Tinder, Bumble, Scruff, Happn and so the list of online dating apps goes on. Tall, short, fair, dark, young, middle age, the apps seem to give out a wide variety of choices. All one needs to do is swipe right (I mean depends on the app but you get what I mean). It is true that access to options now has been the most that it has ever been. One does not even have to go out of the house to meet someone special, apps help custom make the type of person you want to be with. Just like Big Basket or Amazon gives the online user a catalogue of items to select, dating apps put human beings as a catalogue to pick and choose from. Tinder alone recorded for an average of 7.5 million swipes a day with cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru having the biggest market.1
Hookup or casual dating?
There are many who argue that most of these dating apps are just for hookups rather than casual dating, but either way, both have their own set of problems. The major problems with using the app as a means to hookup is the devaluing of one’s body and the severe consequence of having multiple partners. Most people underestimate the physical, emotional and psychological bonds that are formed in a physical relationship. It is deep and sacred. To be physical with someone is to open oneself up to numerous vulnerabilities and if this is not done in the most intimate and committed relationship, the emotional scars that follow are entrenched. Feelings of deep emptiness, loneliness, guilt and shame are always associated with casual hookups. And these certainly get passed onto the next relationship. But it is possible to momentarily numb the pain to these serious issues when one is engaged in an ongoing physical relationship, but the ultimate price is costly and inevitable.
The problem with casual dating, on the other hand, is that it is never done with serious intentions of long term commitment. It is either to get over loneliness, boredom or just for fun. None of which is strong enough reason to be with a person. There are barely any statistics or evidence to show that the encounters from the dating apps have led to serious long term committed relationships. All of them come with quick expiry dates. I guess the problem is inbuilt in the medium itself. The huge number of options that the apps churn out makes it almost impossible for many to be in a committed relationship. The possibility of someone better who is just a click away might always linger on in the back of one’s mind. When things get tough as in any relationship, the first thought would be “why do I need to stick with this when I could easily get someone better?”
Treating each other with honour and respect
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, ‘Treat people the same way you want them to treat you’. Casual dating crudely works on the following thought process- “I will be with you for now because you are momentarily fun and exciting, but the minute I find someone else who is more interesting, I am going to jump”. No human being deserves to be treated in such a way. It takes a lifetime to get to know one person. To understand the person intimately and to relate with the person. Even if you were to ask a married couple of 50 years, they would still say that they have a long way to go in terms of fully understanding their better half.
It is true that the feeling of being with someone new can be intense. The chemical reactions in the body are strong and the sense of euphoria seems magical. But in the end, it is primarily an exhilarating feeling that is temporary and cannot stand the test of time. Romantic love promises way too much at the outset than what it can actually deliver. For true love to be born that feeling has to transcend into something greater. Into commitment and loyalty to that one person. In one sense, it is actually what our hearts really long for. To be genuinely loved, cared for and understood by one person.
A few practical steps
So, my advice to singles would be this. Delete the apps. Pray to God to guide you to that one person that you would ultimately commit yourself to. You do not need many experiences in order to find that one person. Guard yourself against the myriad of false promises and temptations the online world throws at you. Ultimately only God can lead you to the person you will be spending the rest of your life with and guide you to stay committed.
Married couples, we are not off the hook on this one. To stay faithful in the mind and heart is a grace that can come only from God. The lurking and appealing online temptations seem almost targeted to break down families and the sacred bonds of love that are precious and so difficult to build. Keep the spark alive, don’t get lazy. Take intentional steps to show your spouse that you love him or her. Commitment is intentionality and we need to always keep at it.
1 Lata Jha, “Online Dating Apps Finding More Love in India as User Base Triples in 2018,”
Livemint, June 10, 2019, https://www.livemint.com/news/india/online-dating-apps-finding-