Why do people behave so badly in the digital dating world?

We are all familiar with the bad behaviour that takes place on online dating apps. From ghosting to breadcrumbing, and everything in between, you may have experienced first-hand the emotional hazards that are commonplace in the digital dating world.

Daters have to navigate a plethora of online dating bad behaviours, explains a recent BBC article examining the phenomenon, with women disproportionately affected.

The piece cited recent research which discovered 35% of respondents say somebody had sent them an “explicit message or image they didn’t ask for” on a dating app, which rose to 57% among female daters aged 18 to 34. In that age group, 44% reported that somebody had called them an offensive name on a dating app or site, and 19% of young women say they’ve been threatened with physical harm via apps, compared with 9% of people overall.

Infidelity is disappointingly common as well. A team of researchers found 42% of people with a profile on the dating site they examined were married or in a relationship – but still seeking dates.

Poor conduct online is often found to be a result of the courage people gain from hiding behind a screen, leading them to say and do things they would never do in real life. When you think about it, it’s a lot less scary to approach somebody for a date via a text conversation than it is to ask them in person. However, the problem comes when the semi-anonymous nature of the apps makes people feel like they can get away with emotional abuse and bad behaviour.

The BBC article also points out that apps encourage a numbers-game approach to dating, with daters feeling they need to cast their nets as widely as possible to be in with the best chance of finding a good match. This can lead to people moving quickly from one conversation to another, ghosting those they don’t see as worth getting to know better or ‘trading up’ when somebody else catches their eye.

As Leah LeFebvre, associate professor in communication studies at the University of Alabama, told the author of the article, daters can simply melt away or disappear in the digital world. Shockingly, another study  found 74% of respondents thought ghosting was an appropriate way to end a relationship.

Dating with caution

The problem, many experts point out, is that with these bad behaviours has grown a type of weary acceptance by daters to expect – and even accept – this sort of treatment as they search for love online.

Social researcher Dr Joanne Orlando recently wrote in the Guardian that we may lull ourselves into a false sense of security by fobbing off this sort of behaviour as typical, or believing that it doesn’t matter because it’s happening online. She argues that the behaviour we experience digitally can have far-reaching ramifications into our daily lives, eroding how we think we deserve to be treated. We’re at our most vulnerable when we’re dating and the more we encounter these sorts of behaviours, the more damaged we become. Her article concludes that it is time to view online dating as no different from other forms of dating, making sure standards aren’t dropped for the people who treat you badly simply because they think they can get away with it because you are chatting via an app. As with all new relationships, it’s important to walk away if the person you are dating behaves badly and ensure you don’t excuse their behaviour just because it took place online.

On a more optimistic note, the BBC article points out that many daters who experience first-hand this sort of dating bad behaviour have vowed to concentrate on kindness and doing better in their interactions online, making sure they never hurt somebody in the same way.

Working with a matchmaker

Despite the pitfalls, online dating apps remain a popular way to look for love. However, many weary daters are now looking for a new way to date. Matchmaking has been rising in popularity in recent years as an antidote to burnout with an app-based search for love. Fed up with endless swiping and having online conversations fizzle out to nothing, daters are turning to the experts to find the long-term committed relationships they’ve been searching for.

Matchmakers are experts at really understanding what somebody is looking for in a partner and providing hand-selected introductions to people who share their family values, goals, and outlooks on life. There is also the element of third-party accountability. If people know they are going to be pulled up on poor behaviour, they are less likely to do it. Many daters are finding the benefits of opting for an in-person aspect to dating, turning their back on hours of swiping to find a date, and instead outsourcing the hard work to the experts. They then reap the rewards by enjoying great dates with people who are really worth getting to know!

Here at Ignite Dating we use a unique mix of expert intuition, our extensive private network and personality profiling to make recommendations for the perfect partner. We take all the hard work out of searching for a good match, providing you with plenty of support and advice along the way so you can just concentrate on an enjoyable dating journey. Why not give us a call today and find out how we can help you with your search for love!

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