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“So it’s almost like the only recourse other than just sort of sitting around waiting for luck to strike is dating apps.”But then, if you get tired of the apps, or have a bad experience on them, it creates this ambivalence—should you stop doing this thing that makes you unhappy or keep trying in the hopes it might yield something someday?This tension may lead to people walking a middle path—lingering on the apps while not actively using them much.In 2016, dating apps are old news, just an increasingly normal way to look for love and sex. Of course, results can vary depending on what it is people want—to hook up or have casual sex, to date casually, or to date as a way of actively looking for a relationship.“I have had lots of luck hooking up, so if that’s the criteria I would say it’s certainly served its purpose,” says Brian, a 44-year-old gay man who works in fashion retail in New York City.The question is not if they work, because they obviously can, but how well do they work? “I have not had luck with dating or finding relationships.”“I think the way I’ve used it has made it a pretty good experience for the most part,” says Will Owen, a 24-year-old gay man who works at a marketing agency in New York City.But “it really is sifting through a lot of crap to be able to find somebody.”Sales’s article focused heavily on the negative effects of easy, on-demand sex that hookup culture prizes and dating apps readily provide.And while no one is denying the existence of fuckboys, I hear far more complaints from people who are trying to find relationships, or looking to casually date, who just find that it’s not working, or that it’s much harder than they expected.“I think the whole selling point with dating apps is ‘Oh, it’s so easy to find someone,’ and now that I’ve tried it, I’ve realized that’s actually not the case at all,” says my friend Ashley Fetters, a 26-year-old straight woman who is an editor at The easiest way to meet people turns out to be a really labor-intensive and uncertain way of getting relationships.Each person felt like a real possibility, rather than an abstraction.The first Tinder date I ever went on, in 2014, became a six-month relationship. In late 2014 and early 2015, I went on a handful of decent dates, some that led to more dates, some that didn’t—which is about what I feel it’s reasonable to expect from dating services.
Hyde has been using dating apps and sites on and off for six years.The whole endeavor seems tired.“I’m going to project a really bleak theory on you,” Fetters says.“What if everyone who was going to find a happy relationship on a dating app already did?titled Nancy Jo Sales’s article on dating apps “Tinder and the Dawn of the ‘Dating Apocalypse’” and I thought it again this month when Hinge, another dating app, advertised its relaunch with a site called “thedatingapocalypse.com,” borrowing the phrase from Sales’s article, which apparently caused the company shame and was partially responsible for their effort to become, as they put it, a “relationship app.”Despite the difficulties of modern dating, if there is an imminent apocalypse, I believe it will be spurred by something else.I don’t believe technology has distracted us from real human connection.“But on the other hand, Tinder just doesn’t feel efficient.I’m pretty frustrated and annoyed with it because it feels like you have to put in a lot of swiping to get like one good date.”I have a theory that this exhaustion is making dating apps worse at performing their function.When the apps were new, people were excited, and actively using them.Swiping “yes” on someone didn’t inspire the same excited queasiness that asking someone out in person does, but there was a fraction of that feeling when a match or a message popped up.But the company’s own research, combined with the the app was also “bleeding users” and had “plummeted to a 1.5 star rating,” which could have had something to do with it.) In advance of their relaunch, they publicized some of their own damning statistics on “81 percent of Hinge users have never found a long-term relationship on any swiping app”; “54 percent of singles on Hinge report feeling lonely after swiping on swiping apps”; “Only 1 in 500 swipes on Hinge turn into phone numbers exchanged.”Mc Leod has noticed the same waning of enthusiasm that I have.