Dating in 20 Years: The Lasting Impact of Mobile Technology
Anyone who’s ever played the dating game can tell you that finding the right partner will never be as simple as “Swipe Left to pass, Swipe Right to ‘like,” but the unprecedented success of the Tinder app has shown that for some people, it can be close enough. The app simplified dating in a way no other dating service ever had before: you’re given a list of users close to you – a virtual catalog, if you will – and you can try to sift through the list to find someone you’d want to date or hook up with, and hope that they feel the same way about you.
What used to be week-long waits of waiting for an online dating service to find matches for you and then communicating via messages on the website turned into a process that could potentially take all of three minutes. Of course, whether this is a good or a bad thing is still up for debate. It’s made the process that much faster and more convenient, but is that always a good thing – especially when it comes to trying to find a partner? Or are we just promoting an unhealthy relationship with our phones again?
When smartphones started becoming mainstream, surveys revealed that we had begun spending more time with our phones than with our partners, with the average smartphone user spending upwards of two hours a day just starting at their phone’s screen, and only spending 97 minutes a day with their significant other. That was two years ago, and everyone knows that the mobile industry has continued to evolve since then. We wouldn’t be surprised if we spend even more time on our phones now that they’ve virtually become the all-in-one tool for modern living.
Earlier this year, Chris Feliciano wrote about how 20 years have changed dating, discussing how our obsession with technology has made it difficult for us to connect, or meet new people in the ways we did before the internet became mainstream. Social media and mobile apps have changed the way we communicate and ask each other out, and it’s leaving a lasting impression on the dating industry.
With smartphones still being improved, there’s little doubt that they’ll stay relevant in our daily lives, and in a few years’ time, we might be completely dependent on them. How could the dating scene evolve with our smartphones? For one thing, communication pre-date and post-date will definitely continue to change. Surveys have revealed that as early as 2013, the pre-date and post-date texts had been important parts of the dating process, and many relied on this communication to see if the relationship would have a future at all.
Flirting via text messages and sexting may see a bigger role in the future as well. Earlier this year, surveys by Adam and Eve revealed that sexting is quickly becoming an important part of the dating process itself, with nearly 95% of the Americans who admit to sexting (sending sexually explicit photographs or messages via cell phone) saying they send sexual thoughts or ideas, 38% saying they send sexy selfies and 36% send explicit images, and nearly 20% saying they show their faces in their sexts. Sexting may very well turn out to be another necessary layer of post-date communication, and with the rise of apps like Tinder, sexts might be on the menu for pre-date texts as well.
And let’s admit it: mobile phones don’t just make us lazy, they make us more critical of others too. While sitting at a table on your first date, you’re likely to judge your potential partner based not just on their phone habits, but on their phones as well, and nobody could really blame you. These days, the way you handle your phone can speak a lot towards your personality, and some studies even claim a relationship between the kind of phone you have and the kind of partner you are. According to the Huffington Post, “Apparently, the device you carry speaks loudly (even when your ringer is on silent). An iPhone or Android isn’t just a tech choice, it can give dates insight into your personality and behaviors, too. The study found that Android users are the more polite eDaters–they’re more likely to pick up a date at home, pay for the first date, eat at a nice restaurant and send a post-date text.”
As we continue to rely on our mobile phones in our day-to-day lives, so too do we continue to rely on them for our dating lives, and within the next 20 years, we may see our phones becoming indispensable to the dating scene.