THE BLOG

Are Apps Like Clover a Cure for the 'Dating Apocalypse'?

08/20/2015 04:08 EDT | Updated 08/20/2016 05:59 EDT

I've gotten a lot of feedback for my recent post about the addictive quality of Tinder and today's hook-up culture. I wrote it in response to Nancy Jo Sales' article in the September 2015 edition of Vanity Fair.

I wanted to follow up with some ideas about what it is that drives young people to use apps like Tinder and how we might be pulled back from the brink of the "dating apocalypse."

As an author of a book for men (Women Decoded) and a relationship expert, it's important to offer not just analysis of the situation but also possible solutions.

Twenty-somethings, and young people in general, are drawn to adventure, excitement and instant, intense experiences. That's why it's so tempting to use apps like Tinder, as they offer quick thrills and instant gratification.

Young people are also more prone to addiction, as they're drawn to the "highs" that come with risk-taking behaviour.

Apps like Tinder put so many attractive, available people at our fingertips that they make it easy for young people to develop a habit of constantly checking photos and swiping right or left.

Smokers need their cigarettes, first thing in the morning and last thing before bed, and Tinder users can become just as compulsive, wasting time that could be spent on more productive things.

Dating is supposed to teach us how to interact with potential mates. The ups and downs, the conversations and courtship, the compromises and challenges we face, these are what make us skilled at connecting with one-another and capable of forming meaningful, lasting bonds.

Hookup culture deprives us of the opportunity to learn from our dating experiences, because our interactions are so shallow and short-lived. Often, people don't even meet -- they choose to engage in "sexting" rather than expend the energy to connect, face to face.

The quick and easy hookup culture is leading us to a dating apocalypse because we're not learning the skills that will enable us to have real, intimate relationships in the future.

Real relationships take work, and apps like Tinder discourage people from working at creating close, loving relationships. Sadly, the results of putting in minimal effort are empty, unsatisfying interactions that leave us wanting more.

So, what's the answer? What could pull us back from the brink of this catastrophe? The answer isn't going offline. Online dating and apps like Tinder are the new reality.

The answer, I think, is to use the technology more wisely. We need to make a point of getting to know one another -- we can let go of our quick and easy hook-up mentality and choose the subtle arts of conversation and courtship.

New apps like Clover -- a Toronto-based company -- seem promising, as they focus on getting people offline as soon as possible, creating meetings in real life.

We can use online dating sites in a better way, focusing on getting to know the other person over time, and seeing if there's the possibility of a real connection.

If we turn away from the instant gratification, hookup mentality of apps like Tinder and work at gradually building real relationships, we're likely to be a lot happier, more connected to one-another and more fulfilled in our relationships.

Click here to participate in our online survey. We want to learn your views on happiness, relationships and creating good habits. If you give us your email at the end of the survey, you'll receive a free ebook!