Experts Explain Why Modern Dating is Difficult

With a few taps on their phone, singles now have access to seemingly unlimited numbers of potential partners. But why is modern dating still so difficult? Experts have their say.

A 2022 US study found that four in five adults have experienced some form of emotional fatigue from online dating. A new column from Vice looks to pinpoint the original cause of modern dating difficulty.

“Dating apps changed the digital dating landscape due to the collection of convenient features they brought to the table, which I have called ‘intimacies of convenience’”, shares Dr Rachel Katz, a sociologist at the University of Salford who studies online dating.

While there is convenience, Dr Katz points out that “this convenience can also bring negative experiences: transactional language, ghosting and objectifying language. Moreover, there are fewer social ramifications to these behaviours on dating apps compared to real-life interactions – it’s possible that repeated negative experiences might lead to dating app fatigue.”

While toxic behaviour like this can cause fatigue, it could also be the nature of dating in a digital way. Professor Albert Mehrabian developed a theory which argues only 7% of what we communicate is what we say, with 55% communicated through body language.

This means that text-based conversations can lead to uncertainty and mismatched goals created by poor understanding between users.

Additionally, dating digitally may be taking the human element out of finding connections.  

Jodie Cariss, therapist and founder of mental health service Self Space, says “the amount of immediate gratification and choice that’s available to people, alongside the distance that being behind an app gives us, makes the dating world much easier to hide in without investing too deeply in the human behind the apps”.

While there are many reasons why singles face an onset of fatigue, there is still feelings of optimism.

Single guy Dan told Vice “Dating is a bastard, but the pandemic and cost of living has shown that we’re ready and able to adapt the way we date”. Despite the crises happening in society, singles will find a way, he explained.

Jasmin, another single, agreed and pointed out that the hopelessness felt around dating may trigger a growth in kinder and more considerate dating in the future.