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I quit dating apps for a month and this is what happened

The Independent logo The Independent 2018-07-04 Rachel Hosie

Woman laying on sofa and texting on cell phone © Provided by Getty Woman laying on sofa and texting on cell phone

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

While online dating used to be a shameful secret for many people, using dating apps nowadays is the norm, especially amongst millennials.

In fact, it’s unusual if a young, single person isn't using dating apps.

From Bumble and Tinder to Happn and Hinge, there are endless apps out there, providing singletons with a never-ending stream of possible suitors through which to swipe, match and crush.

But the trouble is, as fun as swiping is, after a while it starts to feel more like a game than a way to meet a potential soulmate. Like online shopping, if you will. Except you’re browsing through potential partners rather than bikinis.

Related: Millennials Latest Bizarre Dating Term is ‘Gatsbying’, And You Are Guilty of Doing It (provided by Buzz60)


And for some of us, it can become something of an addiction.

We all double-screen these days, and for many a millennial, as soon as you plonk yourself down on the sofa and turn on the TV, out comes the phone and the swiping begins, almost without thinking.

But is this doing us any good? I decided to give up dating apps for a month and see what happened. Would I meet anyone in real life? Could I cope with the lack of attention? Would my thumbs start twitching?

Here’s how I got on:

The withdrawal symptoms are real

It may sound ridiculous, but I felt nervous as I deleted all my apps. I know what you’re thinking: “How many was she on?!” Well, technically four, but I didn’t use them all regularly.

On the evenings when I was at home watching Netflix, I got twitchy fingers and was itching to open Bumble. But I think more than anything this was just the need to do something with my hands or on my phone.

I quickly found myself spending a lot more time on Instagram, but after a few days I realised it was less addictive than a dating app, and the urge to scroll wore off. Before long, I was actually capable of watching a film or television without simultaneously doing something on my phone. And - shock horror - I enjoyed what I was watching far more as a result. 

a woman holding a knife © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

I caved

Much like any addict, relapse was inevitable. Yes, I am weak and I caved. It was only about a week into the month and I was yet to build up much stamina.

I was on my way out of the gym when I passed a guy that I immediately decided was the man of my dreams, so I opened Happn (the app which shows you the people with whom you’ve crossed paths).

Obviously, the dream man was not on Happn. He’s probably married with three children. I’m not sure why I broke my dating app so readily for this - not once have I opened Happn in the hope of matching with a particular stranger and actually found him. It was a moment of weakness. And lust.

I didn’t meet anyone

I had hoped that by quitting dating apps, I might subconsciously open myself up to meeting someone in real life, but alas. I met no one so went on zero dates.

The trouble with the advent of dating apps is that people just don’t meet in person any more. Men and women rarely chat each other up in bars, gyms or anywhere else for that matter. Why would we when you can just go on an app and chat to someone you’ve matched with, whom you know is single, shares your sexuality and fancies you?

Related: 9 terms that define modern dating (provided by Business Insider)

I felt more free

If you want to get anywhere with dating apps, you have to commit to using them regularly, the reason for which is two-fold.

Firstly, the algorithms mean that if you aren’t active on the app, you won’t show up on anyone else’s so you won’t get any matches. Secondly, once you match with someone, you need to put in the effort to talk to them or else things swiftly fizzle.

But after quitting apps, I felt free from this pressure. No longer would I get home of an evening, exhausted from the day and ready for bed, and think, “Urgh, I’d better reply to the messages from these men I’ve been ignoring all day.”

I went back online to find, well, not much

Once my month of chastity was over, I hoped I’d log back into my dating apps to find a flurry of messages from potential love interests. But alas, there was little more than a trickle.

A few men had messaged me, but nothing particularly exciting had occurred. It felt somewhat anticlimactic.

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I’ve not returned to my former ways

It’s been two months since my dating app detox, and I haven’t been the same since. Sure, I still go on the apps occasionally, but I’m finding I can’t really be bothered. It’s a lot of effort and to be honest, quite a bit of hard work.

As much fun as it is having a swipe, there’s a lot involved before you get to a date, and more often than not, it doesn’t go anywhere.

So I shall dip in and out of dating apps for fun from time to time, but when it comes to meeting someone, I’m in no rush and happy to leave it up to fate in the hope of finding The One organically.

Related: The science of love: 24 facts about happy relationships

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