Dan Hawkins is tired of using dating apps to meet someone.
He has been on them for several years and describes the experience as “removed”.
He says the swipe-right or swipe-left nature of many of the apps means that people judge a person based on very little, a photo and a short biography.
“I was looking at strangers out of context,” he said, adding that he did not enjoy the short online chat until he met in person.
According to research by Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, 39 percent of heterosexual couples in 2017 reported meeting their partner online, up from 22 percent in 2009.
He said meeting with a significant other online has replaced meeting with a partner through friends, and confidence in matchmaking technology has been rising.
Rosenfeld also found that online dating improved the chances of relationships leading to marriage because people were able to choose their partners based on their preferences.
Hawkins, however, does not like it. So he has started his own social experiment to find a “lifelong partner”.
He offers prizes up to $ 7,000 in value to anyone who can help him get a date and ultimately a wife.
“I’m looking for someone who has a kind heart, someone who is curious and maybe has a sense of humor, it doesn’t have to be my sense of humor.”
People are asked to send possible fights to him. After filling out a form, the aspiring matchmakers will be entered to win prizes.
A selection consisting of his friends will then sift through the tracks to identify good fights, put Hawkins up on some dates, and ideally, he says, a courtship will lead to marriage.
After the wedding, Hawkins hands out the prizes.
Hawkins realizes that he is probably not the only person who is tired of dating apps.
He says he has heard from others who like what he does, and he encourages others to take their own dating project – even though he realizes that his model may not work for everyone.
“It’s hard to send out that email because you make yourself pretty vulnerable and sound pretty desperate,” he said.
“I think people know I’m a little quirky, so it works a little bit for me.”
Dating coach Dino Bodovski says online dating apps are difficult because they create a lot of hope that is quickly subdued when a match stops communicating.
“Because there are so many other people who might be talking to them, it’s very easy to get lost and be forgotten,” Bodovski said.
That said, he acknowledges how important they have become during the pandemic for people trying to find a potential partner.
Dating habits change during pandemic
Billie Coben met her partner online during the pandemic. She says that with the help of dating apps, she can choose who she “opened the door for.”
“There’s nothing you can do by meeting people at a bar. You don’t have the opportunity to set up the same barriers,” Coben said. “Everyone needs a safety blanket.”
Logan Ury, director of relationship science with the dating app Hinge, says the pandemic led to an increase in the use of the app, and that user feedback suggests that the pandemic also encouraged people to prioritize looking for a romantic partner more seriously.
“There’s an even greater sense that people really want to connect in a meaningful way, not just for a connection,” she said.
However, Bodovski still believes there is a better way to find “the one”. He suggests that people work on themselves and their ability to connect personally rather than focus all their energy on online dating apps.
“As human beings, we really need some connections, it’s the most natural thing for us to have. We want some camaraderie, a real real connection.”