Are Dating Apps Ruining Dating? Or Is It Our Toxic Culture?


After years of marriage, Karen found herself facing a daunting reality after her divorce: re-entering the dating world as a middle-aged woman. Navigating the realm of modern dating apps felt like stepping into a foreign land with unfamiliar customs and languages.

Gone were the days of meeting potential partners through friends or spontaneous encounters; now, the swipe of a finger determined her romantic prospects. Initially hesitant, Karen cautiously dipped her toes into the digital dating pool, hoping to find companionship and connection once again.

However, the dating landscape had changed since Karen’s last single days. She encountered profiles with carefully curated snapshots and witty taglines, each vying for her attention in a sea of endless options. The pressure to present herself in the best possible light felt intense, as did the uncertainty of whether the men were genuinely seeking meaningful relationships.

Today many argue that dating apps are ruining dating. Are they right?

Sadly, Pew Research reported in 2020 that online dating has gotten harder in the last 10 years. Guess who it’s worse for? Women are much more likely than men to say dating is harder (55% vs. 39%). The biggest reason: more physical and emotional risk. Women are twice as likely to report it. (26% vs. 13%).

Unfortunately, dating sites have transformed into fertile ground for scammers seeking to exploit the vulnerable. What once promised a platform for genuine connections has increasingly become a haven for fraudulent schemes and deceptive practices. Scammers, often posing as charming suitors, prey on the hopes and emotions of unsuspecting users, using sophisticated tactics to manipulate and deceive. From fake profiles to elaborate schemes designed to extract money or personal information, the proliferation of scams has cast a shadow over the online dating landscape, eroding trust and leaving many disillusioned with the platform’s integrity.

Are dating apps bad? Despite their problems, one in ten singles find their partners online. Apps don’t have to ruin dating for you. Navigating online dating means treading cautiously. Here’s how to do it safely. The good news about online dating is that having many options can help you to find the right person.

Today’s dating culture started going downhill long before apps became so toxic. Apps make matters worse, but cultural factors are also a huge culprit.

Why is modern dating so toxic?

Massive societal changes over the last 60 years have led to us throwing out the old rules, leaving singles confused about how the game of love is played. Even the experts don’t agree. We’re pioneers, trying to navigate this strange new territory without a map or guide.

When your culture sends messages that interfere with your intuition, you can doubt yourself, making dating more confusing. Today’s modern dating is toxic because of the following norms:

1-  Instant Intimacy.

We’re constantly bombarded by images of people hopping into bed with partners they just met and falling in love. So, we assume this is normal and should work for us too. Many women no longer give themselves the time they need to determine whether a man can be trusted. That leaves us gambling with our emotions, but we feel those risks are justified because we’re “modern women.” Some women even believe it gives them more power.

Believe it or not, it takes time to get to know someone. Although instant intimacy may work for some women, for most it’s a recipe for confusion, frustration, and heartache.

2-  Unattainable beauty and fleeting youth.

We’re bombarded by air-brushed images of perfect-looking models while gorgeous actresses who look like normal size women are blasted for being “fat.” Media images, cosmetic procedures, and surgery show us increasingly unrealistic and unattainable beauty standards.

Research shows that mass media, including social media, affects a person’s perception of body image. Comparing your physical attributes with others is associated with thinking negatively about your appearance. Women are afraid to start dating until they lose weight. They fear they won’t measure up to their competition. In our beauty and youth-obsessed culture, how do you feel competitive when you continue to age?

3-  Toxic confidence.

If you believe the soul-crushing myth that you must fully love yourself before you can find a partner, it’s not your fault. We’re constantly bombarded by messages about how desirable it is to be materialistic, self-centered, and vain.

In the book, The Narcissism Epidemic, Doctors Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell report that the incidence of narcissistic traits and personalities is increasing in the United States and the western world. Our messed-up culture tells perfectly sweet, normal, and healthy people who would make great romantic partners that they aren’t wealthy, successful, or confident enough to be in a relationship. People wrongly believe these traits matter in a relationship and feel like “losers” if they don’t measure up.

Being able to understand how your partner feels is one of the most important qualities that makes a relationship work. The more self-centered you are, the less you can do that. Confidence is overrated in our culture.

4-  Fit In.

As Caroline Caldwell said, “In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” When you are trying to fit in and do what everyone else is doing, you can lose sight of what is most important to you. It takes courage to decide to be true to yourself, whether others like it or not. In a confusing, toxic dating culture, being true to yourself is what grounds you and keeps you sane. It’s what leads you to the right partner and away from the ones who won’t work out.

Bottom Line:

Dating apps have serious problems to address, especially regarding the safety of women. But the beliefs of our toxic dating culture are a major contributor to the demise of dating too. There is still hope for you to find a good partner, if you can stay true to yourself. Take precautions and listen to your gut. Don’t let our toxic American dating culture cause you to doubt your good instincts and intuition.

Ever worry that being a divorced woman over 40 puts you at a disadvantage? Believe it or not, your age has major advantages! Grab my FREE report to discover them here.

Want to find out if you’re being true to yourself? Take my FREE quiz and get a custom video based on your dating style.

Share This:

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *