Wednesday, November 30 2022

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Dating today can be a lot like ordering at Chipotle. The world of dating apps makes it easier than ever to custom order a partner of your choice – their height, their food preferences, their religion.

A new generation of dating apps aims to target the pickiest consumers – narrowing the menu by prioritizing a “main ingredient”. Want to date someone who is Mormon? There is an application for that. Want to date someone who is queer? Or gluten-free? Or more than 50? There is also a site for that.

“What you’re seeing now is that the market is becoming more and more segmented as it goes mainstream,” said Eric Eichmann, CEO of Spark Networks, a dating umbrella company. “In our portfolio brand, you have Silver Singles for people looking for love later in life, we have Christian Mingle, we have Jdate, we also have JSwipe (both Jewish apps). is about people who are looking for other people who have the same criteria as their first criteria.

This month, as Tinder celebrates its 10th anniversary, two new niche dating sites are hitting the market, joining countless other apps promising that shared beliefs and values ​​are the key to lasting relationships. While skeptics cringe at some brands’ whimsical or, in extreme cases, offensive advertising, some specialty apps have proven themselves. Sites like Muzz, for Muslim singles, have over 7 million users.

Yet some app users say even the most selective dating site can still lead to burnout, “creepers” and catfishing.

Even before its official launch, the new Dominion Dating site caused controversy. Its target audience is single Christians who believe that husbands should rule over their wives, wives should be housewives, and Christians should have children to exert their “dominion over the world”, according to the website. . Its membership application asks users to refrain from “dressing sensually or immodestly” and submitting an endorsement from “the man to whom you are subject to become a disciple”, which has greatly solicited the many critics of the company. ‘application.

Another ultra-conservative app, The Right Stuff, is also set to debut this month. Co-founded by former Trump administration chief of staff John McEntee, the app is advertised as a “dating app for the right” and a substitute for “woke” apps. Although The Right Stuff is more political than religious, McEntee told Religion News Service that he expects most users to be Christians. He added that the idea of ​​the invite-only application stemmed from frustrations with existing options.

“Some of the current apps, it’s not just that users are being mean to conservatives. It’s that they make you accept things from the left, and it’s really in your face,” he said. “We’re just saying, ‘Why don’t we just create our own place where we at least know a giant filter is for us?'”

The site is backed by billionaire Peter Thiel, who is in a same-sex marriage, but it does not offer dating services for LGBTQ users.

Some of today’s most popular dating apps, including Hinge, allow users to filter by religion or political identity, but others, like Bumble, require a premium subscription to do so. .

According to John Angelis, 42, a college professor and app user who lives in Virginia, users often try to circumvent the cost of additional filters on consumer apps by announcing their political preferences.

“Some people are now putting on their profiles ‘Don’t swipe right or left if you’re Republican or Democrat,’ whatever it is,” Mr Angelis said. “I think politics is the #1 thing I see mentioned in a profile. Compared to 10 or 15 years ago, I see much less religious preference expressed.

For Mr. Angelis, who occasionally uses Bumble and a site called Christian Café, it’s faith that’s non-negotiable when it comes to relationships. In his experience, Christian dating sites lead to higher quality dates, even if the pool is smaller.

“(Christian Café) asks you a lot more questions about how actively you participate in your faith, and you need to create a profile that is more about how you became a Christian, how active are you in the faith, how often do you go to church.

Michael Langlais, a Florida State University professor who studies technology and relationships, noted that many contemporary dating apps cater to

to surface-level connections based on profile pictures or witty slogans. He suspects religious apps are likely more effective for those seeking marriages, rather than casual dates.

“These religious apps are kind of like, let’s skip the superficial side of things and go straight to the values,” Mr. Langlais said. “And that can be a very powerful predictor of relationships, if you know each other and that other individual shares values.”

Many well-established dating apps and sites set themselves apart from stereotypical hookup apps like Tinder by promoting themselves as tools for finding lifelong partners. Mr. Eichmann of Spark Networks spoke to RNS about Jdate, a 20-year-old Jewish dating site that Eichmann said is ubiquitous in Jewish circles.

“When people think of Jdate, they realize it’s about finding a soul mate,” Mr. Eichmann said.

Moreover, according to Mr. Langlais, research shows that today the quality of relationships formed online is similar to those formed in person, which he notes is a shift from what the research showed just 10 to 12 years ago. “My own research shows that people who meet on dating apps have as much satisfaction and engagement as those who meet in person,” he said.

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