I’ve been using dating apps on and off for almost three years now. As I’ve mentioned on here before, I’ve tried everything from Bumble and Tinder to Plenty of Fish and Happn.
I’m still single which suggests that these apps haven’t worked for me, but ALL the dates I’ve been on in that time have actually come via a dating app.
So what does that say about the current dating scene?
Dating apps vs real life
I think a lot of people forget that dating existed before the advent of apps. When I was in my 20s, people would meet in real life first, go on a date and get to know each other. No apps required.
But these days, I think many people view this as the only way of meeting someone new. It’s more convenient to ‘meet’ online and hide behind an emoji filled conversation instead of approaching a person in the real world and risk face-to-face rejection. And I totally get that.
Two years ago, I gave a Christmas card (with my mobile number inside) to a guy I saw on my Metro every day. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so nervous, especially as he was wearing headphones and didn’t hear me wish him a happy Christmas, so I had to repeat myself in front of lots of flustered commuters. He text to thank me for the card and when I next saw him on the platform, I smiled and he completely blanked me.
It wasn’t the happy ever after you see in the movies, but I’m still glad I did it. How many people take that kind of chance nowadays? And how many people look up from their phones long enough to even notice the people around them?
A numbers game
Finding the right match is often a numbers game and dating apps deliver other singletons by the bucket-load, as well as those you wouldn’t ordinarily cross paths with in your day-to-day life.
But that’s also part of the problem.
It means you’re just another face on a very crowded app – there’s always another guy or girl to swipe on in just a click. And that’s very unnerving. If I’m being honest, at my lowest, it makes me feel inadequate, unattractive and completely undesirable.
A waste of time?
Like any other app on my phone (I’m looking at you Instagram!) the likes of Bumble can take up a lot of my precious time.
Swiping on profiles, striking up a conversation with a guy, getting to know them (by this I mean sussing out if they’re who they say they are on their profile and not a catfish) and opening up about myself – all before I even meet them in real life – is time consuming.
Sometimes it can be fun but other times, it’s just draining. And just when you’re getting good vibes and feel ready go on a date in real life…you’re ghosted out of nowhere. It’s relentless and disheartening.
Dating apps provide greater opportunity for self-doubt and when a conversation falters, I begin to question myself.
Am I interesting enough? Is my personality translating via text? Should I change my profile pictures? How do I stack up against the X number of other girls my match is most definitely chatting to?
It can be hard sometimes to remind myself that I’m fine just the way I am, and a guy can take it or leave it. If he’s not that interested, then my effort is best placed elsewhere.
Perhaps I’m just disillusioned with dating and not specifically dating apps.
I’ve had a bad run recently. I was stood up for the first-time ever (waiting at Monument in the cold for half an hour was only soothed a little by an entertaining busker) and have dealt with flaky behaviour and the ambiguity of mixed signals.
These issues aren’t new, but apps have given me access to more of this bad dating etiquette than I would care to experience.
On a brighter note, I appear to be more successful at making new friends through dating apps. I’ll admit it’s not the desired outcome but – going all Love Island-esque on you now – a lot can be said for making a real, meaningful ‘connection’ with someone even if, ultimately, it’s not a romantic one.
I do also have friends who have met their hubbies via apps. So they can work…I just haven’t been so lucky.
They say (‘they’ being every other person in my life that’s coupled up) that I’ll meet someone when I’m not looking. So for now, I’m done with swiping and texting, and breaking up with my dating apps. And like any breakup, I’m going to focus on myself and prioritise other aspects of my life instead.
Who knows, this might just be the best decision I make for my wellbeing – and my love life!
Until next time,
Photo: Matthew Henry