26 February 2021

Dating-App Relationships

Welcome back. Before I highlight a study that’s a tad unusual from me, I’d better mention that I’ve been blissfully married for more than 30 years, have never used an online dating app and have little idea how they really work.

Nevertheless, that’s what the study is about, online dating apps like Tinder. These dating apps forego detailed user profiles used on dating websites (e.g., eHarmony) in favor of rating photos with a swipe review system.

Tinder, the dating app (from sites.google.com/site/howdoestinderwork/).
Honest, I looked twice at the study only because of its venue, Switzerland. Vicki, my Wisconsin-born and bred wife, worked in Switzerland after completing a postgraduate program in the Netherlands and working in the UK.

The study, by a researcher affiliated with University of Geneva, examined claims that online swipe-based dating apps damage the fabric of intimate ties, that they promote relationships less oriented toward long-term commitment.

Data for Analysis
The researcher analyzed data from the 2018 Family and Generations Survey, conducted by Swiss Federal Statistical Office as part of the federal population census program.

The survey included responses from 3,245 partnered individuals, of whom 104 used dating apps, 264 used dating websites and 125 used other online services to find their partner within the last decade.

While the study’s main independent variable was how partners met, the responses allowed assessment of marriage and cohabiting intentions within the next two years, fertility desire and intention within the next three years, and relationship and life satisfaction (each rated from 0 to 10).

Survey responses also allowed comparison of the similarity of data-app partners with partners created in typically homogenous settings, such as school, circles of friends or family.

Swiss Dating-App Couples
The study found that being introduced through friends is still the most common way couples meet in Switzerland; however, offline approaches (friends, family, school, work, bars, parties, clubs) were in decline, giving way to meeting online.

How heterosexual couples met in Switzerland,1995–2018 (from journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243733).
Regarding relationship and life satisfaction, there was generally no difference between couples that met through dating apps and those initiated offline. Similarly, marriage intentions, fertility desire and fertility intentions did not differ significantly, though women that met online did have a marginally stronger desire and intention to have children in the next three years.

Men and women that met their partner on a dating app had stronger cohabiting intentions than those that met their partner offline.

Partners that met through dating apps were more educationally and geographically dissimilar than those that met offline, but there was no effect on partners comprised of a Swiss native and a migrant.

The age difference between partners that met online and between those that met offline was not significantly different, though couples initiated through dating platforms were closer in age than those initiated offline.

Wrap Up
So, what did we learn about dating apps, at least in Switzerland? 

First, dating apps (rating photos with a swipe review system) are becoming more and more popular. Second, partners initiated through dating apps do not shy away from long-term commitment nor experience low-quality connections. Third, partners introduced through dating apps exhibit greater differences in certain attributes, particularly education and geography.

How heterosexual couples met online in Switzerland, 1995–2018 (from journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243733).
If you’re not blissfully married and these findings are appealing, you might want to give it a try. Or move to Switzerland. Thanks for stopping by.

Dating app study in PLOS ONE journal: journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0243733
Article on study on EurekAlert! website: eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/udg-dad122220.php
Example dating sites:

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