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Nearly a Third of Britons Admit to Being on a Dating App While in a Relationship

Who said romance is dead as nearly a third of Brits (30 percent) admit to using a dating app while in a relationship. According to new research 35 percent of Brits think swiping left or right while in a relationship acts as a form of ‘insurance policy’ and allows them to peruse the talent.

And in what seems to be a sign of the times, one in five of the 2,100 people surveyed by specialist law firm Slater and Gordon said this is just part and parcel of the modern day dating life and they ‘wouldn’t mind’ if their partner used a dating app.

The younger generations seemed even more accepting with two thirds of 16-24 years old admitting they would happily forgive their love if they found them checking out other ‘options’ online.

Just under half of the men (46 percent) who were surveyed admitted to using the modern dating tool while in a relationship.

Among the top reasons why they had strayed onto a dating app, ten percent said they were ‘bored’, nine percent said their ‘sex life was dwindling’ and seven percent said they were ‘arguing a lot’ (seven percent) with their partner.

It seems women are the fairer sex in this instance with just over one in five (21 percent) saying they have used a dating app behind their partners back, also because they were bored (four percent), embroiled in lots of arguments (four percent) or were ‘lacking attention’ (three percent).

The new research was conducted after family lawyers noticed an increase in dating apps being cited in divorce proceedings within the last few years and with 74 percent of those surveyed confirming they would consider divorce if they discovered their partner was on an app, it seems it is a trend that is unlikely to disappear.

One in ten of all those questioned said they would be more inclined to forgive the questionable behaviour if their sex life had become non-existent.

And a further ten per cent went as far as to say that speaking to someone on a dating app isn’t cheating unless you have physical contact.

Niamh McCarthy, divorce lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “These findings mirror what we have seen during recent divorce proceedings where we have acted for clients. Modern technology such as the use of social media and now more recently dating apps, have added yet another potential hurdle for a couple. Having a secret life away from your partner is a temptation which is clearly still dividing opinion.

“Although a large number of people have admitted to using dating apps while in a relationship it’s apparent it is not something we are all willing to accept as part and parcel of the modern day dating life. 

“Previously these apps wouldn’t have been involved in relationships but within the last two to three years we have seen a steady rise in them being referred to in divorce proceedings.”

The research also found one in five of the 2,100 Brits who were surveyed, wouldn’t class being on a dating app while in a relationship as cheating.

However, it seems not all agree as 51 percent said they would dump their partner if they found them fishing online for a new love and would expect their partners to quit dating apps as soon as they became official (50 percent).

On the other hand, 16 percent of men and women who answered the survey said it’s acceptable to look around for a new lover before breaking up with the current one, with eight months being identified as the time you can stop trying to rescue a relationship that has turned sour and legitimately start looking for a new one.

When asked what was considered as ‘cheating’, a quarter said chatting with someone online in a sexual way was not cheating and 10 percent said you had to be in physical contact to cheat.

But when it comes to sending naked images, 68 percent said they would struggle to forgive their partner for sharing as the act is ‘grubby’ or unforgiveable’.

Niamh McCarthy added: “Since the rise, these apps have been cited as reasons behind a couple’s break up- whether the cause of an argument was itself because of the persons own use of the app or social media website, or whether this was a result of what the person has done on the app i.e. from who they are talking to, what they are sharing or what they are getting up to.”

“It has also shaped the way we advise people. Finding out your partner may have been speaking to someone else on a dating app can cause many to react instantly in a public way, via social media. It’s imperative the injured party stops to think and tries to discuss the situation before acting. What you do in the public eye could stay there forever.”

Sadly over half (53 percent) of all those who were surveyed said they had been cheated on in the past and 31 percent had caught their partner after discovering their secret messages.

A quarter discovered the betrayal after their friend let it slip and one in five caught their cheating partner in the act.

Some horror stories that also emerged were tales of devastated partners discovering affairs after catching the pair having sex in the couple’s garden, one partner came home and confessed to sleeping with his girlfriend’s sister and another said they knew after finding lubricants under the bed.

One in five also admitted to being the cheaters with six per cent meeting via a dating app and it appears men are more likely to forgive their other half for being on a dating app (50 percent), opposed to only 42 percent of women.

The most forgiving area of the UK is London with 48 percent of residents turning a blind eye to the blip and the least forgiving is Newcastle with 70 percent of residents saying they would dump their partner for the betrayal.

However, 54 percent of 35-44 year olds don’t agree and say they would never forgive their partner for being on a dating app, even if they had only just started dating, stopped having a physical relationship or were in a long distance relationship.


  1. Think before reacting.
  2. Don’t react in anger, particularly online. Remember anything published online could be there for life – a post may be deleted in two seconds but another person’s screenshot of it won’t be.
  3. Talk to your partner – understand why they have done what they have.
  4. If you find your partner is cheating or talking to another person and talking to them doesn’t work, consider marriage counselling and discussing what you are both prepared to accept in your relationship in terms of social media use.
  5. If you believe the marriage has broken down or may break down, it is worth considering obtaining independent legal advice to understand your options and protect yourself in the short and long term.

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