The notion of online dating had already planted its seeds in the late 20th century, but it did not truly blossom until after the internet came along. Since then, online dating has provided its users with an easy way of meeting potential partners and more options when it comes to searching for lifelong partners. Unfortunately, it has also created an easy path for monkey business.
Today, in the United States alone, online dating acts as a matchmaker for 40 million users. A recent survey that ABODO conducted shows that these numbers do not merely represent the number of people who are seeking companionship. This survey’s subjects included men, women, and non-binary users.
The survey, which focuses on how 3,500 college students are using dating apps, has some astonishing results on how millennials are using online dating services. For instance, Tinder absolutely dominates compared to other dating apps. Despite the large number of users who are on Tinder ready to swipe right for love, this survey concluded that only 4 percent prefer to use apps to meet “potential dates,” while 34 percent are there for “entertainment.”
Among the most shocking of the data was that 74.3 percent of women said using a dating app while in a relationship was definitely cheating, while only 63.3 percent of men did. In a time when our society debunks sexist myths and pushes for greater equality between men and women, this perception toward the use of dating apps illuminates the differences that still exist between men and women.
Other surveys have shown similar results. In the General Social Survey, a majority of men and women both said that infidelity when married is always wrong, but more women believed this to be true. At least 78 percent of men think cheating is never okay, while 84 percent of women share that sentiment. The percentage differences were even more alarming when things went beyond swiping right for love. In the same aforementioned survey, 60 percent of men in the poll felt that kissing someone other than your partner was fine, but only 34 percent of women agreed.
Modern psychology has two theoretical perspectives on men and women’s responses to infidelity. The first has its roots in cultural gender roles, while the other takes an evolutionary psychology perspective. In the first perspective, the human mind is largely shaped by the roles cultures assign to women and men and the experiences they have in those roles. It maintains that in a culture with a high degree of equality, men and women interpret the world more similarly. However, in a country like Norway with substantial gender equality, the first perspective does not explain the results of these surveys.
The second theoretical perspective bases its explanations on evolution, which unlike the first theory can help us understand the phenomenon of large sex differences that persist in men and women, even in countries where there is substantial gender equality. A study recently published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior along with a Norwegian study from 2015 both agree that within a heterosexual couple, men are more jealous of sexual infidelity than emotional infidelity, while the opposite holds true for women.
According to the evolutionary perspective, what sets heterosexual men apart in infidelity scenarios is paternal uncertainty. Men and women over thousands of generations have had to adapt to different challenges related to reproduction. Infidelity is one of them.
A man must decide whether he really is the father of his partner’s child, and if he should choose to invest all his protection and status resources in this child. Things are not the same for the mothers. She knows for sure that she is the mother, but she must ensure that the child’s father will provide their offspring with the food, security, and social status it needs. The greatest threat for the woman is not that the man has sex with other women, but that he spends time and resources on them.
Voilà, the evolutionary perspective explains ABODO’s finding that 37 percent of men don’t necessarily think using dating apps while in a relationship is cheating.
We live in a country and time period where perhaps women are no longer dependent on men for resources to rear a child. Nevertheless, women today are descendants of women who over thousands of generations have reacted with jealousy to men showing signs of interest toward other women.
The use of an online dating app while being in a relationship is one of these signs. Since heterosexual men are more concerned with sexual infidelity, the use of online dating apps may imply emotional infidelity, but as long as things don’t get sexual, there is a high possibility they won’t consider it infidelity at all.
To a woman, the fact that 37 percent of men don’t necessarily think using dating apps while being in a relationship is cheating may be truly shocking. Understanding these differences that exist between men and women may help heterosexual couples communicate sentiments of jealousy better.
An even better idea for people who care about their relationships is to just stay away from online dating services,or to be open about it with your partner.