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“Dating apps have added to the pressure of finding someone,” says 24-year-old account manager Adam George.“It feels like there’s no excuse – it’s all there.” George has been single for 18 months, but feels drawn to dating apps despite the joy single life has brought him.In this ecosystem, do dating apps really want us to find love?The possibilities for finding your perfect match certainly seem endless.“I feel like I do have some weird sense of obligation to meet someone,” he says.“Even though this is the longest I’ve ever been single and it’s probably the happiest I’ve ever been.” Tiffany, a 22-year-old who works for a travel startup, agrees that dating apps make it more difficult to be content in single life.
It was a window onto a society where, despite the growing number of single people, just being single can be seen as a symptom of discontent.
“It’s funny,” she says, “because being single is your natural state but being in a relationship is an add-on to you, so it’s quite odd that the reverse is considered more unusual.” While dating apps enable us to bypass the serendipity of “true love” and instead to actively seek the perfect relationship, what keeps many of us engaged, once drawn in, is a phenomenon that breeds inefficiency in the search.
The psychologist Michael Zeiler found in 1971 that pigeons peck at a button nearly twice as much when it produces food pellets at an unpredictable frequency than when the rewards are foreseeable.
It is true that many very unhappy people are single: more than 41 per cent of UK adults who report the lowest levels of well-being.
, in which he describes love and marriage as “narrative traps”.