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How Hookup Apps Changed 'Dating' Forever

How Hookup Apps Changed 'Dating' Forever

I’ll be honest; I never used Tinder or any of the other hookup apps until after I was married. They just didn’t seem to be my thing and I felt leery of using them to get quick sex. Though studies do show that Tinder can lead to marriage, it just didn’t feel right. 

I’ve always been a bit old fashioned when it came to meeting people, primarily because I live a very niche life and really could only date people who are okay with my lifestyle. Through my lifetime, I’ve seen the way online dating has changed relationships, and I’m not sure whether or not it’s a good thing. 

Just watching how dating and seeking love changed since I was in college is amazing. Speaking as someone who’s watched the dating scene change, here are some of the biggest trends I’ve noticed. 

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The biggest change is the attitudes people have towards sex. 

Being sexually active, especially as a girl, was a huge problem in the dating scene—even as late as the mid-2000s. A single rumor of being active would lead to massive amounts of slut-shaming, problems finding a partner who takes you seriously, and more. 

The one thing I will say about hookup apps is that it definitely changed a lot of peoples’ attitudes towards sex. People are now far more open to date people with a larger number, slut-shaming stopped being as common, and yes, hooking up started to become a more valid way to find love. 

Honestly, the sex positivity trend is one that really was necessary. It’s also healthier. But, that doesn’t mean that everything about hookup apps has been beneficial. 

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It’s pushing people to get surgery, just so they can get love.

Did you know that a study showed that Tinder is basically worthless to men who are average-looking? It’s true. Tinder and other hookup apps place a huge emphasis on looks, and it’s getting to the point that it’s starting to make would-be lovers extremely frustrated. 

Dating has turned into a massive beauty contest where photos are king, and everyone is feeling the pressure to market themselves as a sexy, Instagrammable brand. Though it’s great to have a good first impression, how far people are going is worrisome. 

Dr. Philip J. Miller of Rhinoplasty New York, for example, said that he’s had several patients who got plastic surgery in order to better their chances of getting swipes. Whether it’s worth it or not, though, remains to be seen. 

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People don’t really take time to talk to one another. 

With all the emphasis on looks and hookups, actually taking the time to have a civilized conversation is starting to disappear. Because hookup apps are designed with a certain level of laziness, people started to expect instant gratification. 

This is really bad, considering that dating should be about getting to know the person and figure out compatibility, Moreover, the fact that apps don’t really encourage pre-date interaction can lead to unsafe situations. After all, it’s hard to tell what a person is really thinking when you’re just talking via text.

People forgot that they’re talking to other people.

We’ve all heard about internet Nice Guys™, right? You know, the guys who blow up because they can’t take rejection and feel the need to hurl verbal abuse at women after the girls say no? Yeah, it’s bad. In fact, it’s terrifying to see male (and sometimes female) rage directed at you after a very polite rejection or a pause in conversation.

Believe it or not, this kind of behavior would have gotten your lights knocked out 20 years ago. It also would have ended in ostracism for the perpetrator. Since our culture started to shift away from in-person interactions, people lost the social skills necessary to actually flirt in a healthy way. The same can be said about confronting others and handling rejection.

Behind the screen, it’s too easy to forget that you are talking to another person. It’s also too easy to forget that what you say will have real-life consequences. Needless to say, that alone will make it harder for people to get a good connection, or even lead a healthy social life. 

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On the other hand, it’s also easier to catch a cheater. 

Remember when I said that I used a hookup app after I was married? Well, I can explain that. My husband and I decided to check out a swinger’s app together. It didn’t take too long before I learned how quickly cheaters can get exposed through a hookup app. 

We swiped, swiped, and swiped...and then we both spotted a former coworker with someone who was not his girlfriend. (Also, that was a cue for a jaw drop from me.)

The funny thing is, this isn’t an isolated event by any means. Hookup apps are pretty much a player’s playground. In fact, there are even apps that are strictly designed for finding an affair partner on the market. 

Around 30 percent of all people on Tinder are already married. As long as you have a single friend who’s swiping, chances are that you might be able to find a straying partner through their search for love. The flipside? You really have to make sure the guy you’re dating isn’t seeing others. 

There’s also the new rules of dating. 

Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve noticed in dating is that it’s way harder to get someone who wants to be serious with you. Now that hooking up is socially acceptable, both men and women are starting to hesitate when it comes to exclusivity, relationships, and marriage. This has been especially true with men, whose numbers have shown a dramatic decrease in marriage interest lately. 

Because people don’t want to come off as desperate, a new trend of not really saying that you want a relationship (even when you do) took off. This leads to weeks, or even months, of dating before you can ask for a relationship or even admit you’re doing more than just “talking to” a person. 

Aggravating much?

Yet, at the same time, hookup apps still made people a lot more honest. 

The cool thing about hookup apps is that they have helped people become a lot more honest with themselves. Not too long ago, people just did the relationship thing and settled for less than what they were happy with because they really felt like they didn’t have a choice. 

Hookup apps changed that. They are literal proof that there are plenty of options to go around. Hookup culture, in general, also started to make people wonder if a relationship is really what they want. Hookup apps also helped non-monogamy become more mainstream.

At no point in history has dating given people as many options as they have today. If you ask me, that’s an absolutely wonderful thing to say. 

Cover image via Urbanette




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