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“The Death of Relationships”: Ashley Madison, Tinder, and My Return to Singledom

Hailee Barber 2L


The Ashley Madison hack concluded this summer with a very public relationship massacre at the hands of the internet and a few million cheating spouses.  Romantic, no?  As I watched it unfold I wondered how social media and technology have changed the way we date.


Of course, my questions were motivated by personal experience—let me explain.  In a summer filled with celebrity breakups (RIP Miranda and Blake, Ben and Jen) you may have missed a slightly less prominent figure returning to singledom.  Yes lovely readers, ‘tis I, your co-news editor.  This summer, for the first time since 2012, I swam back to the proverbial sea, encouraged by the promise of plenty of fish, only to find that everything had changed.


Tinder had become the name of the game sometime since T-Swift was feeling “22”.  I resisted, as I was against the idea of physical attraction as a gatekeeper to communication.  This lasted about a second until curiosity got the best of me.  Sadly my Blackberry (circa 2013) would not let me download the app.  I took this as a sign that I was not ready for Tinder, and Tinder was, without a doubt, not ready for me.


Although my outdated cell phone hasn’t allowed me to experience the thrill of the swipe, I’m generally ok with that –mostly because I believe on some level that sites like Ashley Madison, and even Tinder, will inevitably be the downfall of society.  That, or zombies.


It seemed the universe was telling me that I was right about this when in my first Family Law class of the fall our instructor told us that we would essentially be studying “pathology—the death of relationships”.  This brought what I personally refer to as “the summer where love curled up and died” full circle for me.  Glorious.


But, I haven’t lost all hope.  I’m able to see some merit in the streamlining effect of technology on the dating world.  Maybe it allows us to cut out the relationship crap and fast track to where we want to be.  Ashley Madison users likely would’ve been having affairs pre-internet; now it’s just easier.  Tinder users even 3 years ago would’ve been out at the bars, pretending to be interested in what I have to say.  Now they can skip that charade and only talk to people they find attractive, who are into what they’re into, because they know the other person finds them attractive too.  This is the future, and the future is now.


These are simply my completely non-cynical musings, take them for what you will.  In summary I leave you with the following advice:

1. Your phone shouldn’t outlive your longest relationship.

2. It’s OK if T-Swift’s chart-topping abilities outlive your longest relationship.  She’s a gem.

3. I’m not Oprah.  You’re not Oprah.  Neither of us should give out our phone numbers at bars like Oprah gives out cars.  Unrelated to the article, but still solid advice.