Dating apps are really the worst. Yet anyone who’s been single for more than a couple of months–and, let’s face it, for most of us, it’s been wayyyy longer than that–has at least downloaded one. It’s just to see who’s out there. Or, so we tell ourselves.
At first there’s the excitement. The adrenaline rush of swiping, matching, and chatting with a cute new stranger. It might result in a date. It might result in a relationship! Often, it just results in being ghosted. Or chatting with someone for 20 minutes before you realize they are unemployed, a Trump supporter, or have an IQ so low they think YOLO followed by a strong of avocado emojis is a fully-formed response to your question (pro tip: it’s not a fully-formed response to any question. . . not even if you asked how to make guacamole).
After awhile, you might start to think this would be easier if you tried a different app. Or if you lived in a different place. Or if you were a different person. We at LD have questioned it all. Its a rough world full of bathroom mirror selfies, but hang in there, darling. Three of our writers are here to tell you their three very different experiences with dating apps. Hopefully you can learn and laugh at our mistakes. If there’s hope for us, there’s hope for anyone!
Location: State College, PA (small town, central PA)
Apps Used: Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, OkCupid
The lowdown: I’ve been doing various dating apps with varying levels of seriousness for over a year now. I started out looking for a serious relationship, and I thought OkCupid was the place for that. However, OkCupid is one of the few sites left that allows people to cold message you, without you swiping right or sending a mutual “like” first. The number of meaningless “Hey! Sup?” messages I received from men who obviously hadn’t read my profile was overwhelming, and I lasted only a couple of weeks. Tinder was likewise a bust. I chatted with only a few guys and was overwhelming disappointed with my prospects on what seems to be the most popular dating app.
However, as someone who lives in a small college town, I know the time of year you try different apps can vastly affect your success rate. Although there’s a new batch of grad students and research assistants every fall, if you’re not paired off by cuffing season, you might as well accept your single status for another year. And you can forget summer romance, since that’s when everybody leaves town.
Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble have been my standards for swiping and chatting for some time now. I’ve met quite a few guys in person, and some of them have been very nice. However it’s rare that anyone is looking for a real relationship since they only intend to live here for a couple of years while getting a degree. This leaves me, a university employee, very much single AF.
I’ve had some real letdowns and moments of true discouragement, and I’ve done a lot of fantasizing about how things might be different if I lived somewhere else. However, as a very introverted person, I think trying to meet people would probably suck anywhere. Dating apps have forced me to live outside my comfort zone. I’ve slowly learned to say yes to more dates, just for the experience and conversation, and even if it leads to nothing more.
Location: Eau Claire, WI (city that feels like a small town, western WI)
Apps Used: Tinder, Her
The lowdown: Being queer and single in a small, artistic city where you see the same 25 people at every event and hang out at the same bar every night means the prospects for dating are pretty low, even if you use apps. While swiping on Tinder, almost every prospect within 25 miles is a friend, a friend of a friend, an ex of a friend, or folks I have formed vague connections with that seem to never make it off the ground.
In order to use either app for more than a day, you basically have to widen your mileage to the max. For someone who would rather not have to drive an hour to have awkward coffee, that doesn’t really do much. Additionally, if I had a dollar for every woman on Tinder who is part of a couple “looking for their unicorn” or “just here for friends,” I would just buy a better vibrator and call it quits. Her, although a space exclusively for women seeking women, isn’t user-friendly, and has even fewer folks to connect with than Tinder.
All in all, dating apps in general aren’t super lucrative for most of the queer women I know in this town, and I am still waiting for my meet cute with a freckled-faced hummus lover at the farmers market or my favorite bar.
Location: Des Moines, IA (medium sized city that feels like a small town because you run into people from high school or co-workers everywhere)
Apps Used: Coffee Meets Bagel, Tinder, Bumble
The lowdown: I met my fiance on Coffee Meets Bagel, so I should be singing the online dating praises. But honestly, I felt like online dating was a train wreck for the most part. The week I met Ryan was the week I said I was deleting all of my dating apps for the foreseeable future because I was so annoyed with all of them (we’re lucky we connected and had amazing conversations from the start). Immediately, things felt different with him- I actually felt like he wanted to get to know me for me. Since our first date, we’ve hung out literally every day, minus days we’ve had work travel. A month into our relationship, I knew we’d get married someday.
Here’s my verdict on the apps from my time as a single lady. Tinder was obviously the worst, although I do have two best friends that met on tinder and are getting engaged soon. No one I matched with was interested in a serious relationship, which was frustrating. Bumble was a complete waste of time. I didn’t have a conversation with anyone that I would have met in person. I really liked Coffee Meets Bagel, actually. It’s slow since you only get one match per day, but the profiles are more thorough, so I felt like the matches were a pretty good fit. And I found the love of my life in the end, so, all the dating app struggles were worth it!
Have you found love via a dating app? Do you have a particularly horrible/hilarious story to share about looking for love online? Tweet us @litdarling. We want to hear ALL the stories.