Are Kiwi Women Falling Out of Love With Dating Apps? From App Burnout to Mental Load, Big Changes Are Afoot in the Digital Dating World

Today, Bumble 2.0 launches – a huge shakeup for the app that traditionally empowered women to make the first move. It’s a response to the fact that a WHOPPING 70% of women are experiencing burnout with dating apps so, what do you need to know? We chat to Bumble themselves to get the tea.

Ah, it’s 2014 and the dating app world has just exploded. Two years after the OG, Tinder, launched, Bumble came along and changed the way women interacted with apps. Now it was up to us to make the first move, to be more in control of our dating destinies and make it easier to gather up the courage to put ourselves out there.

Remember when it was embarrassing to admit you met your partner on a dating app? Jeeeesus, times have changed, and mostly for the better. But while we’ve moved on from the shiny new novelty era of dating apps and meeting someone via your phone is actually now MORE normal than meeting your One True Love (or One Night True Love) in a bar, it’s been clear for a little while that some of them are no longer meeting the need they were designed for in the first place.

Says Bumble APAC Communications Director and all around-legend Lucille McCart, a new direction is now needed to meet 2024’s new approach to dating. “In the beginning dating apps totally revolutionised the dating landscape, it was a fresh and new way for people to meet and interact. As we move into a new era of dating our research has told us that women feel like dating is more work for them than it is for men. They are exhausted. These changes are part of the next evolution of Bumble – when Bumble first came on the scene it set in motion a cultural reset that was much needed, but now we are looking forward to the future iteration of what women want.”

The fact that 61% of us think that dating is more work for women than men is, frankly, unsurprising, and Lucille agrees – “It’s safe to assume that women are more emotionally invested in the process. We know that women spend more time assessing profiles for compatibility and are more selective and intentional in how they swipe.”

Bumble themselves have agreed that yup, times, they are a-changing, and today have announced sweeping changes for the app – they are introducing ‘Opening Moves’, a significant expansion of its signature ‘Make the First Move’ mantra, offering more choice on how a connection is made. This new feature gives women the option to set a question that their matches can respond to, creating a new avenue in how the chat starts. This has come from research that shows that nearly half of women (46%) surveyed on Bumble shared that having more ways to start a conversation would make their dating app experience better (I think we can all agree that the ‘how’s it going?’, the single hand wave emoji and the cheesy pickup lines of 2016 can stay firmly, well, in 2016).

They’re also trying to make dating more intentional by introducing a wider selection of dating intentions badges. New dating intention badges will include from looking for ‘fun, casual dates’ and ‘intimacy without commitment’ to ‘a life partner’ and ‘ethical non-monogamy’. More than two in three (68%) women surveyed stated that they struggle with people not being upfront about their dating intentions and more than three quarters (77%) said knowing someone’s dating intentions is one of the most important things when online dating.

The new Bumble (they’re literally calling it that, so you know these changes are MAJOR) will also make changes to its compatibility algorithm, including increasing shared commonalities at the top of profiles so you can better identify shared interests with a potential match. 

Says Lucille, “A lot has changed since Bumble launched a decade ago. Relationships, sex, technology, dating norms, expectations – even womanhood has evolved. Today, almost 400 million people use dating apps, and globally more than one in eight (16%) of people between 25-34 met their partner on an app. There are so many success stories that have come from the last ten years at Bumble, but at the same time we know that 70% of people are currently experiencing dating app burnout.

“Now women can opt to make the first move by either initiating the chat or by selecting an Opening Move which prompts people to respond to a question that can only be seen following a match. Women can use one of Bumble’s recommended Opening Moves, or craft their own which will give them a more personally designed experience – making the conversation as unique and meaningful as they want it. 

“I’m also excited to see the introduction of new dating intentions. By covering a wider spectrum of intentions, and by allowing people to select up to two intentions for their profile, Bumble is giving its community more transparency and flexibility in the way they date. This again is backed by our community insights – 77% of women surveyed globally on Bumble said knowing someone’s dating intentions is one of the most important things when online dating.”

And what happens if you’re already suffering from dating app burnout? A mindset shift might just be the trick.

“One of the top complaints about dating is that it is ‘not working’, or that people don’t feel like they are finding success,” tells Lucille. “This is really tricky, especially when you are dating with the goal of finding a relationship – it is hard to view anything but finding a partner as a win. A helpful mindset shift can be to refocus on what you are getting out of each experience and thinking about the ‘micro success’ moments – a funny, engaging conversation, a great date, a new friend, are all wins even if they don’t progress into something serious. If you enjoyed yourself, had a good time and connected with another human being, that is fantastic.

“I also like to talk about mindfulness and intention setting when it comes to dating. Setting intentions, visualisations, manifesting are all zeitgeist-y topics right now, but don’t often get applied to dating in the way that I think they could. If you feel like you are in a funk with dating or have had a bad run, I would really encourage you to spend some time getting clear with yourself on what your dating intentions are and what you want to get out of the experience. Once you have this clarity you can adjust from there. If you are only dating to have fun and meet new people, update your Bumble profile to be a bit more fun and flirty and be super open-minded about who you match with and the type of dates that you go on.

“If your intention is to find something more serious, then don’t be afraid to say so on your Bumble profile. Make sure that when you are swiping, you’re connecting with people who are also looking for a relationship – otherwise you might find yourself on dates with people you’re attracted to but not compatible with, which can compound any feelings you have of frustration or exhaustion.

“Now, more than ever, we need to advocate for women, so we’re considering this reset to be Bumble’s vow renewal – to build the next chapter of dating that continues to put women first.”

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