As a professional matchmaker, I look through hundreds of dating profiles a day and talk to people constantly about their experiences on dating apps. Here are a few things I’ve learned from all of my research.
- Most are dating multiple people. I’ve always been a strong believer in the idea that if you’re looking for a relationship, you should only date one person at a time. Apparently, that’s not the way things work anymore. With dating apps making hundreds of eligible matches available, the truth is most people are dating multiple people at a time.
- Dating is a numbers game. You’re not going click with everyone you go on a date with. If you really want to meet someone, you’re going to have to go on lots and lots of first dates. To not get burned out by all that dating, be sure to schedule short dates (in case there’s no connection) and ask important questions before you agree to go out.
- Women tend to stop dating around after a few dates. After going on a few dates with the same guy and feeling a connection with him, many women stop actively dating other people. This was definitely my mentality in the past, but it isn’t really ideal for today’s dating game. Pinning all of your hopes on one match before you’ve had a conversation about exclusivity can lead to disappointment, dating burnout, and even heartbreak. To maximize your chances of finding someone, keep going out with eligible singles until you commit to someone. If that feels unethical to you, don’t have sex with anyone you’re seeing until you’ve had a conversation about exclusivity.
- Men will keep seeing other women until you’ve had the exclusivity talk. While women tend to stop dating, men keep on going. Many women say things to me like, “Well, we’ve been seeing each other for three months, so obviously we’re together,” but men just don’t see it that way. Most men are going to take advantage of their “freedom” for as long as they can and will continue swiping until they have the exclusivity conversation.
- You can’t assume anything. Going on dating apps is casting a pretty wide net—you never know what’s going to turn up. Some people on dating apps are cheating on their partners, some are in open relationships, some are in non-mutual open relationships. Some guys just got divorced last week while others never plan on committing. Some are just passing through your city temporarily. With so many different kinds of people online, you can’t assume anything. Before you go out with someone, you should clarify that they’re actually single and looking for the same things you are. Once you start dating someone, you also need to communicate each step of the way to make sure you’re still on the same page.
- Communication is key. Men have ruthlessly mocked women for saying things like, “So what’s going on here?” as if wanting to define the relationship is totally absurd. It’s not crazy to want to define things, it’s crazier not to. You deserve to have clarity in your relationships, so ask for it, even if that’s hard to do. Mature adults communicate openly, so if the person you’re dating refuses to be clear with you, then it’s time to move on.
- Breaks are important. One of the biggest complaints I get about dating apps is that it’s easy to get burned out. I totally understand. Using dating apps can easily become stressful and a huge waste of time, especially if you aren’t clear on what you’re looking for. To avoid burnout, you need to take frequent breaks. This might mean saying, “No swiping after 7 p.m.” or taking a few days off completely every month.
- Take red flags seriously. A lot of women, myself included, have ignored red flags and suffered the consequences. Red flags might be everything from a small but important deal breaker to an off-color joke to flat out misogynist behavior. The sad truth is that unlike matchmakers, dating apps don’t vet their members at all. That means you’re thrown into a pot with every creep, felon, and woman hater out there. I’ve gone out with misogynists, an anti-semite, a convicted arsonist, multiple lovers of Vladimir Putin, a pretentious vegan, and more. After all of these dates, I realized that I’d overlooked blatant red flags. When it comes to dating, your safety is actually on the line, so don’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt.
- There are still good men out there. Women who have been on dating apps for too long ask me all the time, “Are there even any good men out there?” Yes! And they’re just as frustrated with dating apps as you are. To find the good guys, you need to get clear on what you’re actually looking for and be genuinely open to a relationship. It’s also a good idea to look beyond dating apps. This might mean working with a matchmaker or going to singles events. It’s also a good idea to look for guys in real life. Strike up a conversation with a stranger at a bookstore, say yes to that party invitation, and start going to meetups to connect with people who share your interests.