After deleting my dating apps for a month aka "Appless April", I was sort of surprised when May 1 hit and I wasn't eager to get all my apps back and go on a swiping spree. The experiment had been a test to focus on meeting people IRL (though oddly enough when it started, I started seeing someone I had met on an app prior to Appless April) but the biggest lesson from the challenge came from realizing how dating apps were really making me feel: frustrated, objectified, and overwhelmed. Maybe dating apps just weren't for me.
"Even a short break can be a great way for you to force yourself into connecting with people a different way, and even figure out if you want to continue down the online/app path at all," Dr. Ashley Arn, lead matchmaker for eH+, eHarmony's premium matchmaking service, tells Bustle.
A few years ago, dating apps were an easy way to meet people for me, but it took a break to realize they were making me feel bad about my singlehood and the way I viewed dating. And I'm not alone. One of my coworkers who did the challenge said that it made her see that she had been treating dating like a game. Another said being app-less was making her a happier person. Recently, a small University of North Texas study found that Tinder users feel more negative about themselves than non-users.
But here's the confusing part: dating apps make us feel shitty but they're also great for meeting new people and going on dates. Depending on what you're looking for, that may be exactly what you want (and expect) from them. Eventually, a few months after Appless April, I did rekindle with two of my apps, Hinge and The League. These apps have a limited set of potential matches per day, which prevents me from feeling too overwhelmed or like I'm playing an unsatisfying game. I've made sure to keep an eye on how they're making me feel and to stop using them if I ever feel burnt out. But in all honesty, I'm not using dating apps as much as I used to.
Earlier this year Applause, an app quality company, went through every rating and review from the top app stores and found the best-rated dating apps. On average, the top U.S. dating apps fall behind other apps in quality by 23 points.
Well aware of dating app frustration among their users, Hinge decided to investigate how their users are feeling about the current dating app culture. Through internal surveys, along with other dating statistics, they highlighted some of the key issues with swiping behavior and developed TheDatingApocalypse.com. The site explains:
"We’re tired of mindless swipe culture. So we’re building something better for people who want more than entertainment and flings."
So what's next? Hinge has a ~mysterious~ way out of the swiping madness. You can sign up to get notified when Hinge’s new solution to "escape the games" is here.
Until then, here is some of the data they discovered through their internal surveys of users in August 2016 and from a OnePoll.com survey of 973 swiping app users in December 2015 to remind you that it's definitely time for a change.
1. 81% of Hinge users have never found a long-term relationship on any swiping app
2. Only 1 in 500 swipes on Hinge turn into phone numbers exchanged
3. 54% of singles on Hinge report feeling lonely after swiping on swiping apps
4. 65% of Hinge users do not feel like they have ever really connected with someone on a swiping
5. 7 in 10 surveyed women on the leading swiping app have received sexually explicit messages or images.
I have no idea what's next for dating apps, but I'm excited to see it. Bring it on, Hinge.
Images: Fotolia; Screenshot; Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle; Cora Foxx/Bustle; Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle; Mary Rabun/Bustle; Liz Minch/Bustle