As couples therapists in NYC, we’ve witnessed firsthand how dating apps have changed the way couples meet. Tribeca Therapy’s observations on the ways Tinder, Bumble and other apps have transformed dating are featured in The Atlantic’s in-depth feature on the impact of dating apps.
Published in conjunction with the five-year anniversary of Tinder becoming widely available on all smartphones in 2013, The Atlantic’s Ashley Fetters spoke with our director Matt as a couples therapy expert and witness to the explosion of dating apps. For example, Matt tells Fetters that ten years ago, patients who were dating would complain about not meeting interesting people. However, more recently with the sheer number of potential matches on dating apps, that has switched to: “Oh, God, I meet all these non-interesting people.”
The article looks extensively at how people interact with each other when using dating apps. Matt mentions a lot of the stories of bad behavior on dating apps that he hears in his NYC therapy practice, from standing-up dates to people misrepresenting themselves in photos. He also notes that meeting someone from an app with no connection (unlike a cousin’s roommate, for example) can present “a greater opportunity for people to be ridiculous…”
Dating apps have also changed the way Tribeca Therapy practices couples therapy. As couples therapists, we are often interested in a couple’s origin story. When a couple is in distress, which is usually (but not always) the case when couples enter couples therapy, asking how a couple met can be a nice way for the therapist and partners in a couple to connect. While certainly plenty of people who meet on dating apps have a funny or touching story, couples that met through an app can seem less excited to talk about how they met. As Matt said in The Atlantic, this has led him to ask in a less expectant tone since a meeting story on a dating app can be less important for couples.