Why Dating Apps Are a Modern-Day Casino: The Psychology of Swiping Right

Rishon Patani
3 min readFeb 21, 2023


Dating apps offer a whirlwind of experiences, from the euphoria of a successful match to the crushing disappointment of getting ghosted or receiving no matches at all. It’s a world of extreme emotions, with hope and despair, lust and loneliness constantly vying for attention. The fast-paced nature of dating apps makes them a hub of modern-day adrenaline rush, leaving users chasing the next high and cheap dopamine while navigating the rollercoaster of online dating.

As someone who has heard a multitude of dating app experiences from people around me, I’ve noticed that many of the same concepts apply to both men and women.

For instance, men on dating apps are often governed by the 80/20 rule, where 20% of the men get almost 80% of the available matches. The 20% who succeed have one thing in common: they follow the two rules of dating —
1. be attractive
2. never forget rule number 1.

While it’s common to assume that women have it easy on dating apps, with a high percentage of right swipes resulting in matches, a seemingly endless pool of options, and a constant stream of validation, the reality is often more complicated than that.

An above-average woman’s profile will likely be able to meet most men of her preference. The reality is that it’s a great way to meet people, date casually, or even hook up. But if you’re looking for something more meaningful, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.

So why doesn’t it work for men or women, and why do they keep coming back to these apps?

Let’s consider two things: the 80/20 rule and the law of supply and demand.

Studies have shown that both men and women use dating apps, but they may approach swiping differently. Men tend to swipe right more frequently, while women are typically more selective about the men they’d date. Therefore, for the sake of argument, we can give a holistic score out of 10 for both men and women based on various factors, such as looks, personality, humor, values, and wit, each with its own weightage.

Now, imagine a high holistic score man (a 9/10) and a below average holistic score man (4/10), swiping on an average holistic score woman (6/10).
Who do you think she’s more likely to go on a date with? The 9/10 man, perhaps?

But is she really a perfect match for the 9/10 guy or even the 4/10 one? Ideally, a 9/10 man should match with a 9/10 woman. However, what often happens is that the woman ends up talking to both of them, lapsing into validations — genuine and faux — while getting matched with multiple men.

This lack of compatibility eventually leads to disappointment for both parties. The 9/10 man seeks to find someone of his own caliber, while the 6/10 woman ends up under the false pretence of being the perfect match with a higher score man.

In contrast, a 6/10 woman ends up chasing the validation of being able to match with a 9/10 guy, which sets her up for disappointment.

Navigating the world of dating apps can be challenging. The balance between supply and demand, combined with the intricate psychology of app usage, can make finding the perfect match feel like a game of chance. In many ways, it’s like walking into a casino, where the odds are often not in your favor.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a long-term partner through a dating app. Luck plays a significant role, and those who are fortunate enough to find someone whose thoughts and intentions align with theirs are the ones who ultimately succeed.

In conclusion, dating apps can be a great way to meet people and have fun, but they’re not always the most effective means of finding a long-term partner. The key is to manage your expectations.