On Friday, I'll be starting a (dating) App-less April, where I'm taking a break from dating apps for a month. I'm thinking of App-less April as more of a detox from dating app burnout rather than swearing them off forever. Truthfully, I'm excited to see what happens when I'm not distracted by my phone, and I'm hoping it liberates me, but I also worry about adjusting to an environment I'm a bit foreign to. I've been on apps for as long as I've been single in my twenties, and it's really the only dating scene I know.
I've had friends and coworkers tell me they love the idea (and some are even on board too) but I was curious about what experts in love and dating really think about the month-long challenge. Is this something dating coaches recommend to their single clients or something they'd never, ever advise?
It's a really good point, and sometimes we may not even realize what our energy is like or who we're attracting until we do switch things up.
But am I limiting my pool or dating better by dating completely offline? Turns out, it's a little bit of both. Here's what dating coaches, licensed psychologists, and even dating app founders have to say about App-less April:
1. Ravid Yosef, Dating And Relationship Coach
I went on what I call a 'mantox' for six weeks at the top of the year. The apps were not attracting the type of men I wanted at the end of last year and I needed a break from dating and the apps. During the mantox/apptox I focused on myself, refilling my cup, major work projects, having fun with friends and meeting people int he real world. When I got back on, I hit it off really well with the first guy I met off of tinder. We went on 15 or so dates and then decided we weren't right for each other long-term. Taking the break allowed me to refocus on my needs, fulfill them on my own and when I was ready, attract better quality men.
2. Monica Parikh, Dating Coach And Founder Of School of Love NYC
When you give off positive, happy vibes every day (and are open to talking to strangers), you have a much better shot at attracting a great person in real-time. Plus, you have the added benefit of "reading" their energy — so you don't waste time on creepy weirdos. (There is a big disconnect between a 2-D image and a 3-D person.)
3. Janna Koretz Psy.D, Licensed Psychologist And Founder Of Azimuth Psychological
"A lot gets lost over the Internet, because non verbal cues and verbal tone is really important in a relationship. I've known people who reject someone online, randomly meet them in person, and get married! Relationships are personal and the best way to get to know someone is in person. Dating offline is hard and takes some getting used to. To not immediately reach for the phone while waiting in line or on the train feels really strange. But often connections are missed because we aren't paying attention. There are often opportunities around us to meet a romantic partner we just don't notice because we are distracted.
Another challenge is it can be discouraging because it doesn't seem to be as many potentials in real life. But if you figure that out of all the potentials you get on a dating site, the number of people that are really a good match is actually much smaller. And that smaller number is probably the same as the number of people you could meet organically it just takes more effort and attention.
4. Francesca Hogi, Relationship Expert
"If you're feeling depressed or bored with your experience on the apps, you're unlikely to be in a good mindset to be successful anyway. Eliminating that source of stress will give you some good breathing space. Spring is the perfect time of year to push yourself to meet more people offline. Take advantage of the renewed energy that comes along with the change of weather and get out and get social!"
5. Nicole DiRocco, Dating and Relationship Coach, Founder Of Dating With Grace
I am an advocate of taking a break from dating apps on occasion. While a viable way to meet others, it should not be the sole way to meet especially if one is seeking the right person to date or a relationship. It is limiting to one's available 'talent pool' if it becomes the only way to meet. As well, I support the benefit of re-charging and focusing on a woman's self-care so that she may be the best version of herself to attract the right [person].
6. Samantha Cohen, Business Executive Director Of Project Soulmate
"They say that dating appless is a bad idea. You never know where you are meant to meet the one; it could be on line in the grocery store or online on Tinder. The more you put yourself out there the higher your chances are of finding someone you can really click with. My mother always said, "You never know when you might meet your future husband." You should always put every effort into meeting someone. Technology is always changing and online dating is the way of the future. We always tell clients, even while working with us, that they should be online and taking every available opportunity. If apps are too overwhelming, you can always use it in a more selective way, not swipe as many people or say yes to as many dates but just putting yourself out there in a broader pool can make all of the difference.
7. Erika Martinez, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist
"Going appless is something that I recommend a lot of online daters I work with. Like anything, it can be too much of a good thing (or not so good in some cases like those screenshots in your piece). So I suggest they get 'lover sober' by doing a 'dating detox'. Instead, I have them date themselves — and they make some huge strides in terms of learning about themselves and how (and why) they relate to partners as they do. It's one of the things that actually moves daters closer to a fulfilling relationship. Go figure, right?"
8. Chris Armstrong, Relationship Coach and Owner of Maze of Love
"People are so tied to social media, phones and dating apps that a complete delete could have the reverse affect of what Dating Appless April is supposed to be. Instead of embracing the face-to-face and putting yourself out there, I can absolutely see people having anxiety about lost opportunities and resenting what they did, only to have that resentment translate into how they treat dating in real life. Another big part of this is the fact that people do not like being told what to do or losing control of their comforts.
9. Aswan, Founder/CEO Of The Know App
"A cleanse is absolutely needed from time-to-time as it eliminates cruft from months (if not years) of swiping. Look, we're all aware that the dating climate has changed. We're immersed in a hook-up culture in which matchmaking and interactions occur at a hyper-accelerated pace—and frankly, we simply don't have enough time to manage all of those connections. As such it's important to down-shift, re-balance yourself, and check-in with your priorities to ensure alignment with how you're operating within the dating marketplace."
10. Jonathan Bennett, Dating And Relationship Coach
When deciding to delete dating apps, it’s important to consider your current goals. If you’re really wanting to get into a relationship or are especially desperate, it is probably a bad idea to limit your options by deleting dating apps. But, there are a couple of scenarios where deleting an app for awhile could be a smart move.
First, it might be a good idea if you feel you’re worn out from dating. Trying to get dates and going on dates can be very time consuming and even mentally and emotionally draining. Taking some time off might give you a good chance to work on yourself or simply focus your energy on something else. This time away to focus on other things should leave you refreshed and confident, both traits that make you more attractive when you decide you're ready to re-install those apps.
Second, it’s possible to get so focused on dating apps that you might be losing “real world” dating skills. If you find yourself unable to interact with confidence outside of your phone, it might be time to get out a little more and socialize in a way that doesn’t involve staring at a screen.
11. Matt Morgan, Co-founder, Dating/Match App Cuplin
What I’ve found is that people who’ve been systematically on dating apps for a while (+6 months) often benefit from a month off. This seems to break bad habits/laziness formed over an extended period without true success. Deleting apps/accounts forces you to re-do profiles etc —so it’s a full reset. As an app owner though, deletion is not a good thing as users are much less likely to come back and there is no way to market to/connect with them.
12. Radio Wright, Online Dating Specialist, eDatingDoc.com
"They're addictive and constantly pulling you out of the moment. I definitely think its beneficial to delete your dating apps, and not just dating apps — Snapchat, Facebook, all of those apps. It would be cool to go a whole month without any of these things."
13. Karenna Alexander, Matchmaker and Dating Coach
I tell my female clients never to go off the apps, or any dating site for that matter. I tell them they should stay on until they meet a great [person]. I equate it to job hunting. If you were unemployed, you would not stop looking for a job. The same goes for dating. If you are single you should not stop looking for a boyfriend [or girlfriend]. That said, I tell them to take a break from the apps on the weekends! Besides allowing them a break, it is also a good dating strategy-it shows [people] you are busy and have a life, and that is always GOOD! It also gives you time to hang out with your friends and not be one of those annoying people on their phone all the time. It allows you to be a good friend. But beyond that, I don't typically advise taking long breaks from the apps. You need to be in it to win it and the best way is to be on the apps consistently (except from 6 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Sunday).
14. Rhonda Milrad, Founder Of Relationup and Relationup Advisor
"Everyone knows that being preoccupied with finding a relationship is awful. It takes up way too much time and energy. The best way to date is to be mellow about it and open to seeing how everything unfolds. “It will happens, when it is suppose to happen." Dating apps are not built on this principle.They are addictive and are designed to keep someone focused and intense about their search and absorbed with getting a mate- all the things that erode one’s inner peace.
Most people find that they check the apps too often and that the frequency with which they do it, and the preoccupation with it grows over time. And just as someone is realizing that they have “app addiction” and no self control to modulate the time that they spend on the app, the app draws them back in, like drug pushers, by sending them notifications of more matches that are available to them and messages that are waiting for them. And so begins the cycle of addiction!
Yet, dating apps are the primary way that people meet one another in this day and age and so, it is unrealistic that you can have an active dating life without incorporating them into your plan of attack. Many people experience dating app burnout from the intensity of the experience and take breaks for periods of time to reground themselves before jumping back in.
15. Alexandra Harra And Dr. Carmen Harra, Relationship Experts And Authors of The Karma Queens' Guide to Relationships: The Truth About Karma in Relationships
Dating apps can be beneficial in seeking and meeting wonderful new people. They can be the gateway to encountering a potential partner and even a long-term relationship. There's no need to delete them if they're used wisely and efficiently." There are three things we should remember so that we don't become too distracted by or immersed in dating apps:1. There is a world out there: As tempting as it is to log on and find a virtual world at your fingertips, remember that this will never compare to the real world you actually experience through your five senses. Connecting on a dating app can never compare to the stimulating chemistry you share with a person when face to face.2. That person probably isn't who they "appear" to be: You may be attracted to someone's profile on a dating app, but bear in mind that this is just an impression they've carefully compiled for the public to view. Only when you share time with that person can you really form an accurate impression of their character and develop a sense of their integrity.
3. If you really like someone, don't give too much time to others: If you find someone on a dating app that you genuinely feel attracted to and the feeling seems to be mutual, don't give your attention to everyone else. Exclusivity that begins early on tends to last throughout a relationship. So just like in the real world, if you like someone, stick with them.
16. Julie Spira, Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker, Founder of Cyber-Dating Expert
All dating, whether it starts online or offline needs to turn into offline dating. It’s great to meet someone organically or through friends-of-friends. There’s a big difference between online chemistry and offline chemistry. When you date offline, you have an opportunity to have genuine eye contact and develop the bond.
As an online dating expert and dating coach, I work with my clients to date both online and offline. There is no one size fits all formula for everyone. This means I encourage them to accept invitations to parties and business networking events to meet people offline, while still logging onto to 1-3 dating sites/apps to see if they can connect online. Every relationship, whether you meet online or IRL does have a digital element to it, which includes social media and texting.
Images: Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle (3); Mary Rabun/Bustle; Cora Foxx & Dawn Foster/Bustle; Mary Rabun/Bustle; Liz Minch/Bustle; Cora Foxx/Bustle; Dawn Foster/Bustle; Giphy