Why are you cheating on Tinder? New research by Elisabeth Timmermans and colleagues examines partnered users’ motives and (dark) personality traits

Roy Borghouts

In collaboration with Dr. Elien de Caluwé (Tilburg University) and Dr. Cassandra Alexopoulos (University of Massachusetts Boston), Dr. Elisabeth Timmermans investigated why people in a committed relationship use Tinder and whether their personality differs from single Tinder users and non-single people who never used a dating app.

In collaboration with Dr. Elien de Caluwé (Tilburg University) and Dr. Cassandra Alexopoulos (University of Massachusetts Boston), Dr. Elisabeth Timmermans investigated why people in a committed relationship use Tinder and whether their personality differs from single Tinder users and non-single people who never used a dating app.

Their results indicate that non-single Tinder users differ significantly on nine Tinder motives from single Tinder users. Moreover, non-single Tinder users generally report a higher number of romantic relationships, French kisses, one night stands, and casual sexual relationships with other Tinder users compared to single Tinder users. In terms of (dark) personality traits, non-single Tinder users score significantly lower on Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and significantly higher on Neuroticism and Psychopathy compared to non-users in a committed relationship. For non-single Tinder users, lower scores on Agreeableness and Neuroticism and higher scores on Psychopathy and Machiavellianism are significantly correlated with the sexual Tinder motive. Additionally, Narcissism and Machiavellianism were positively associated with using Tinder for an ego-boost. Non-single users who reported to have had offline encounters with other Tinder users reported higher scores on Extraversion and Openness to Experience compared to non-single users who never had an offline encounter.

The findings in this study suggest that attention should be paid to non-singles users’ motives for dating app use, as well as their personality traits. In a technological society, our ideas of what constitutes infidelity are constantly changing, yet rarely discussed between partners. While for some, having a partner who created an account on a mobile dating app might be perceived as infidelity, others only perceive it as infidelity when that partner actually meets face to face with another person for a sexual or romantic encounter. Given the range of Tinder motives for non-single users, it would be beneficial for partners to discuss their ideas of infidelity on mobile dating apps to avoid confusion or disappointments.

Interested in the full article? Please find it on Science Direct.