Today, as part of a month-long challenge called App-less April, I deleted my dating apps. I've grown so accustomed to them that I forgot what it's like to date offline. While some experts recommend dating app detoxes to their clients, others say this will limit my pool of potential romantic partners. Considering how popular dating apps are right now (usage among millennials has nearly tripled since 2013) and how some apps have literally endless options, it's a good point. But in an effort to learn something new, I'm giving 'em up.
"Dating offline is hard and takes some getting used to,"Janna Koretz, Psy.D Founder and Licensed Psychologist."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."
I'm excited to see how I approach dating this month. I've always preferred meeting someone IRL, and so do many of my friends on apps, but because dating apps are so easy, effortless, and low-pressure (and addictive), I've been loyal to them. Plus, there are so many people on them! I can't think of any single people in NYC who aren't. But just because they're popular doesn't mean they're the most effective way to meet someone. If you're on the fence about joining App-less April, here are some interesting (and WTF) stats to consider:
1. One-Third Of Online Daters Have Never Actually Gone On A Date With Someone They Met Online
What?! According to Pew Research, 66 percent of online daters have gone on dates with someone they met via dating site or app, which is certainly a jump from the 43 percent who had in 2005. Yet, that leaves one-third of online daters who only have ignored opening messages, ghosters, or pen pals to show for the two hours a week they spend swiping.
2. 88 Percent Of Americans Met Their Partner Offline
If you thought online dating was the top way to meet a partner, think again. Pew found that among Americans who have been with their spouse or partner for five years or less, 88 percent met them without the help of a dating site.
3. 5 Percent Of Americans Met Their Partner Online
Some dating sites may boast higher numbers about how many couples meet online, but Pew found that for those Americans in a marriage or committed relationship, only five percent met their partners on a dating site or app.
4. Most Women Report Feeling Harassed Online
I don't have to show you the types of messages that make women feel unsafe, because there's a good chance you've already seen them on your phone, your friends' phones, or on roundups online. A survey by Consumers' Research found that 57 percent of women report feeling harassed online. The top culprits? Tinder and OkCupid.
5. The Success Of LTRs On Dating Apps
Even though Tinder has the reputation for being a hookup app, most of us have a friend or friend of a friend who met their significant other there. But how many successful long-term relationships really come from the OG dating app? Just 13 percent of couples who met on Tinder made it past four weeks. OK so what about more serious apps? On Match, 33 percent reported having relationships lasting longer than six months, which is a lot better. On eHarmony, a site that considers themselves the best for long-term relationships, 29 percent of users had a relationship of one month or more. So it looks like it really depends on the app.
But, researchers from Stanford University and Michigan State University surveyed more than 4,000 people in 2014 and found that couples who met on dating sites are more likely to break up than couples who met offline, so there's that.
Want to join App-less April? Share your stories with us by using the hashtag#ApplessApril and mentioning @Bustle.
Images: Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle; Liz Minch/Bustle; Mary Rabun/Bustle (2); Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle (3)