So perhaps dating apps aren’t the best way to go about finding a partner who is also looking to commit. It’s basically the grown-up version of “you’re never going to meet your future boyfriend in a club”.
Dr Mu Zheng, assistant professor at NUS’ department of sociology, thinks dating apps might have re-conceptualised what dating is in the modern context.
“It used to be that dating should be done in person, and involves both emotional and physical interactions. But online dating, especially given young people’s busy schedules, may last for an extended period and may not eventually turn into in-person dating,” she explains.
Simply put, it means dating has become much less about physical closeness, and the intimacy that comes with it. I mean, you can have a completely riveting conversation with a match and feel super attracted to him (or his picture), but he can easily ghost on you any second – and sometimes, all of this drama plays out even before you’ve had the chance to meet.
And you can’t really blame him, either – he might be going through a tough time, or another romantic prospect of his might have blossomed into an actual relationship. Either way, as enjoyable as your online banter was, you were a low priority to him.
That’s why dating app fatigue is a thing. And let’s be real: there are only so many schmucks you can meet before you feel like throwing in the towel and making plans to join a nunnery or bring home more cats than your HDB can hold.
Is matchmaking making a comeback?
“Dating can be exhausting!” concurs Glenda Quek, a senior matchmaker at Society W. She observes that people tend to present a curated version of themselves online and aren’t necessarily upfront about their expectations. And while everything might seem fine online, you might find there’s no chemistry between the both of you once you take things offline.
“It’s almost like finding a needle in a haystack,” she concludes. Grrrrrrrrreat. (Glenda did point out that there are people who do find love on dating apps, but still.)
During another one of my I’m-going-to-die-alone spiels, my male friend pointed out that I should let my social circles know I’m looking for a serious relationship, and they should set me up with their single friends.
Enter the professional matchmakers. The three matchmaking agencies I spoke to – Society W, The Heart Whispers, and GaiGai – all reported seeing an increase in the number of young people (around 25 to 30) signing up for their services. For GaiGai, those in that age group make up about 40 percent of their customer base – with the men to women ratio being 7:3. It’s about 50 percent and 20 percent for The Heart Whispers and Society W respectively, and the men to women ratio is close to 50:50 for both. I can’t help but think that maybe these ahead-of-the-curve millennials are onto something.
“If something is not working for you, why invest more of your time and energy into it? Change it up and get offline,” says Rishma, quoting Einstein on how insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.
Alex, the founder of GaiGai, agrees that it might be advisable to take a break from dating apps once you find it repetitive and monotonous.
“Go out to more social gatherings, and be less reliant on dating apps to get connected with new people,” he suggests.
Have you just been meeting the wrong people all this while, or are your expectations too high? Do you give up a little too easily in the romance department, falling into the paradox of choice and thinking that something better will come along with your next swipe?
After talking to Rishma from The Heart Whispers, she threw up the suggestion of letting her matchmake me. According to her, there might be something I’m not seeing about myself, and that may be the reason why I’m not attracting the kind of guys I want.
And here’s where it gets interesting: the matchmaking service at The Heart Whispers doesn’t just set you up with dates. Your matchmaker will first meet with you to assess whether you’re emotionally ready to date, and then work with you on your issues before they set you up with someone.
I’d like to think there isn’t anything “undateable” about me, but I haven’t exactly been successful in the romance department either. So maybe I do need a dating coach/matchmaker to make me see what I’ve been doing wrong.
Stay tuned for the follow-up story, where I actually get professional dating help.