In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, a recent survey shows that the majority of people on the popular dating app Tinder are currently in a relationships.
According to research published last month 65.3 percent of Tinder users surveyed were already “in a relationship“ or (in some cases) in the throes of full-fledged marriage. Additionally, just 50.3 percent of respondents said they were using the app to meet someone in an IRL capacity.
“It can be overwhelming, and in some cases, it can lead people to this notion that the grass is always greener on the other side, like there’s always better options out there,” Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, a Stanford Medicine professor and study co-author, told NBC News when speaking about the potential pitfalls of dating apps at large.
The study is the subject of the paper “Finding Intimacy Online: A Machine Learning Analysis of Predictors of Success” and was carried out, in part, “to assess the level of satisfaction with Tinder use and the level of satisfaction with Tinder offline dates.” The researchers asked participants ages 18 to 74, recruited through online advertisements, a variety of questions about their motivations for using Tinder — the most widely downloaded dating app among 18 to 25 year olds — and the numbers of matches and dates they’ve had, as well as about psychological measures, such as loneliness and self-esteem. They then studied participants’ self-reported level of satisfaction with the app, all submitted through an online questionnaire.
“Tinder has been downloaded more than 530 million times and created more than 75 billion matches. Tinder’s in-app ‘Relationship Goals’ feature lets members signal their intent,” a spokesperson for Tinder, which was not involved in this study, wrote in a statement. “Globally, 40% of Tinder members say that they are looking for a long term relationship, versus 13% looking for a short term connection.”
The study reported that many choose to stay active on dating apps even if they aren’t looking for dates or hookups for the same reasons they use social media. The platforms have become similar sources of entertainment and social connection while providing users with the confidence boost that comes with collecting likes and matches.
Study co-author Germano Vera Cruz, a data scientist and professor of psychology at the University of Picardie Jules Verne in France, said that dynamic results in a “game of deception.” Those who genuinely want real-life connections have a lower probability of finding success, he said, because fewer users are there with the same objective.
“Some people feel deceived with the use of dating apps, because each time you have a new platform, people think they might really find someone,” Vera Cruz said. “And then people go from platform to platform, but each time they are there, they are not satisfied.”
But those who start swiping merely as a form of distraction aren’t getting what they want out of the experience, either. The researchers found that Tinder users who reported the least satisfaction from the app are the ones using it to cope with negative emotions and other issues, such as avoidant attachment styles or psychological qualities like impulsivity.