Whenever I go on a Tinder or Bumble date, I always end up deleting them from my phone as soon as I get back home. I tell myself I’m never going to download another dating app again because they just don’t work for me. Cut to two weeks later and I’m back to standing in a bar, searching for a guy named Kevin who has cute pictures of his golden retriever on his profile.
I like the idea of dating apps. Even though my experience with them hasn’t been the most successful, part of the reason I keep going back to dating apps is that I find the idea of them fascinating. When Tinder first came out, the concept of simply using your phone to set you up with the people living around you was so new and interesting. Apps seemed to take a lot of the work out of trying to find a date and I think that’s pretty neat.
I want to believe that dating apps can work. I consider myself to be a romantic person. I may not totally buy into the idea of predestined soulmates, but I do like to believe that people can make real connections and maybe end up falling in love as long as they have the willingness to keep putting themselves out there. Dating apps make putting yourself out there so easy that logically my brain just goes, “Of course this should work!”
Everyone seems to know a couple who met on Tinder. It can get pretty frustrating going on date after disappointing Tinder date when it seems like there are plenty of couples who met the love of their life through the exact same dating app. Often when I go to re-download it for the billionth time after swearing to never do so again, I’ll try to adjust my thinking to be more positive or wonder what secret formula these couples have to stumble into perfect harmony together. Maybe they’re just super hot and that’s it.
They keep me from getting too rusty. Even if I match with someone and we never actually end up getting together for drinks or coffee, I can still appreciate dating apps for providing a platform to casually chat with people. Connection for me is all about communication, so swapping stories, talking about interests, and sharing general thoughts about life are all elements to creating a good conversation that I don’t want to get out of the habit of using.
But sometimes they’re just depressing. There have been plenty of nights where I’ve been swiping through profiles only to keep seeing the most boring and mundane guys who seem like their dream is to have a woman at home to bang and make him a sandwich. Many of them just put that in their profile or try to be smooth about it by describing themselves as “dominant” or “alpha” like it’s supposed to be sexy or something. This can get pretty disheartening over time and is one of the most consistent reasons why I continue to delete the apps.
I don’t want to just give up completely. After a while, I’ll think maybe this time will better and thumb my way to the app store to re-download. I have to remind myself I’m not on dating apps with the sole interest of finding my next long-term partner. I’m there to hopefully match with other interesting people to go on fun dates with and Tinder can be a promising platform to make that happen. Patience hasn’t always been a strong suit for me, but I am stubborn and will keep coming back to things until I get the results I want.
Not the best reason, but everyone else is doing it. Dating apps are such an ingrained part of our culture that I sometimes feel weird if I don’t have one on my phone. My girlfriends will swipe through profiles with me, send me screenshots of messages, then tell me about their dates and even though some of the stories are terribly awkward and hilarious I appreciate that they’re still trying. Then I judge myself for maybe not trying hard enough or being too picky, but again, this isn’t a competition and I can’t force a connection with someone if it’s simply not there.
Sometimes being single is pretty lonely and that’s reason enough. There are plenty of things I enjoy about being single. My needs and wants are the top priority, I only have to ride my own emotional rollercoaster, and I don’t have to get into stupid arguments with anyone over dinner. The downside of all this, of course, is after a while of just dealing with myself, I start to miss having someone next to me. And when you’re sad and lonely, finding someone on a dating app doesn’t sound like the worst idea.
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