We all know that online dating can be a slow and difficult process.
In an attempt to make a challenging experience a little easier, the Gay Therapy Center conducted a survey to get a picture of what is happening behind the scenes of all those mysterious people you have been “liking” and texting with on the dating and hook-up apps.
Sometimes just knowing the facts can reduce our frustration.
It’s fun to complain about dating. Commiserating with friends is a great way to get social support. However, it’s also important to take responsibility for what we are doing that doesn’t work.
One takeaway from the survey is the importance of written communication in online dating. Yes, quality photos mean a lot, but your written profile and the care in which you approach texting are significant factors. You’ll find details about this in the results we’ve provided below.
We’ve summarized the data by what we think is most likely help you rethink incorrect assumptions you may have about online dating.
Who Is In This Survey?
This survey represents the responses of the 225 Gay Therapy Center newsletter subscribers who participated in our questionnaire. Over 88% are cisgender gay men and 60% are in the 36 -59 age range.
Here are some dating myths we often hear from our clients and what our data shows about those beliefs:
Myth 1: People just look at the photos and don’t read profiles.
91% of the people in our survey look at the photo and written profile and then decide whether to “like” someone. So it is worth your time to do the challenging work of editing your profile.
91% was the highest level of agreement we received on any of our survey questions.
Myth 2: People on the apps just want sex. No one wants a relationship.
43% report that their primary reason for being on the app to find a relationship partner.
30% report that their primary reason for being on the app is to find a sexual partner.
Myth 3: How you text on the apps doesn’t make that much difference.
Here are the top 3 reasons people stop texting:
- I get a negative vibe from them in their texts. (28%)
- Based on the texts, we don’t seem to have much in common. (22%)
- They are too focused on chatting and don’t seem interested in meeting. (20%)
Myth 4: No one notices that my online behavior is “avoidant.”
Here are the top two things that bother people the most when texting on an app:
- Evasive answers to my questions (26%)
- Slow responses to my last text (20%)
Myth 5: Most people enjoy sharing “likes” for the attention but aren’t interested in meeting.
Here are the top 3 reasons people “like” you but then don’t engage in texting:
- I get distracted with life and work. (33%)
- I changed my mind about my interest in them. (27%)
- I get anxious about chatting or meeting someone. (20%)
There’s not much you can do about someone else’s reactions but it is helpful just to know that there are a range of reasons why some people never respond to you.
Myth 6: People want lots of back-and-forth texting before meeting.
28% will text 10 times before asking for an in-person meeting.
28% will text 5 times before asking for an in-person meeting.
Myth 7: Gay men on the apps can’t commit to longer-term commitment.
41% have dated someone they met on an app for over a year.
Myth 8: Gay men no longer use condoms for anal sex now that PReP is available.
37% always use condoms.
23% mostly use condoms.
35% don’t use condoms.
What are the 6 most popular LGBTQ apps?
- 65% use Grindr.
- 39% use Scruff.
- 28% use Tinder.
- 19% use Adam4Adam.
- 17% use Hinge.
- 12% use OK Cupid.
Bad Behavior on the Apps
Many of the stereotypes about rude behavior on the apps are valid. Sixty-five percent of our responders have been stood up for a scheduled date with someone on an app.
While there’s no good excuse for treating people poorly, 20% of respondents report that they get anxious about online chatting or about meeting someone. It may be that anxiety is driving some of the most irritating behaviors.
Dating can involve facing one of our biggest fears: rejection. It also includes the often-conflicting mind states of determination with taking breaks; vulnerability with boundaries; optimism with safety-consciousness; and a spirit of fun. That’s a lot to manage and balance.
Dating gets easier when we grow our self-compassion, build our resiliency, and get support from friends, family, podcasts, and/or a therapist. Sometimes it can take a village to become a successful dater.