Have Dating Apps Ruined Love and Dating? No, Our Toxic Culture Has


A lot of people nowadays argue that dating apps have ruined dating and love because apps give singles too many choices. Are they right?

In Barry Schwartz’s book, the Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, he says too many options lead to higher expectations and more chances for regret, disappointment, self-blame, and trouble making decisions. He gives the relatable example of going to buy jeans and being overwhelmed by all the options, from basic Levi’s to $400 designer jeans.

It’s true that men and women are waiting longer to marry than in the past, but is it because it’s harder to commit when we have too many choices (so many men, so little time)?  Or are there other factors that play an even more important role?

Think about it this way:

When you’re ready to find a partner, having many options can also make it easier for you to find the right person. Apps don’t ruin dating for those people.

Dating has been going downhill for quite some time. Apps may make matters worse, but cultural factors are the true culprit.

Why Is Modern Dating So Broken?

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 anymore on how to approach modern dating. We’re pioneers, trying to navigate this strange new territory without a map or guide.

Here are the real offenders that have ruined dating:

Toxic Cultural Beliefs That Ruined Dating #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.

Although instant intimacy may work for some women, for most it’s a recipe for confusion, frustration, and heartache.

Toxic Cultural Beliefs That Ruined Dating #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 because they fear they won’t measure up to their competition. In our beauty and youth-obsessed culture, how can you feel competitive when you continue to age?

Toxic Cultural Beliefs That Ruined Dating #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 make a relationship work. The more self-centered you are, the less you can do that.

Toxic Cultural Beliefs That Ruined Dating #4: You Should 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 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:

Our toxic cultural beliefs are the true cause of the demise of dating. But there is still hope for you to find a good partner if you can stay true to yourself. 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.

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