SWIPE LEFT: Why country singles are on struggle street
IT SEEMS like the days of love at first sight being discovered across a mood-lit bar may soon be a thing of the past, as Relationships Australia has revealed 4.5 million Aussies are turning to online dating methods to meet potential matches.
As popular dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble skyrocket in popularity, modern-day dating has quickly become more about “love at first swipe” as more and more users focus on building the perfect profile rather than the actual dating itself.
And this trend isn’t exclusive to Millennials.
More Generation X and Baby Boomers are signing up to swipe to their heart’s delight every year.
But a number of regional and remote Queensland singles say they are finding the process largely disheartening and frustrating.
News Corp spoke to a Kingaroy Tinder app user in his mid-30s named Geoff* to discuss how the swiping game has changed the way he dates, and his advice for other prospective 30, 40 and 50-somethings looking to jump into the dating app pool.
Geoff said he’d been using Tinder on and off for a handful of years, with mixed results.
“I have tried a few other apps,” he said.
“But the problem with dating in a (relatively small) regional area is all the same people are on the different apps.
“There are so many apps now — I keep an active profile on a few of them to increase my exposure in case someone new decides to use one of them that is suitable.”
Geoff, who is based in Kingaroy, admitted looking for love in your 30s could be restrictive.
“The amount of single people that would tick some of (my) boxes is limited,” he said.
“I was more career and finance focused in my early years of being an adult and as a part of that journey, putting some opportunities on hold has reduced the amount of potential romantic partners or love interests by living in a regional area in your mid-30s.”
Geoff said he if he wasn’t attracted to the other person’s photos right away, then it was a no from him.
“I rarely read the profile, I am initially looking for someone that looks sharp, attractive and intelligent,” he said.
“It’s nothing personal but I lose interest in single mothers with lots of children.
“This is just not me and the (South Burnett) area seems to have an oversupply with them on dating apps.”
Geoff was quick to name a few of his less-than-favourable dating experiences as a result of the app.
“To be honest, Tinder has been a bit hit and miss for me at times. I could probably mention a few bad experiences …” he said.
“I met a woman at a bar only to find out she lied on her profile.
“After a few drinks I had two other women cut in on the date as I think they came across my profile on Tinder.
“One of the other women tried to pick me up as I had more in common with her than my date and things got really messy and my date got really aggressive.
“I have not contacted any of these women since.
“I also met a teacher for a coffee once and she came across a little boring and spoke down to me as if I was a child in her classroom.
“She also looked totally different to her profile photos … After the date a few days later, I sent her a message saying I was not interested and she could not understand why.
“Believe it or not, this has actually happened more than once with teachers.”
Geoff said it wasn’t uncommon to be “catfished” by dates, and has had several experiences where people have looked completely different to their online profile photos.
“The online aspect makes it hard to determine what someone is like until you meet them,” he said.
“I messaged a woman online for a while and we seemed to have a lot in common, and after talking to her on the phone it sounded like a great idea to go on a date.
“But after meeting up it was obvious we had absolutely nothing in common. We were two totally different people and the date did not go well at all.”
Geoff strongly recommended people who were thinking about joining the online dating community to try to remain as true to themselves as possible.
“You’re only wasting each other’s time trying to look or act different than reality,” he said.
“Just be yourself and use photos taken in the last few years so you’re not misleading anyone.”
Despite some unfortunate setbacks over the years, Geoff said he wasn’t giving up on small town dating just yet.
“The biggest thing I’m looking for is compatibility and companionship,” he said.
“To be honest, Tinder and other dating apps are a great way of meeting people outside of your usual circle and as it seems like a numbers game — who knows you may just find your perfect partner.”
Fifty-three per cent of Australians claim to know at least one couple who met thanks to online dating, so statistically speaking, your future Mr or Mrs Perfect could just be a swipe away.
Have you had a particularly interesting experience with online dating?
Email your story at email@example.com today.
*To protect our source’s identity, News Corp has chosen not to reveal Geoff’s real name.