With love now as gamified as fitness, it’s no surprise that the modern dating world is rife with bad dating behaviour caused by the proliferation of superficial swipe apps. With ghosting, breadcrumbing and Gatsbying prevalent, the modern Millennial is now on at least one dating platform - you guessed it, traditional dating has gone digital!
Dating trends not only signify how daters are interacting but present real-life manifestations of what the dating world has become. When ghosting became popular it showed how fatigued people had become with the dating game – choosing to ignore a fling with radio silence rather than facing those horrible break-up tears.
The new dating trends are no different, giving insight into what problems digital daters have, and the clever solutions they’ve devised to solve their dating woes.
I know that a lot of men have been guilty of these bad dating habits, but a lot of people discount how women can also embrace these behaviours. If you’re a man looking for love in 2019 don’t discount the importance of knowing the signs that you may be falling victim to these dating crimes.
Prowling is the sequel to ghosting we’ve all experienced – and now it has a name. Prowling happens when someone first ghosts you, only to re-appear weeks or months later as if nothing happened. Guilty?
People may ‘prowl’ you because they have a lull in dating activity, they start to look back and experience a bit of FOMO (it comes in many different shapes and sizes). This leads them to reignite the flame sporadically with you, despite all of their previous signals implying they were just not that into you.
eharmony research actually found that those dating online were more likely to be prowled than those who use traditional methods (46% vs 15%). This implies that the ‘choice overload’ people experience from superficial swipe apps is making them feel like they need to constantly have a date on call – even when they know you’re not the one for them.
If you’re not keen on dealing with a constant prowler popping in and out of your life, I recommend a pretty simple solution; stop replying! A lot of people complain about these bad dating behaviours but continue to engage with them. If someone has ghosted and then prowled you, there is no shame in ghosting them right back.
Ever been so sick of swiping random matches that you’ve given a mate your phone to do it for you? Another byproduct of disposable dating fatigue, this trend that we’re now calling ‘outsourcing’ is reaching new heights in 2019. There are now full-scale businesses launching around the concept of people taking over your swipe apps and organising your love life for you.
‘Outsourcing’ your love life may feel like an easy option when you’re exhausted from all the bad dates and countless mismatches, but reducing potential love interests to a meaningless third-party transaction isn’t the solution. How would you feel if you discovered the person you were keen on only chose to reach out because one of their mates mindlessly swiped?
An outsourced date can be easy to identify; they know little about you despite chatting for a while, they constantly forget interactions and experience downright confusion about who you are. With some careful prodding it’s usually an easy mystery to solve. Where you go from there is up to you, if there’s chemistry then maybe you’ve stumbled upon a good thing. When there isn’t a connection, don’t feel bad about ending things politely! If they didn’t put in the effort, why should you?
Ever been out having a good time with your mates and you look across the room only to see that girl you’re dating also out with her friends? It’s a pretty exciting coincidence, right?
This might actually be a case of love lurking, where people use social media to sleuth where you’re going and then organise their own group of friends to attend the same place to engineer an unexpected meet up. Research has found that half of all 18-24 year olds in Australia admit to lurking their love interest online (52%).
In this world of digital dating, people are craving real world interaction so they use these sorts of tactics to try gauge people’s interest in them. Digital dating aside, there is no greater indicator for chemistry than talking face to face, and these trends show how these dating apps are never going to be a true substitution for a real life spark.
If you’re feeling this could be happening to you, embrace the moment. This shows the effort your potential flame is going through to develop the romance. If you don’t feel comfortable with your romantic interest’s sleuthing side, be upfront with them about how you feel. This will clarify the situation for everyone involved and may even make them realise that honesty is always the best policy.
Sharon is the resident relationship expert for eharmony and a highly credentialed psychologist with a wealth of experience helping individuals navigate through the stress and anxieties of looking for a partner.