Let’s get one thing straight: our marital status is a personal decision. It doesn’t matter if you prefer romantic relationships, platonic relationships, or simply being single. How and when we decide whether or not to get involved with someone involves much more than opening a profile on a dating app like Bumble.

However, seeing the app’s billboards with slogans like “You know full well a vow of celibacy is not the answer” makes us think, “Who asked you?” The platform’s campaign includes tasteless jokes like a woman transforming into a nun to “swear off dating.”

Loading the player...

In addition to the bad taste that Bumble’s rebranding attempts have left in our mouths, they confirm why so many of us quit dating apps.

Bumble, Tinder, and capitalizing on the desire for connection

If the COVID-19 pandemic showed us anything, it was that the need for human contact is more imperative than we thought. While some of us are comfortable being alone in our little indoor gardens, a surprising majority of people crave contact with other human beings.

A 2022 survey by the Pew Research Center found that most singles find dating more difficult than before the pandemic. Today, while interest in finding a romantic partner remains, data show that many people struggle with the repercussions of online dating on their mental health. Some marry much later than previous generations.

Thus, a OnePoll/Forbes Health survey conducted in August 2023 polled 5,000 people in the U.S. who had actively dated in the past five years. The survey looked at how people date, how they prefer to date, online dating, and app-based dating.

The researchers found that nearly 70% of people who met someone through a dating app said it led to an exclusive, romantic relationship, while 28% did not.

Similarly, people between the ages of 43 and 58 were the most successful with online dating: 72% said that meeting someone through a dating app led to a romantic relationship.

Finally, men were more likely to have met someone on a dating app and had it lead to an exclusive relationship (75%), compared to 66% of women.

Meanwhile, Bumble’s valuation peaked in 2021, hitting a $13 billion market cap. The same year, Morgan Stanley valued Tinder’s worth at $42 billion. Get the math?

When dating apps take for granted the intelligence and actual needs of users

While it’s true that we all have friends who have met and fallen in love on a dating app, capitalizing on the desire for connection has overlooked the intricacies of personal relationships.

Some need friendly companionship, someone to talk to or share passions with. Much to the chagrin of multi-million dollar apps, it’s not all about sex.

In fact, creating interpersonal connections is so difficult these days that many of us choose to make peace with our inner demons and embrace the warm and comfortable company of ourselves. After all, being alone and being lonely are two entirely different things.

According to various national studies, the rate of men who have chosen celibacy in the United States increased from 10% to 17%. Similarly, men reporting intercourse weekly or more dropped from 60% to 47%. Among women, celibacy also increased, but less. Women aged 18 to 24 reported an increase from 16 to 20%, and women 25 to 34 from 6 to 10%. In women 35 to 44, partner sex frequency remained about the same.

One of the most interesting findings of these studies is that the Internet and social media are among the main reasons for the increase in celibacy.

Simply put, Bumble has shot itself in the foot. Not only has it offended millions of people for whom celibacy is not a negative issue, but hundreds of thousands of others, such as the asexual community and survivors of domestic abuse, for whom being alone is not a condemnation but a liberating decision.

In the end, the desperation of these multi-billion dollar companies seems to be that we have realized they are not the solution, at least not for millions of us.