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More Americans are using online dating than ever before, but it still sucks

Dating can be especially treacherous, and technology hasn’t necessarily helped. 

A new poll published Thursday by Pew Research Center found that three in ten Americans have used a dating app, more than ever before, even though many found the process disappointing. 

Pew surveyed nearly 5,000 U.S. adults, 45% of which who’ve used a dating app said their recent experience “left them feeling more frustrated than hopeful.” 

Finding a compatible partner, one who shares the same hobbies, interests, and physical attractiveness, is “somewhat” easy, according to the poll, but getting the right amount of attention, i.e. messages or people who also want to meet in person, varies between men and women. 

Men are more likely to say they did not receive as many DMs as they would have liked, whereas 24% of women said the same.

The poll points out that attitudes toward online dating has swiftly changed from negative to positive within the last two decades since they were introduced, but getting what you expect from online dating is a different story. 

With dozens of dating apps out there, and experts expecting the industry to balloon to nearly $12 billion, why are users still subjected to such negative experiences? Do the platforms just suck, or do the people? 

Search the web and you will find a plethora of rants on the topic. Ask a friend about their recent Tinder date and be inundated with details that make your skin crawl. It seems like nearly everyone (online at least) has had a not-so-nice night out with a stranger they met online.  

Despite all the anecdotes out there, the facts don’t change — more than 30% of Americans use dating apps, a number expected to continually rise. The way we date has changed for good. Dating apps have allowed hopeless romantics to meet new people and develop new relationships in ways so simple, all you have to do is swipe your finger. And there’s even been some solid success. 

According to the same poll, 12% of people have gotten married or have been in a committed relationship with someone they met on an app. For those who identify as LGBT, the percentage is higher

Sure, it sucks. But online dating is sticking around. 

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Meira Gebel
Meira Gebel is a freelance reporter based in Portland. She writes about tech, social media, and internet culture for Digital…
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