Why we're giving up on dating apps to find love

By Zara Morgan
BBC News

  • Published
Profiles of Josh Vaughan, Karen Jones and Jeffrey Evans
Image caption,
Josh, Karen and Jeffrey have all ditched dating apps to find love offline

Swiping right on dating apps is used by millions to find love, but many report feeling frustrated by the process.

Tinder has more than 50 million active users worldwide, according to App Annie analysts.

But apps are the least preferred way to meet someone new despite about half of 16 to 34-year-olds using them, a Radio 1 Newsbeat survey suggests.

Cyberpsychologist Nicola Fox Hamilton said people can get "frustrated" by online dating.

Three people from Wales explain why they ditched the apps in favour of finding love offline.

Image source, Family Photo
Image caption,
Karen has used dating apps for nine years

'People get de-sensitized'

Karen Jones has been "on and off" dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Plenty of Fish for nine years, but said she feels "relieved" after deleting the apps for good a few months ago.

The 36-year-old from Pontyclun said the apps were making her feel depressed.

"There are so many men on dating apps who are married or in a relationship," she said.

Karen added that it got to the stage where men were sending naked pictures to her before the first message in an online conversation.

"Now I'm not forcing the issue. I'm doing normal things like going on nights out and doing things like the gym and different classes a lot more," she said.

"I feel relieved I don't have the apps anymore. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders."

Image source, John Vaughan
Image caption,
"Catfishing" is common on dating apps, says Josh

'It is harder to meet someone right'

Meanwhile in Cardiff, 24-year-old Josh Vaughan found that using Grindr and Tinder to meet men was giving him "a negative energy".

"When you meet, that rapport and relationship you build up through messaging doesn't transfer into real life," he said.

Originally he downloaded the apps a year and a half ago "out of curiosity", but found they didn't encourage any real connection.

"The 'catfishing' is crazy," he added.

Catfishing describes when social media pictures do not resemble someone in real life, and mislead people into believing they look different.

After deleting the apps recently, Josh said he wanted to focus on himself and "not have a conscious effort" to meet someone.

Image source, Jonah Myer
Image caption,
Jeffrey Evans found there was a "lack of trust" in online dating

'I have a history of deleting and re-downloading'

But Jeffrey Evans, from Fishguard, said he was still friends with some of the people he has met through dating apps.

The 23-year-old has had one relationship from using Tinder and Bumble, but he said he would prefer to meet someone in real life.

"In a dating app relationship, I found there was a lack of trust because of the online presence," he said.

He deleted the apps after finding he was "spending too much time on it with no real results".

"I just want a real connection with someone which I've found I can't get, really, in the digital age," he said.

Image source, Tinder
Image caption,
Tinder pioneered the "swipe" selection method

What can psychology tell us?

Cyberpsychology researcher Nicola Fox Hamilton, who is writing her PhD on online dating at the University of Wolverhampton, said it is hard to tell "how funny or warm someone is" on an app.

"People develop a shopping mentality where you can create a list of what your ideal partner looks like," she said.

"But offline you get a more holistic impression where you get to know them slowly."

She is analysing online dating profiles from 500 people from the UK and English-speaking countries to test how people understand dating bios.

But although Ms Fox Hamilton found people get "easily tired" or "frustrated" by the apps, she thinks people will continue to use them.