SUNDAY TIMES - Oct 21 - 25% of the dating app's users are in long-term relationships, say researchers. "A lot of people use Tinder while in a committed relationship," said Elisabeth Timmermans, a social scientist based at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, whose study of online dating included users in Europe and the US. Timmermans and her colleagues studied the dating habits and lifestyle of 1,482 Tinder users and asked them to take personality tests to see if genuine singles were any different from cheats. Individuals scoring high on psychopathy were more likely to use Tinder "in order to create a target-rich mating environment", says the study, published last week in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour. Also, attached men on Tinder are often just seeking approval. Only 50% of them reported having sex with a Tinder partner. All women who were using dating apps while in a committed relationship reported engaging in sexual intercourse [outside the relationship]," reported Timmermans and her colleagues.
Q&A With Mark Brooks
Sunday Times: Is the industry aware and concerned of the very high proportion of non-singles using the dating apps?
Mark Brooks: Yes, absolutely. They tend to lurk and 'test the waters.' I think when Ashley Madison started to come on the scene they sucked up many of the marrieds, and gave them a better home.
ST: Do you warn users about this?
MB: Some dating apps require Facebook login, and when they see status is married, they don't allow them in. Hinge used to do this for example. But most dating apps make no attempt to sift out marrieds. It comes with the territory to some extent, but it would be great if dating services did more to protect the interests of those who do not want to meet marrieds.
ST: The research suggests that the non-singles using Tinder are nastier people and should be treated with caution. Is this fair?
MB: Nastier is a strong but apt word. I think marrieds who are on Tinder are renegade. They're going to naturally have character traits that lead them to sign up and mislead singles. But many of the marrieds are mostly there to prop up their egos to see if they've still got game.
ST: The research also warns that such apps are designed to be addictive. Do you accept this?
MB: OMG! Absolutely. Tinder was definitely designed to be highly addictive and game-like. It was spawned on campus and the creators tried to steer clear of dating nomenclature. It was and still is a game.
ST: What are the benefits of using apps like Tinder for a) singles b) non-singles?
MB: It's a great starting point. But I think singles tend to need for more, and that's the brilliance of Match acquiring them. People will tend to want more, and upgrade to other dating apps, like Match.
ST: Is there any evidence that single people meeting via apps like Tinder are likely to have better quality relationships because they have effectively already been matched?
MB: There should be, but I see little compelling research. Dating apps seek to improve on the real world, and I think they do. But they do not meet their potential. We're leaving a lot of value on the table IMHO.
ST: Have you any stats on the numbers of longer-term relationships resulting from meeting on Tinder?
MB: I wish. That would be golden. I know of no longitudinal studies on the subject alas. eHarmony made some attempts in the past, but I've not seen anything emerge from Tinder yet.