The Surprising Truth about Online Dating Apps


Here I go again, writing a blog about something I know nothing about.

Actually, it covers two things I know nothing about – dating and online dating apps.

I got lucky.

I think in high school I had three dates; one to my freshmen year dance, one to my sophomore year dance, and one my junior year that was supposed to lead to a date to the junior prom.

Fast forward to college, and “dating” didn’t seem to be a thing. Nonetheless, I was fortunate to meet my wife near the end of my junior year, and we’ve been together for the past 40-plus years.

That should make it clear I know nothing about dating.

And since I’m happily married, and over the age of 60, I know nothing about dating apps.

Sure, I’ve heard of them, and I know many people who have used them quite successfully (at least one of which has led to an engagement), but I tended to think that such outcomes were the exception, rather than the rule.

Well as it turns out, according to an article in the WSJ by Peggy Drexler, the use of dating apps may lead to stronger relationships.

There is evidence that online dating could, in fact, be improving the likelihood of romantic compatibility—and making marriages stronger. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, half of all Americans know someone who uses online dating or has met a spouse or serious partner that way.

A study of more than 19,000 participants, published in 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the “relationship quality” of partners who meet online may be higher—and the rate of separation or divorce lower—than for partners who meet offline.

A 2017 study by researchers at the University of Essex in the U.K. and the University of Vienna in Austria, published in the social-science journal SSRN, found that marriages created online were less likely to break up within the first year than marriages that started offline.

The researchers and dating experts offered a few potential reasons why this may be the case:

  • a greater pool of potential spouses might give users more options and allow them to be more selective
  • more anonymous online communications produced greater self-disclosure—and stronger feelings of affection—than face-to-face communications, laying the foundation for more enduring relationships
  • Online dating sites and apps make it possible to reach out in a way that doesn’t make most people uncomfortable, according to Eric Resnick, a professional dating profile ghostwriter in Orlando, Fla., who met his wife online
  • Online dating requires singles to understand and articulate their own values and goals in a way many never have. Amy. Schoen, a dating coach, notes that “knowing yourself is the first step in knowing what you need from a good partner, and how to be one yourself.”
  • people who meet online are more likely to be compatible precisely because they’re matching with partners they might have otherwise overlooked.

I’m guessing that if I were a twenty or thirty-year-old singe today, I would be an avid user of online dating apps, just because it seems like an easier, and much less painful way of meeting somebody.

I could afford to be deliberate in my responses, and not have to worry about trying to come up with something clever right on the spot in a typical face-to-face dating situation.

Plus, I think my Tom Cruise profile picture would make it easier to attract people to at least check me out online (swipe right), something that would be less likely to happen if someone were to catch a glimpse of the real me at a bar. Such a glimpse would lead to the equivalent of a swipe left.

*image from New York Times

23 thoughts on “The Surprising Truth about Online Dating Apps

  1. I’m currently an on-line dater, on an off and on basis, and find it to be a great way to meet potential dates. I have dated someone for a few years that I met online, and have made new friends with others. Like everything, there are pluses and minuses, but I find more positives than negatives.


  2. I met my current husband online and your first and last point definitely apply. Also I was online for a while after my divorce and probably wouldn’t have spent much time with hubby 2 had I not met so many wallies and weirdos before him. All human life is there.
    I also joined a couple of social groups and got a real life too. I met friends to go around with, although nobody I actually dated. It keeps you grounded.
    I recommend as a way to meet people but be selective and believe nothing until you’ve met (in a public place).


    1. thanks for sharing your personal experiences, Cathy. They seem to mirror pretty closely with what the researchers found. It does seem like a great way to meet people, and then you can go from there. By the way, I had to look up what a wally was (and now I want to start using it!)


  3. I am not uber-experienced with dating apps, but I have used them before. I agree with all the information and reasoning the experts provide, but they may have missed one crucial detail. On a dating app you can rest assured that the people you find are also looking to date. It is the equivalent of going out and every single and available person is forced to where a shirt that says “single and looking”. The downside being that there is no swipe left for the people you may attract. Great article as always Jim!


    1. that’s a great point about the people using data apps – they want to be there, they have essentially opted in. the same can’t be said for people you may meet at school, work, at a bar, a conference, etc. as always, I appreciate your comments, Brad!


  4. “I think my Tom Cruise profile picture would make it easier to attract people to at least check me out online” The kids have a name for this, I know it’s not impersonation 😁😁😁


  5. Someone we knew, well into her sixties, was on line dating soon after her partner died; one of the quite a few she dated she got engaged to very quickly and unengaged as quickly! Then she settled with a chap and they bought a house and a Great Dane; it wasn’t a success, the dog had to go!


  6. Congratulations Jim on being married 40 plus years. I met my guy online and have used dating apps before. Online dating makes the world much smaller.. I love it !


  7. Great post Jim, and entertaining. 🙂 Back in our dating days, it was bars and nightclubs, lol. I can definitely see how dating apps are useful, especially in the world now of social media where many are planted at home instead of out and about hoping to meet their Mr. or Mrs. Right. Of course, if daters are serious, they’ll have to tell the truth and show a real photo of themselves if they are serious about furthering a relationship. But people must be diligent with the amount of trolls and people with ill intentions. Heck, if I were single, I wouldn’t have to look far with the amount strange people who try to connect with my daily – and I’m not advertising. LOL 🙂


    1. thanks, Debby. Fortunately, I met my wife in college, so I didn’t have to deal too much with the whole dating scene (which I would not have been good at). It’s quite different today, and probably something that would work better for someone like me. But yes, the online world is a strange place. And now I’m jealous, no one is trying to connect with me… 🙂 (and sorry for the delay, somehow your comment was in my spam folder!)


Comments are closed.