Welcome to ‘convenience dating’. Where Aussie singles are now dating more than six people on average at a time*. Sounds fun, right? Wrong. Research shows that singles are still looking for that special someone, but, with dating apps featuring thousands of ‘suitors’ to choose from, people are left confused and in a state of dating overdrive. Here, my single friends, is how convenience dating is preventing us from finding The One…
Melanie Schilling is a psychologist, expert on Married At First Sight and a relationship expert for dating site eHarmony. Melanie says having the convenience of many potential suitors in the palm of our hands may have actually backfired – and led us further from the path of finding true love.
“According to eHarmony’s 2016 Relationship Study, while modern dating rituals might have changed, our romantic desires haven’t,” explains Melanie. “Australian singles are still looking for that special someone, but the influx of choice has left us confused. The top three ingredients that create a ‘spark’ are fluid conversation, a shared sense of humour and feeling at ease with one another, according to the research. The quick-swipe method many daters are defaulting to, however, doesn’t establish any of this.”
So What Is Convenience Dating?
Melanie says convenience dating refers to the state in which there are so many superficial options, such as open relationships and casual flings, that it’s almost impossible to know whether you’re on the same page with someone – and even more difficult to know the status of relationships.
You can now have a different guy – or gal – for every night of the week and occasion. All at the swipe of a finger.
Monday ‘movie night’ Michael. Tuesday ‘touch footy training’ Tom. Wednesday ‘work horse’ Warren (great for fixing things around the house!). Thursday ‘theology teacher’ Theodore. Friday ‘fun guy’ Frank and salsa moving Santiago for Saturday nights and Sundays.
But don’t expect Michael, Tom, Warren, Theo, Frank and Santi to be dating you exclusively.
“Australia’s dating scene is rife with swipe-happy daters sampling numerous dates per week, constantly face-down in their phone scanning for better options,” explains Melanie. “When they do connect with a prospective date, it’s all about keeping it light and avoiding any real connection, making it easy to move on when a better option comes along.”
How Convenience Dating Is Preventing Us From Finding The One
It seems there’s too many fish, and sharks, in the sea. And once caught, many of those fish are being tossed straight back in. Hook, line and sinker…
“We’re currently living in a culture of disposable dating, which is appropriate if you are looking for a casual encounter, but doesn’t hit the spot if you are looking for a deeper connection with someone,” explains Melanie. “According to eHarmony’s research, Aussies’ really do desire long term, committed relationships, but they’re still choosing to engage with superficial mobile apps and the bad dating behaviours that come with them to find ‘the one.’ Essentially, it’s like wanting to run a marathon, but filling your training schedule with hurdle-jumping. The tactics do not add up to the end game. If you are looking for a deeper connection, I recommend skipping the quick swipe method of dating and finding a digital platform that aligns with establishing a lasting spark.”
Bad Behaviours & The Dangers Of Swipe Based Dating Apps
Anyone who’s ever been on a dating app knows the bad behaviour that comes along with it. Heck, you may have even been guilty of it yourself. And it’s easy to do under the guise of anonymity.
“Swipe-based dating apps make it all too easy to engage in shameful dating behaviour, encouraging normally thoughtful daters to perpetuate a superficial dating scene, that only hurts themselves in the end,” says Melanie. “Of the numerous bad dating behaviours that are encouraged by a culture of convenience dating, Aussies are particularly guilty of ‘ghosting’ (where a date unexpectedly disappears and withdraws all contact, without explanation or apology).”
“In fact, and according to eHarmony, 65% of Aussies are dating multiple people at once – hedging their bets romantically. These daters are impossible to pin down, and will never commit to anything far in advance so they can keep their options open in case something better comes along.”
Melanie says the research also found that 34% of men and women were guilty of stringing someone along. “Dating them because they want or need someone in their lives, or simply because they like to feel wanted – with no regard for how the other party feels.” Noice. Not…
“To avoid toxic daters, keep an eye out for tell-tale signs like flakiness, avoidance, shallow interest or feeling insecure. Most importantly, listen to your intuition.”
Related: What His Kiss Is Really Saying
The Effects Of Convenience Dating On You
No one wants to be judged by their ‘profile photo’ or feel used, strung along or rejected – especially if you’re genuinely looking for the real deal. But convenience dating is causing some serious emotional collateral damage, including hurt feelings and a hit to the self-esteem. The survey revealed 34% of singles report feeling ‘not good enough’ while 24% feel like they aren’t attractive enough. And this is just the tip of the impact iceberg.
“There is a deeper and potentially longer-term impact to the hurt feelings and self-esteem that come from experiencing ‘convenience daters,’ explains Melanie. “It seems that Aussies are shirking their interpersonal responsibility by hiding behind the anonymity of an app. They feel like they have less emotional skin in the game and are forgetting that people have feelings, which shows a real lack of empathy. While most people are aware that dating can be an emotionally risky game, being ghosted or strung along can be blind-siding, with eHarmony’s research showing almost half (43%) of people admit to having a negative attitude towards dating in general, thanks to their experiences in the past 12 months, and 10% of those saying they’ve given up on dating altogether. Not surprisingly, women were more likely than men to experience a dip in self-esteem thanks to an experience like ghosting.”
Related: How To Have A Clean Breakup
Finding The One: A New Hope
So is it time we stopped judging potential partners by their two-inch photo and 30 word profile? And, perhaps, started looking for more meaningful values and qualities?
“eHarmony’s research proves Aussies feel a spark when they experience fluid conversation (72%), a shared sense of humour (68%) and feeling at ease with one another (67%),” says Melanie. “Thanks to looks-based dating apps, it’s a common misconception that if you’re going to feel a spark it’s going to be the instant you see their photo pop up on your screen, or the moment they walk into the bar. The warm, fuzzy feeling you have for someone grows over time. A true spark emerges in that special moment when you realise how easy and wonderful it is to be near to and talking with that person – not when you’re lusting over their abs in their profile picture.
“A better approach would be for daters to focus on establishing genuine connections with people, and to do that you really need to go beyond skin deep.”
About: eHarmony surveyed 1,050 Australians in September 2016 about their relationship goals, dating habits and attitudes. To find out more eHarmony and its compatibility-based matching system, click here