- People are trying “slow dating,” a concept that limits the amount of time you spend on dating apps and the number of people you engage with.
- The creators of French dating app Once take credit for coining the term, since the app only allows one match per day.
- Relationship experts recommend slow dating because it forces people to date more mindfully and focus on the quality of the relationships available.
Online dating is alive and well – according to Mark Kelley, an analyst with Nomura Instinet, an estimated 310 million people are projected to use dating products by 2020. But a different, less time-consuming method of dating dubbed “slow dating” is getting attention now too, and for good reason.
Slow dating is a pretty straightforward concept in which you use your dating apps with a purpose, rather than mindlessly swiping or filling your week with dates. Though the term may be new to some, the concept of slow dating has been around forever,Sameera Sullivan, the founder of matchmaking service Lasting Connections, tells INSIDER.
“We used to use this [slow dating] method all of the time back in the day but now, there are so many options and you can make dating like a job interview to find the perfect partner,” Sullivan explained.
While it’s nothing new, the term “slow dating” was recently coined by the creators of Once, a French dating app that is now available in the United States. Once, as its name suggests, only lets its users match with one potential suitor per day, rather than the infinite number of matches allowed on other dating apps.
According to Cosmopolitan, Once CEO Jean Meyer wants the app’s users to not only find more quality matches, but also to decrease the amount of time they spend unconsciously swiping, scrolling, and tapping away on their phones.
“Maybe you’re not going to talk to that person, but at least you’re going to put the app away, and you may even put your phone away and do something else with your day,” he explains to Cosmopolitan. “You can put 100 per cent into another task that’s not swiping on ten-thousand profiles.” Other apps like The League and Hinge have similar concepts: limit user matches to create a more mindful approach to dating.
Going on fewer dates can help you find love sooner
Sceptics may argue that fewer dates means fewer chances of finding a romantic partner, but Sullivan said that supposition typically stems from a fear of being alone.
“It’s important to ask yourself, ‘Am I doing it to see how many people are out there? Am I doing it for my self worth,'” she said. Sullivan also noted some people get addicted to the sense of power and control they get from rejecting or accepting potential matches. If you constantly find yourself judging prospective dates on their profile pictures rather than the conversations you have, or you jam-pack your calendar with Tinder dates, it could be a sign you need to take a step back.
Rachel Sussman, a New York City-based psychotherapist and relationship expert, explained that the brain can become overwhelmed if you take on too many dates at once. “Limiting your dates or matches makes it easier to pay attention, focus, and look for positive signs or red flags,” Sussman told INSIDER. She recommends sticking to just two dates per week, otherwise you may confuse feelings about some dates with others.
To start slow dating, implement simple ground rules
It’s easy to take on slow dating by implementing a few ground rules with the apps and dating products you already use. First, focus on the written content of a potential match’s profile, rather than their profile picture.
“There’s a lot more to these people than swiping,” Sullivan told INSIDER. “If what they write is more interesting to you than the picture, still talk to them.”
Next, limit the amount of time you spend using dating apps. Sussman recommends making Tinder a weekend-only activity or dedicating just one day out of the week to swiping. “I even tell my clients to set an alarm so they only have a set amount of time to use their dating apps,” she said. Once the alarm sounds, it’s time to focus on something else.
Lastly, limit the number of matches you actually talk to in the apps, as well as the number of dates you go on. For example, if you are having quality conversations with three matches, choose the one you like the most for a date, said Sullivan. To determine your best match, make sure you’re asking the right questions before your first meeting: anything relating to a person’s family, college, jobs, likes and dislikes, religion, and philosophies in life are good options. “Relationships are more likely to succeed the more two people have in common with each other,” Sussman said, and these types of topics can help you get to the bottom of that connection potential.
And remember, slow dating doesn’t have to exclusively happen on the internet. “Obviously it’s challenging to date without apps,”Sussman said. “But I hope won’t people give up on matching their friends and meeting organically.”