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Cambria Mackey, Spring 2016, Spring 2016 Section 1

The millennial curse of the right swipe: Traditional dating may be a thing of the past

Millennials may be putting shame to traditional dating but they are being their own Cupids, taking the initiative and actively looking for a love that lasts no matter the sacrifices.

Long gone are the days of courtship, romantic gestures and hourlong phone calls with your beau. Instead, we have entered the era of geo-located dating apps, online profiles and instant matches, substituting traditional dating for a quicker more convenient way of finding one’s perfect match.

The cultural and technological shift to online dating has made apps such as Tinder, Happn, Bumble and Grinder go viral. According to Pew Research Center, 11 percent of American adults have used an online dating site or mobile app, with the percentage of young adults using dating apps almost tripling since 2013.

“Ever since smartphones started to play such a huge role in dating, it has significantly altered millennials’ view on relationships overall,” San Diego relationship expert Matthew Dalton said. “Now more than ever image and status have become huge barriers in the dating world that have tainted the authenticity of romance and relationships.”

The Tinder Era

The day has come where the phrase, “I think I saw you on Tinder,” is more of a common pickup line than, “Do you and your friends come here often?”

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Tinder user swipes through potential matches in the San Diego area. (Photo by Cambria Mackey)

Dating apps are now creating a one-stop shop for people who are looking for either a significant other, fling or even a friend. With complete power in the users’ hands, they can select their preferences to find just what they are looking for and in a matter of seconds – without even a first date. You can swipe left, crossing off a local bachelor or bachelorette, and automatically watch as another possible match slides on to the screen.

According to San Diego dating coach Diana Thompson, millennials have become so dependent on the security of the second screen that the thought of meeting someone face-to-face causes them immense anxiety and fear.

“This is the new normal,” Thompson said. “Twenty-something-year-olds, and younger, have become so picky as to the specific traits and requirements their potential significant other must possess in order to even be considered an eligible partner in their eyes.”

“I’m not going to lie; the whole concept of online dating is pretty shallow,” said Max Patton, a Tinder user. “The first thing people look at is how hot they think a person’s profile picture is, and within a matter of seconds, they make a decision if they want to pursue a conversation or never see them again.”

The solution to finding ‘the one’ in a fast-paced world

However, some people they feel like online dating is their best and, sometimes, only option.

“With such a busy schedule, it’s hard to make time to meet new people; I think that is part of the reason why dating apps are so popular,” Patton said. “Even if I’m not actively going on Tinder dates every other night, just having a dating profile, I’m able to meet more people than I would normally be able to.”

Living in a big city such as San Diego, people might find the dating scene to be intimidating.

Happy couple credits Tinder for their successful relationship. (Photo by Cambria Mackey)

Happy couple credits Tinder for their successful relationship. (Photo by Cambria Mackey)

“In San Diego, there are attractive people on every corner; it’s difficult to just hope you’re going to meet someone who isn’t crazy, taken and doesn’t bat for the opposing team,” said Lacey Means, an active online dating app user. “I’ve given up on playing the waiting game, and at this point, I just want to meet someone I will have a real connection with.”

Means said she believes that by using dating apps, she and other millennials are more likely to meet someone they have a real connection with instead of wasting several Friday nights debating how they can fake an illness and cut out of their blind date before the first course even gets to the table.

Pew Research Center stated that 79 percent of users suggested that online dating was a great way of meeting potential partners, and 70 percent agreed that it’s possible for people to find a better romantic connection online than offline.

“I have been with my girlfriend for three years and our relationship started after matching on Tinder,” San Diego State University senior Ryan Loxe said. “People can hate on dating apps all they want, but they can’t deny that they work. I can honestly say thanks to Tinder, I’ve found the girl I may possibly spend the rest of my life with, and who can put shame to that?”

Online daters find their happily ever after  

More people are finding long-lasting relationships on these sites, advocating for the success of the right swipe and putting the alleged curse to rest.

“Some may call us the Tinder or hook-up generation, but I personally think we are the generation committed to finding a love that lasts, and who knows, maybe today I’ll be one swipe closer to finding the one for me,” Tinder user Andrew Patterson said.

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