Navigating ‘thin’ dating markets: Mid-life repartnering in the era of dating apps and websites

New article out now in the Journal of Sociology:

Dwyer, Z., Hookway, N., Robards, B. (2020) ‘Navigating ‘thin’ dating markets: Mid-life repartnering in the era of dating apps and websites’, Journal of Sociology, online first:

This article is a qualitative analysis of how people aged in their 30s and 40s use dating apps and websites to repartner following relationship separation or divorce. While ‘mid-life’ is a period of significant relationship churn, there is little sociological research that addresses how people in this age group use digital dating technologies to repartner. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with a small group of Australians, the article shows how dating technologies help ‘thicken’ thin dating markets associated with time pressures and access to the night economy, but also loss and convergence of friendship networks unique to mid-life. The study highlights the impact of gender on digital repartnering experiences, particularly experiences of online safety, and introduces the concept of ‘emotional filtering’ to describe how past relationships specifically shape the repartnering process for this middle-aged group.

Keywords: dating apps, divorce, emotions, filtering, gender, intimacy, online dating, repartnering, separation

This was from Zack’s Honours project that I co-supervised with Nick Hookway. It was great working with Zack on this, and I still remember designing the study in my office at UTAS in Launceston with Zack. Working on the data again with Zack and Nick, and helping to frame it up for this piece was a really rewarding experience. It was the last project I supervised at UTAS, and it’s been wonderful to see Zack go on with his PhD research and academic journey.