To swipe or not to swipe? That is the question... of the modern romantic.

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Dating apps: why do so many people use them? Have they ruined 21st century romance?

Serial dating app user or not, I’m pretty sure a large percentage of people reading this article will have at some point downloaded a dating app. Whether you’re mumbling your way through Bumble or titillating about Tinder, dating apps have become a widely frequented forum for people who want to meet others beyond their normal social bubbles. The chances of meeting your significant other in a coffee shop fumble or lecture stationary mishap, as depicted in every film ever, are very slim. Now dating apps are becoming the reality.

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But is our obsession with these dating apps causing our society to be incapable of interacting with new people without the safety net of our small screens in front of us? People are no longer having to actually leave their room to meet people or to engage in conversations with peers. Instead all you have to do is swipe left and swipe right. Isn’t that too simple? Is this ruining 21st century romance? Is the concept of modern romance dead?!

When asking my friends about what they thought of dating apps I was met with a very common theme:

“Err, well I have now deleted it. You just get bored of it after a while. Unless you want casual one night stands, because half of people just want that… and then also it’s just weird. I’m just a dabbler.”
Ciara Regan

Dating apps seem to be widely used for hookups, ego boosts (to see how many matches you get), or boredom. Indeed, that’s exactly how I started using Tinder myself.

Over Easter 2017 a week before I got back to Bristol I joined the not-so-elusive world of Tinder late one night after my friends had been talking about this match and that over drinks. Low and behold, I did meet many people wanting one night stands and quickly swiped left.

However, I also met my girlfriend of 9 months very quickly. We started chatting on Tinder, swiftly moved to texting, met up in London a couple of weeks later, and haven’t looked back. Both of us lived very similar lives up until this point and from getting to know each other in the early months we discovered that we had almost crossed paths many times.

We could have gone through our lives never meeting, walking parallel paths, but Tinder was the platform that we met and without it we would have never had the romance and love that has sprouted from it.

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After asking whether romance is dead due to dating apps a fellow 2nd year English student, replied:

“It’s not like romance is dead just because you met on an app. There’s far less romantic ways to meet. How you meet is so not a big deal. Romance is all the little things you do within a relationship you know, rather than like ‘oh I fell off my horse and into his arms'."
Lucy Russell

Romance is what you make of it and it evolves with the times. This decade we have seen social media usage and influence take over our lives. Our whole world is documented online and therefore naturally modern romance today has evolved onto these platforms. For better or for worse that’s your individual choice as everyone is different.

For me, especially as a gay woman, it opened up the bubble I was in, enabled me to meet new people and actually find the girl I now call my own. People have said that we are more romantic than their own relationships that were formed the old fashioned way! I believe it is time to go with the changing times and embrace the new.

Of course I accept that social media is taking over, limiting society’s ability to go up to strangers and have one-on-one contact. Yet in some cases I think this benefits people. Those who are shy, or afraid of the unknown, can have the safety net of texting and vetting the other person out. For me, my girlfriend had so many mutual friends with me, it made me more confident; I knew she was legitimate and probably very similar as our circles overlapped.

If you don’t feel too confident just yet about declaring your love for dating apps, you could always go with what my girlfriend wrote as her bio:

“If anyone asks how we met I’m just gonna say I rescued you at 3am on a raft on the Thames whilst blaring the Bee Gees out on a bluetooth speaker. Thanks Xo”

Happy swiping!

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Featured image: Flickr / Denis Bocquet


What do you think about the new way of dating? Have any funny stories to tell? Get in contact!

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