Technology has had an affect on relationships and college dating, from Tinder increasing access to one-night stands to texting allowing couples to stay in touch long-distance.
If sophomore Kayla Blanton hadn’t met her current boyfriend of three and a half years back in high school, she said she’d have no clue what she would do in regards to dating.
“From my experience with guys on campus, no one has proven to me that they can be a gentleman and ask someone out on a date,” said Blanton, who is studying journalism. “Most people (in college) are just interested in sexual attraction, and the sad thing is, it’s not a secret.”
Conventional dating doesn’t seem to be a thing of the past – Blanton being a prime example – but technology is making it even easier for those more interested in hooking up than a relationship to connect.
Luke Abner, a sophomore studying screenwriting, has been using Tinder, a dating app, for over a year now.
“I think Tinder is definitely for hooking up,” Abner said. “Drinking while Tinder-ing is the best way to go. You don’t really care what you say at that point.”
Abner stopped using the app seriously about a month ago, now using it to jokingly send messages to potential matches. Prior to that, however, Abner would log into his account on a friend’s iPhone for up to 30 minutes every day to get phone numbers of matches and later meet up with them on a night out.
Some users, however, don’t look at Tinder that way. Abner adds that last year, when his roommate left the room after hooking up with a Tinder match, the girl was taken aback that all he had wanted from her was a one-night stand.
“She was like, ‘why do all guys do this, they’re such assholes,’” Abner said. “Obviously my roommate didn’t want a real relationship type thing, and I guess that’s what she thought was going to happen.”
Sarah Jenkins, program coordinator for the Women’s and LGBT Centers, said there’s a difference between how society expects men and women to approach dating. This can lead to disconnect when it comes to forming relationships, she added.
“In our society, women are allowed to be more connected to our emotions while men are encouraged to separate themselves from their emotions,” Jenkins said. “That makes it really hard to get a relationship going between a man and a woman when you’re struggling with those very different expectations on you.”
Kayla Meader, a sophomore studying graphic design, said she thinks that people in general are less willing to meet potential partners in real life.
“I honestly haven’t had a date on campus since I got here last year,” said Meader, who was in a long-term relationship in high school. “When you have Tinder at your fingertips, you’re less likely to go meet people in the real world when you have the option to sit there on your phone without having to put pants on and leave the room.”
For LGBT folks, however, finding a safe place to look for something more than a hook-up can be a struggle. According to Delfin Bautista, director of the LGBT center, online apps and websites such as Tinder, which allow people to specify what they are looking for in their settings, can be a safe space for LGBT folks. But apps like OKCupid still don’t have options for LGBT individuals.
“People are online more than they are in person and because of the lack of social spaces here for LGBT folks, the apps take on a whole new life of their own,” Bautista said.
Increased used of technology can be helpful for college students that are in long-distance relationships.
“My boyfriend likes to text all day, but if I’m busy I’ll text him and be like ‘hey I’m studying I can’t talk right now.’ He gets it,”said Becca Mann, a sophomore studying exercise physiology, who has been dating her boyfriend who goes to OSU for two and a half years.
For couples that go to the same college, however, the use of technology can cause pressure to constantly stay connected, said Jessica Scott, a freshman studying psychology, who has been dating her boyfriend since her sophomore year of high school.
“We are able to see each other more, but we can also see each other too much,” Scott said. “It is nice that we know what it’s like to get annoyed with each other and still love each other. It’ll definitely make a transition like living together a lot easier than it is for couples who aren’t used to that.”