Like a lot of first-time dating app users, I was hesitant to search for love online. I wanted to find a relationship and take more control of my love life. However, I was concerned about my safety and the quality of guys on these apps. I worried that everyone on the apps was looking for a hookup, not love. I was not interested in hooking up with a random guy that I met online a few days or even hours ago. I also did not like the idea of my love story with my future husband starting with “we met on a dating app.”
I spent a few months going back and forth about whether I should sign up before eventually downloading Bumble shortly after my 21st birthday. I was skeptical about the chances of success, but I figured dating apps could only increase the probability of meeting someone that was a good match for me. After all, I would still meet the same people in person regardless of if I was on a dating app or not.
My friends’ advice was another thing that made me pull the trigger (or download button, in this case) on dating apps. When I told one of my friends that I wanted to meet someone in a more traditional and romantic way instead of using dating apps, she responded, “The person is the important thing, not how you met.” I realized that she was right. There is so much more to a love story and a relationship than how the couple met.
I also turned to my friends for advice on which apps to use. Some of them that had experience online dating recommended that I try Bumble and Hinge, since I was looking for a serious relationship. Other dating apps are more focused on finding users hookups or are geared towards older users. I downloaded Bumble first to get used to being on dating apps. Once I got more comfortable with the idea, I signed up for Hinge as well.
Pros and Cons of Dating Apps:
Dating apps took a lot of uncertainty out of dating. If I matched with someone, I knew that they were at least somewhat interested in me and most likely single (I say “most likely” because someone could be on the apps without their partner knowing. I have also come across a few profiles of people in open relationships). Another benefit to meeting people online is that
their dating profiles allow you to see some information about them that you would not know just from looking at them in person. For example, you can choose to include your religion, how much alcohol you drink, and how serious of a relationship you are looking for on your Bumble profile. Some of this information could be a deal-breaker for you, and it could take a few dates to find out this sort of information about someone that you met in person.
Unfortunately, one thing that is uncertain is knowing exactly who is on the other side of the screen. Even if your match is not a catfish, you cannot be sure of their intentions. There are some safety precautions you should take when online dating. These include not having the person pick you up on a first date, watching your drink closely to make sure nothing is slipped into it, sharing the location of the date with someone you trust, and having the first few dates in public places. Thankfully, I have not felt like I was in physical danger on any of my dates. The worst thing that has happened to me on a date is bad conversation.
Dealing with Rejection:
Not all dates will work out. It is a good idea to video chat before meeting in person so that you can 1. see that the person you have been messaging is who they say that they are, and 2. see if you can have a good conversation with them in real-time. Video chatting before meeting in person has saved me from going on a few in-person dates that surely would have been awkward. Sometimes a connection over text does not translate to a connection in person. Even if you video chatted first, some in-person dates will not go well. It can also turn out that the other person did not think the date went as well as you did. Yet another potential outcome of matching with someone on a dating app is that they ghost you without an explanation. This can happen before or after meeting in person.
No one likes rejection, and it can get frustrating when matches turn out to be dead ends. This is especially true if you are picky about who you match with and do not swipe right on many people. You might ask yourself “Is there something wrong with me?” or “Is there anyone decent on these apps?” I have experienced this frustration a few times—I even deleted dating apps from my phone for a few days once. Viewing matches that did not work out as learning experiences has helped me to cope with this frustration. Every dead-end match teaches me a little more about what I am looking for in a partner and how to best use the apps to find it. It is also important to keep in mind that a match not working out does not mean that there is “something wrong with you.” Sometimes the other person has something going on in their life that has nothing to do with you. They may be just getting into or out of another relationship, or something might be going on in their personal lives that is not related to a romantic relationship. Even if the two of you just are not a good match, that is not such a bad thing. You cannot be liked by everyone, and you should not try to be. Even attempting to be liked by everyone would mean hiding parts of yourself that you think the other person might disapprove of. But you should be your full, authentic self on dates if you want to find a relationship that can last long term.
Dating Apps Can Work:
Not all matches will be dead ends. I can assure you that it is possible to find a
relationship on a dating app. I met my ex-boyfriend on Bumble, and we were together for seven months. Our relationship did not work out, but it is proof that looking for love online is not hopeless. While many people on the apps are just looking for a hookup, that is not true for all users. I am not using the apps to find hookups. I have also matched with several people on the apps that are genuinely looking for a relationship, not a short fling.
I have had an overall positive experience using dating apps. I have gotten much more dating experience than I would have otherwise. Besides meeting my ex-boyfriend, I went on a few other dates because of dating apps that did not develop into serious relationships. This taught me about myself and what I want in a future partner. Seeing the number of matches I got also raised my self-esteem. I had not been in a serious relationship before using dating apps, and I was self-conscious about that. The increased experience and self-esteem that dating apps gave me translated into me being more comfortable and open on dates. After taking some time to heal from my breakup, I am now back on dating apps and hopeful that they will help me find a new relationship.
If you are not looking for a relationship right now for whatever reason, that is fine too! Contrary to what society tells us, relationships are not necessary for happiness. There is also no “deadline” by which you have to have your first kiss, first relationship, etc. Sometimes we get caught up in comparing ourselves and our relationships (or lack thereof) to those of other people. However, everyone’s life moves at a unique pace. If your life moves at a different pace than your friends’ lives, there is nothing wrong with that. Do things when they feel right for you.
If you are curious about dating apps, I suggest that you take the plunge and make a profile! You might meet someone amazing! If you meet someone not-so-amazing, you will at least get some dating experience out of it that will help you find the right person in the future. Even if it does not feel like it sometimes, you can find love on dating apps. Have patience, have hope, and have fun!
About The Author
Madison Kleinrock-Andrews was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and is now a biological sciences major at UNLV’s Honors College. Even though she is not an English major, she has a passion for writing—especially poetry. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music, and watching Netflix in her free time. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @mka_poetry.