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07-07-2024

Dating apps make it difficult to find true love

Ever been caught in a web of confusion when deciding on a date for Friday night? You’re not alone! A recently surfaced sociological study suggests that the majority of young adults feel perplexed about their dating decisions due to social media influence.

Over half of our youth are scratching their heads when it comes to choosing a life-partner. Surprisingly, women seem to be more baffled than men.

The primary suspect causing all this hullabaloo? It’s the omnipresent social media and the myriad of digital dating platforms. With a plethora of potential suitors at your fingertips, courtesy of popular dating apps, the line between reality and illusion in the dating world has never been blurrier.

The study was led by Chayan Munshi, founder and executive director of the Ethophilia Research Foundation in Santiniketan, India. 

Social media and dating choices

“Human mate selection is a complicated psychological process, which is effectively influenced by multiple societal factors including appearance, personality and financial situation,” said Munshi.

“More recently, this has become significantly influenced by social media, where constant exposure to sexually stimulating or attractive content creates certain perceptions of reality in the young mindset, which ultimately creates confusion in terms of selecting potential mating partners.”

Taking the digital bull by the horns, the Ethophilia Research Foundation is now researching how our increasingly digitized society is sculpting human behavior.

Romantic partner selection

The initial findings emerging from this ongoing project are based on a survey of young adults in India, most of whom are between 18 and 30 years old. 

The questionnaire delved into the nitty-gritty of romantic partner selection, asking questions like, “Do you feel confused when selecting a life-partner?” and “Do you like to switch to a ‘better option’ when selecting a life-partner?”

The preliminary results bring to light a potentially significant trend. People’s perception of potential mate availability, influenced by the omnipresence of social media and dating platforms such as Tinder, Bumble, and Match.com, seems to be skewing how they judge their life-partner options.

The shift in perception might lead individuals to hold unrealistic expectations about relationships. This change can result in people continuously searching for better options. Consequently, this behavior affects long-term relationship satisfaction and stability.

Social media and dating apps

Constant exposure to endless choices might influence how people make decisions. This exposure could impact their decision-making processes. As a result, the dynamics of modern romantic relationships might undergo significant changes. 

This altered decision-making can lead to difficulties in maintaining stable, satisfying long-term relationships. For example, when someone is constantly exposed to a variety of potential partners through dating apps, they may struggle to commit to one person, always thinking there might be someone better out there.

Therefore, the abundance of choices and heightened expectations might negatively affect modern romantic relationships by causing individuals to be less satisfied with their current partners and more prone to looking for alternatives.

Price of impulsiveness

Interestingly, young people are increasingly showing impulsive behavior, with a drop in face-to-face social interactions.

“Our hypothesis strongly indicates that the ‘pleasure index’ or ‘adrenaline rush’ of relationships is taking more prime importance in the younger generation over long-term stability,” noted Munshi. 

“It is alarming that impulsiveness or confusion can lead to instability in the human relation-maintaining behavior, which is actually affecting the normal social behavior in humans.”

“The pattern now is notable enough to indicate that this might modify the social norms of partner choice behavior in young humans, which might have significant effect on the brain-behavior circuit.”

The future of love

As these new social norms evolve, we may observe changes in relationship dynamics, communication styles, and emotional connections among the younger generation.

Understanding these trends is crucial for comprehending the broader implications on societal and individual levels.

“In the long-run, this may eventually alter the fundamental protocol of evolutionary mating strategies,” said Munshi.

So, the next time your fingers itch to swipe right on that dating app, remember that a moment’s decision could have more far-reaching implications than you ever imagined.

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology.

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