Looking for ‘the one’? Here’s why it really is getting harder to find

Dating apps are making it more difficult to find ‘the one’ (Picture: Getty)

You’re not overthinking it – it really is more difficult for people to find ‘the one’ these days, researchers have revealed. 

And social media, as well as dating apps, are to blame. 

Researchers from India have found that most young adults are suffering from confusion about their options when it comes to dating decisions, as people have many more potential partners to choose from than ever before.

As more and more dating apps appear, and photos can be more easily manipulated, the reality of the available pool of dating candidates can be distorted. 

However, users are also becoming more exposed to more attractive and wealthy people than ever before on social media, making them less likely to ‘stick it out’ in a relationship, researchers said. 

Chayan Munshi, executive director of the Ethophilia Research Foundation in India said: ‘Human mate selection is a complicated psychological process, which is effectively influenced by multiple societal factors including appearance, personality and financial situation.

Researchers reveal that people now have many more potential mates than ever before (Picture: Getty)

‘More recently, this has become significantly influenced by social media, where constant exposure to sexually stimulating or attractive content creates certain perceptions of reality in the young mindset, which ultimately creates confusion in terms of selecting potential mating partners.’

The foundation is investigating how the digitalisation of society is regulating human behaviour, and will present its findings at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Prague this week.

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The preliminary results of the ongoing project come from a survey of young adults in India, with most respondents aged between 18 and 30. 

The survey included questions related to romantic partner selection, such as ‘Do you feel confused when selecting a life-partner?’, ‘What are your criteria for selecting a life-partner?’, ‘Do you still look for other partners if you are already in a stable relationship?’ and ‘Do you like to switch to a “better option” when selecting a life-partner?’.

Social media can cause confusion when it comes to dating (Picture: SWNS)

The initial results show that the perception of potential mate availability may be ‘skewing’ how people judge their life-partner options, even while in existing relationships. 

‘For instance, impulsiveness is significantly exhibited, and there is a decrease in in-person social interactions,’ Mr Munshi said. 

‘This is exposing confusion while people search for a partner and can manifest complexities in maintaining a relationship.’

The researchers said that ongoing studies will help to build a better understanding of how mate selection is evolving in humans. They revealed that women said they experienced more confusion when looking for a partner than men.

But overall, people’s confusion over who was actually available to date threw off their ability to judge a potential partner.

Researchers said social media has left us confused (Picture: Getty)

‘Our hypothesis strongly indicates that the “pleasure index” or “adrenaline rush” of relationships is taking more prime importance in the younger generation over long-term stability,’ Mr Munshi said. 

‘It is alarming that impulsiveness or confusion can lead to instability in the human relation-maintaining behaviour, which is actually affecting the normal social behaviour in humans.’

He added that the pattern has become notable enough to suggest it could change the social norms of how people pick a long-term partner.

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