The Virtual Reality of Relationships: Can we actually find true love on a dating app?

Megan Cuerden 

Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, Hinge… There are endless new dating apps popping up at an increasingly jarring rate. From once just matching with someone nearby, you can now use apps that handpick your conquests based on age, religion, wealth – with the list going on and on. As the number of dating apps increases, it seems our very own list of personal requirements for a love match grows even longer too. But are they worth it? Are they selling us love or is it all just a placebo effect? 

With this new way of dating, there comes a whole new host of rules to follow and ways to impress. How many pictures you should have on your profile; the nightmare of too many group pictures and having absolutely no idea what they look like. Not to mention the classic fish picture which absolutely no one wants to see (please, put the fish down!). So does online dating add to the pressure or take it away? The pressures of social media are almost certainly being replicated in the face of dating apps as people strive to put ‘their best face forward’ in a bid to get matches. Can we call it true love if they only see the best side of us, and does that make dating apps doomed to fail?

Of course, there are many benefits to dating apps such as the ease of having someone right at your fingertips to get to know saves time, money and energy – especially when trying to work out if someone is your cup of tea. Plus, you escape the awkwardness of pieing someone/being pied face-to-face. And whilst not everyone out there is looking for love, dating apps give a leeway into being ballsy about what you want without judgement.

There’s no shame in wanting a friendship, sex or someone to flirt with now and then. Dating apps allow you to have the freedom to choose what you want and how you want it. 

At the end of the day, I can think of many weird and wonderful ways that couples have met with each other and I’m yet to find any correlation with how they met and how long they lasted. The saying may be cliché, but if it’s meant to be it will be. 

If there are any tips to success, honesty is the best way forward – it turns out being your true self online is just as hard as doing it in person. Not only does the research show that those who can be themselves are the most successful at finding good matches, but it also just makes sense. We all want someone to like us for who we truly are, so what’s the point in pretending to be an avid rock climber, or pretending that you don’t watch Lord of the Rings at least once a week. Putting yourself out there online when you can hide behind a screen makes it a whole lot easier to exaggerate certain details, but in the long run – is it really worth it?

As a participant in a house contest of having as many dates as possible through our ‘hot girl summer’ I can say (so far) I have had only successes, no catfishes, no ‘no-shows’ and no outright weirdos. And it’s been fun! Getting to know someone completely new, getting free drinks and showing yourself off a bit makes life that little bit more exciting; whilst also giving plenty to gossip about with your housemates. So why not put yourself out there! 

Have I found the one? I’m not so sure. But who knows, maybe my next swipe right will be just the one for me.

Megan Cuerden 

Featured image courtesy of Hello I’m Nik via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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