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“The process of dating inherently sucks,” says Holly Wood, a Ph D candidate at Harvard University who’s doing her dissertation on modern dating.

“I literally am trying to call my dissertation ‘Why Dating Sucks,’ because I want to explain that.

“But on the other hand, Tinder just doesn’t feel efficient.

I’m pretty frustrated and annoyed with it because it feels like you have to put in a lot of swiping to get like one good date.”I have a theory that this exhaustion is making dating apps worse at performing their function.

Maybe everyone who’s on Tinder now are like the last people at the party trying to go home with someone.”Now that the shine of novelty has worn off these apps, they aren’t fun or exciting anymore. There’s a sense that if you’re single, and you don’t want to be, you need to something to change that.

Swiping “yes” on someone didn’t inspire the same excited queasiness that asking someone out in person does, but there was a fraction of that feeling when a match or a message popped up.“So it’s almost like the only recourse other than just sort of sitting around waiting for luck to strike is dating apps.”But then, if you get tired of the apps, or have a bad experience on them, it creates this ambivalence—should you stop doing this thing that makes you unhappy or keep trying in the hopes it might yield something someday?This tension may lead to people walking a middle path—lingering on the apps while not actively using them much.“I kinda use it now just for entertainment when I’m bored or standing in lines. I noticed a huge shift in my intentions.”Lawal remembers the exact moment it switched for him.At the end of 2014, he took a road trip with his friend from Birmingham, Alabama to St. “On the way down there, I spent a lot of time on Tinder,” he says.

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