The Digital Dating Game

The dating scene has definitely changed in recent years. Gone are the days when the woman waited for the man to make a move and technology is changing the rules of the game. Marcy Madzikanda tells us about dating in the digital world and gets a male perspective.
Digital dating game

Photographs © shutterstock/Burlingham

The dating scene has definitely changed in recent years, especially with the advent of dating websites and apps that are readily accessible on our mobile phones. Gone are the days when the woman waited for the man to make a move. Technology is changing the rules of the game… but is the change for the better? Marcy Madzikanda tells us about dating in the digital world and gets a male perspective.

During the period that I used these apps, I had a date every week. I quickly learnt that if I had online chemistry with a man, meeting him in person sooner rather than later was a better use of my time. This also kept my sceptical mind grounded and allowed me to appreciate the feel-good factor of what these apps and websites had to offer.

One feature I particularly liked on the Tinder app was the way it links to your Facebook account. There is no information shown on Facebook that you are using Tinder, however it takes five photos from your account to build your profile. It also shows whether you have mutual friends – always a good sign in my book. The more you know about the person the better, as online dating has the potential to be a little scary.

One key feature of Tinder is that you can only message each other if you both ‘Like’ each other.

Did I expect to meet my soul mate? Honestly, no. At times you wonder where the tall, eligible bachelors are. Digital sites show there are plenty of fish in the sea, however notice that I didn’t say single men. I noticed that a number of men just use these sites to find women to have fun with. Honesty is also not high up on the agenda.

The apps and websites used:

Blendr, Tinder, My Single Friend and Guardian Soulmates.

The Pros

  • The ease of download and ability to create a profile.
  • The fact that these apps were designed for mobile phone users and people on the go.
  • Ability to meet and chat to men within a matter of days or weeks.

The Cons

  • Pictures of naked body parts – why do men think these are what women want?
  • Men who say they are ‘separated’ (in other words still married).
  • Many men are just looking for fun and not serious relationships but will not say that upfront.
  • You could meet anybody on these apps – so you must be careful and look after your personal safety.

Marcy’s advice
Be smart, be careful and chat to the person within the app before giving out your number. If you are going to use dating sites to meet people, have fun with it and be prepared to really get to know who you are meeting. Personal safety should be high on your agenda. If you decide to have sex, always use condoms, be aware of the risks you may be taking. You can’t tell whether someone has HIV or another sexually transmitted infection just by looking at them.

Don’t despair if you are yet to meet The One. The partner of your dreams is right around the corner.


John, 49 from Nigeria

When you are busy it can be difficult to meet someone – dating apps make it a lot easier. After browsing several sites there seemed to be a lot of respectable-looking women willing to settle down.

As an African man the only thing I was after was a black woman from Africa. I felt more culturally in touch with them, therefore I found it easier to communicate with them.

There are those who expect sex on the first meeting. Yes it happens to men as well.


Which apps or websites did you use?

I chose based on my preference for black women.

The Pros

  • You don’t have to guess whether someone is single or not.
  • You know exactly what they are looking for.
  • You know their religion and how important it is to them.

The Cons

  • In reality, the person may be nothing like who they say they are.
  • There are those who expect sex on the first meeting (yes it happens to men as well – I was once told it was ‘to check compatibility’).
  • There may be significant cultural differences which you only realise after meeting.
John’s advice
There are sincere, good people on these sites. It is good to be honest. It is very discouraging to invest time in a person only to find that they are not what or who they say they are. Always let them know what to expect with you – for example, tell them if you don’t want to have sex before marriage. Most of all be safe when chatting and when meeting – don’t give out your home or work address.

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Marcy Madzikanda has a wealth of HIV prevention experience particularly around the role faith leaders play in sexual health and developing their competence to discuss these issues within their congregation. She designs and delivers training for African staff and volunteers working in HIV prevention. Marcy has excellent relationships with faith leaders and is a member of a working group on HIV policy and the Church.

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