Is Tinder Rewiring Our Beliefs About Infidelity?
Infidelity has long been a taboo subject in western society, despite many biologists referring to it as an inherent aspect of human nature. Strides in our cultural sexuality notwithstanding, politicians and business leaders continue to have their careers derailed after being exposed as cheaters, while writers of some of the most popular T.V. shows refuse to involve main characters in extramarital affairs.
Our collective enthusiasm for upholding the classic image of a model American family, one that abides by the highest moral standards, is belied by the increasing amount of social research coming to the forefront of mainstream consciousness.
Thirty percent of Tinder users, for example, are married and 12 percent are in a relationship, according to research by GlobalWebIndex. The stats were generated from a survey of about 47,000 Tinder users around the world.
Yes, it’s a limited sample size with which to draw conclusions about the dating population as a whole, but it’s sufficient enough to contradict what we’d like to believe about the societal norms of dating and relationships.
“Social proof” is a common term used in men’s dating advice. Basically, a man is more attractive to women when women know that other women are attracted to him. Nobody want to be someone’s last resort. Research has confirmed the validity of that concept: Over 50 percent of men and women engage in mate poaching, defined as intentionally trying to attract someone who’s already in a relationship.
A man or woman who already has a partner is viewed as a safer bet by potential suitors; they’ve demonstrated an ability to function within the context of a relationship, as opposed to someone who’s single maybe being viewed as more of a wildcard as far as his/her ability to be your mate. Sure, you can make the counterargument that even if you steal a woman from her boyfriend/husband, she’d be willing to do the same thing again at your expense. But, statistically, people in relationships have a particular appeal.
The popular T.V. show Scrubs, starring Zach Braff, made a joke in one episode about wedding rings making women invisible to single men. But in reality the opposite is true: A woman’s wedding ring has the potential to attract more suitors than she’s ever had before.
So maybe the data accumulated by GlobalWebIndex will lead to more in-depth research that shatters any delusions we’re collectively harboring about the sanctity of being in a relationship. Maybe having a girlfriend/wife isn’t as much of an endgame as it is a stepping stone into a larger, more exclusive dating pool that’s available to you (or your partner) should you decide to take advantage of it (not that I’m endorsing infidelity).
Maybe some people — perhaps a larger segment of the population than we’d like to believe — don’t think being in a relationship should preclude them from evaluating their other options, including 42 percent of people on Tinder.
Some other notable stats yielded by researchers:
About Jordan Murray Jordan is a journalist who has written extensively about dating and lifestyle for multiple publications.