• Sandra B

Tinder, Bumble and Zoosk - What's Love Got To Do With It?

Sooner or later almost every couple gets asked “how did you meet?” It’s usually women who ask and it’s not to get hints and tips. People who ask are more than likely to be in relationships themselves. Instead, it seems that it’s just one of those topics that arouses human curiosity.

I’ve been married twice and met my first husband upstairs on a double decker bus. I was just seventeen and we married the following year, less than one month after my 18th birthday. Sadly, it didn’t work out and I met Tom almost 10 years later in a local night club. On both occasions, I spoke to them only because we knew each other through mutual friends and had previously been in the same company. I can therefore confidently say I’ve never ended up marrying a complete stranger!

Come to think of it, I met my first sweetheart at the tender age of fifteen after spotting him on the lower deck of a bus as I stood at the bus stop. In a frenzy of heightened teenage emotions, we then spent months gazing from a distance after school, on the way home and at bus stops, before finally meeting at a teen disco in a local nightclub. Happy, heady days! There’s a theme developing here – schools, colleges, universities, public transport (in my case at least) night clubs and the workplace were the most common ways to get dates in the seventies and eighties.

Two of my closest friends also met their lifelong partners in similar ways. Irene, when Roger became her most regular customer at the hotel bar where she had a part-time evening job. It was funny how he just seemed to turn up every time she had a shift. Margaret met Bob at their Ceroc dancing class in later life and soon noticed that he was “engineering” being her dancing partner a little more often than some of the others. Crafty devils!

So, is it any different nowadays? Our MIllennial son met his girlfriend at work. They first saw each other across the office and then discovered a flirtatious sense of humour in common as they chatted beside the coffee machine in the kitchen. When he realised he was looking for excuses to drink coffee more regularly, he knew he was smitten. Not a word he would use of course – that’s Mum talking!

In theory, nowadays, it’s easier to meet your match by using technology. Dating applications (APPS), like Tinder, Bumble and Zoosk on your smartphone make it much easier to identify other singles looking for love. On Tinder, you look at the photos of potential dates and swipe ‘left for no’ and ‘right for yes’ to start a virtual conversation. Apparently, over 50 million people use Tinder, the average user logs in 11 times a day and an average of 1.6 billion swipes happen daily worldwide. Women swipe right only 14% of the time, men swipe right 46% of the time (why is that I wonder?) and 42% of Tinder users are already in a relationship (ouch!)

Bumble (22 million users) has become known as the feminist dating app and was created by Tinder co-founder, Whitney Wolfe. It’s another swiping app but the main difference with Bumble is that when 2 heterosexual people are a match, the woman has to message first. It’s helped with the problem of women being swamped by over enthusiastic men.

Zoosk (40 million users) is a bit different because of its ‘secret’ matchmaking formula. The more you use it, the better it understands what you’re looking for, which means less time wasting. It also has a photo verification tool which asks users to submit video selfies that help confirm that they match their photos and they’re legit - so no more misleading pics and fake profiles. Is it just me, but is there ANYTHING romantic about this systems-led, digital approach to finding romance?

Is there any possibility of feeling that heart-thumping, stomach-churning, temperature-raising excitement of new attraction in these heavily engineered circumstances or are they about “hook-ups” rather than finding true love? Not so according to an article on 3 Mobile - a massive 20% of relationships and over 17% of marriages now start online, so it’s working for some couples.

I sometimes think of a former colleague of mine who had reached her mid-forties without meeting anyone special, when she decided to try online dating. After a few lack lustre dates, she met a wonderful man of her own age, also single and never married due to looking after elderly parents. To see them now, going everywhere together, sight-seeing on fabulous holidays and having fun with both circles of friends and family is really heart-warming. They both seem so much happier, healthier and never stop smiling. Their joy in having found each other is palpable.

Close companionship isn’t for everyone but, if it’s what you want and you find a kind and loving soul mate, it can certainly give life a lot more passion, fizz and sparkle! What are the chances of finding “the one?”

Well here’s how I look at it. Since the chances in this Universe of being alive on planet Earth are just a smidgeon over zero. Look it up, every living thing here is nothing short of a miracle, such are the odds against our fragile existence.

To be here AND find a loving and reliable soulmate? That really is quite incredible so, if you do find love in this life (by whatever method) cherish it kindly and with great care. And, remember, no swiping right once you do!

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© 2019 by Sandra Burke