating app? We have -- people, we have a future. Can you clap if you're single?

Have dating apps killed romance?

Clap if you're married, please. Somewhat disturbing. And just finally, if you could clap if you're currently in an extramarital relationship. Ashley Madison, a dating app that is not dead yet.

I have traveled around the world doing interviews and focus groups with people who are single. I have studied the data that come from dating companies. And I can tell you that it's true -- millions of people are using dating apps and many are finding relationships. But we are here not to talk about the numbers so much as to talk about the experience. And let me tell you that the experiences of people who use dating apps are anything but romantic.

And let's remember why we're here tonight, ladies and gentlemen. Our question is not "Are dating apps popular? We concede that. It's whether dating apps are bad for romance. And Manoush and I tonight are going to tell you why they are. But before we can do that, let's define the term. What is romance? Let's go to the Oxford English dictionary, a great source for this.

It tells us that romance is this kind of feeling of mystery and wonder -- Helen has written about this -- that we get around love, but there's something else in the definition that's important to me. It's the sense of being swept away, remote from reality, away from everyday life.

It's that sense of being preoccupied with some other person. You think about them and care about them so much that everything else kind of melts away. You forget about the mundane. That's the feeling that we try to recapture when we go on vacation, or when we go on a date, or when we make a meal for our special person. It's that idea that we're lost in love. There's not another care we have in the world.

Now, it is worth nothing that since the advent of the Internet, marriage rates have gone down. There are more people in the world who are single today than ever before.

There are more people who are living alone. Still, I think that most people who are looking for love are able to find it, and technology won't change that. The thing is that dating apps are making just about every part of our search for love less romantic.

Think about it. If you've been on a dating app, you know that it encourages you to treat people like products. People routinely lie about their height, their age, their weight, their income. They put huge amounts of attention into their photograph -- and for good reason. About 90 percent of the action -- online dating -- is about the quality of your picture. Are you hot or not? But then we sent out heartless and sometimes cruel messages -- things we would never say to a person in person -- because the phones encourage us to treat people like bubbles on a screen.

Unfortunately, the things that we do online are changing the culture. My fellow sociologists say that they're changing our norms, making us ruder, and flakier, and more self-involved.

Have you taken a selfie recently? Here's the most important thing. Dating apps make it harder, not easier to be swept away by another person. Why is that? Because the phone demands our attention. It is always telling us that there's something or someone that deserves our attention more than the person we're with or the thing we're doing now. That's true for new couples, but it's also true for established couples as well.

I mean, think about it. How often have you come home at night, if you're in a couple, looking for affection and connection only to find your partner cuddled up on the couch with his iPhone? How romantic is that? Real life and real relationships have a hard time competing with the stimulation that apps give us.

On dating apps, the problem is there's too much going on. Today, people go into their phones, and they perceive a world of limitless dating choices. And unfortunately, this means it's very hard to settle on the person that we're with.

We're always wondering, isn't there something better out there? Let's go online and find out. I have interviewed people who are on Tinder while in an Uber on their way to a date that they organized on Tinder hours before. And this matters because romance and love don't come from superficial connections. It's not really about whether you're hot or not. At the end of the day, romance is impossible without sustained face-to-face contact. What's important is not the quantity of our dates; it's the quality of our interactions.

And the main reason that you should vote for the motion tonight is because apps and the phone culture that they're part of have made spending quality time with another human being a very hard thing to do. Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity to come out here tonight to debate. So, I usually don't do media or public speaking things. Like most people, it terrifies me.

And being a programmer, I'm more likely to talk to a computer than another human being. But, you know, even though I'm not going to be as eloquent as Eric just was, I'm going to do my best. So, hello, everybody. So, I grew up in a small town of Wayland, Massachusetts. And, you know, after graduating, I moved to New York to join this crazy startup called OkCupid that was trying to use the internet to help people find love.

And, you know, working on a dating app, you know, let me tell you some of my interests. I love to travel, love candle-lit dinners, long walks on the beach, and writing algorithms. You know, it's literally what I've spent the last eight years of my life thinking about every single day. And I may not look like a traditional matchmaker but today, you know, as Eric told you, I am the typical matchmaker because, you know, dating apps are the most common way to meet people now.

And today, you know, I'm going to show you that instead of killing romance, the data actually shows that dating apps are creating romance.

And even though Eric didn't want to talk about the numbers, I do. So, I've got three main points that I want to get across tonight. The first point is that more and more people are using dating apps to get together.

You know, since building momentum in when the first dating apps started coming about, there's been a steady increase in the percent of couples that are using dating apps to get together. This is especially true of people who were marginalized before, the handicapped, the LGBTQI community and people over the age of You know, says -- a quick question to the audience, and remember, it's radio so make a lot of noise.

Who knows somebody who's in a relationship because of a dating app? Turns out you're not alone. A number of studies estimate that over 40 percent of relationships today come from meeting on a dating app, and over 70 percent of LGBTQI relationships do.

A recent study, called the Strength of Apps [unintelligible] that got global attention insays that we're actually seeing an unprecedented rise in the number of interracial marriages. And this sharp rise in interracial marriages correlates exactly to moments when popular dating apps were released -- things like Match. This is what dating apps do. They break down barriers and allow you to connect, form relationships, get married to people who you might otherwise never have the chance to meet.

What isn't romantic about that? So, my second point is that it's working. Not only are people getting together, they're staying together and they're happy. Studies have shown that married couples who met online report higher marital satisfaction and have a lower rate of breaking up than couples who met offline.

And you might be thinking, "Alright. So, what? Anybody can cite a study that makes them look good, right? Well, let's talk about something you can't fake -- more data.

It turns out that because marriages are registered with the government in the United States, the CDC happens to track marriage and divorce rates. Don't ask me why the CDC thinks that marriage is a disease. According to them, marriage has been steadily declining in the United States since the '80s.

And this trend only began to change inwhere it started to bottom out, and it's actually started to rise again. You know, if you take a look at divorces -- and specifically the rate of divorces per marriage -- that's a trend line that's been going up over time. You know, people have been getting divorced more and more.

But that trend also reversed in It's actually come back down to one of the lowest points in the last 20 years. So, now, well, correlation doesn't imply causation. You know, how could these negative trends have been reversed during the rise of dating apps? It's a hard pill to swallow.

If dating apps have killed romance, where's the body? Qualitatively, people don't think that dating apps are killing romance. Pew Research surveyed 55 percent of people who don't use dating apps -- think that they're good. A lot of people who do use them -- 80 percent -- think that they're a good way to meet people. Quantitatively, people are still forming relationships and getting together.

Again, over 40 percent of relationships today and over a third of marriages are due to dating apps. And you know, if this stuff didn't work, I wouldn't have a job.

Historian and TV presenter Lucy Worsley has said romance is dying because it has become "too easy" to meet new people via dating apps and. The contested proposition was whether dating apps have killed romance, and the host was an adult man who had never used a dating app. Motion: Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed RomanceEvery day millions of people turn to dating apps to find love. To.

They're making romance possible. And because of that, I ask you to vote no on the motion. I'm John Donvan. I am not a sociologist. I am not a data scientist. I'm a mom of two kids.

I'm a wife.

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