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Sexual minorities, for example, tend to use online dating services at much higher rates than do straight people.(Michael Rosenfeld—whose survey deliberately oversampled gays and lesbians in an effort to compensate for the dearth of research on their dating experiences—finds that “unpartnered gay men and unpartnered lesbians seem to have substantially more active dating lives than do heterosexuals,” a fact he attributes partly to their successful use of apps.For one thing, lots of people appear to be using them as a diversion, with limited expectations of meeting up in person.As Iris, who’s 33, told me bitterly, “They’ve gamified interaction.“Getting right-swiped is a good ego boost even if I have no intention of meeting someone,” one man told me.A 28-year-old woman said that she persisted in using dating apps even though she had been abstinent for three years, a fact she attributed to depression and low libido: “I don’t have much inclination to date someone.”“After a while it just feels exactly the same as getting good at a bubble-popping game.feeling.” Other people said they liked the fact that on an app, their first exchanges with a prospective date could play out via text rather than in a face-to-face or phone conversation, which had more potential to be awkward. “This person is interested in me to some extent.” The problem is that the more Anna uses apps, the less she can imagine getting along without them.
Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist who runs a longitudinal study out of Stanford called “How Couples Meet and Stay Together,” questions this hypothesis; his research finds that couples who meet online tend to marry more quickly than other couples, a fact that hardly suggests indecision.
Maybe choice overload applies a little differently than Slater imagined.
Maybe the problem is not the people who date and date some more—they might even get married, if Rosenfeld is right—but those who are so daunted that they don’t make it off the couch.
I’m happy to be good at it, but what am I really achieving?
” said an app user who described herself as abstinent by choice.