Should I quit Tinder?
August 29, 2018 6:00 AM   Subscribe

I've been using Tinder and Bumble for nearly two years and I feel like I may have dating fatigue. Should I quit?

I've broke up with someone nearly two years ago. It was a toxic relationship and I thought the best thing to help me get over it and move on was to hit the dating scene. I signed up to Tinder and Bumble and all in all I'd say I've been on around 150 dates.....maybe more.
I realize that is a hell of a lot. Too much some may say. I thought initially it would help me get over my ex and give me a confidence boost but I'm not sure it has really as I compare all my dates to her. Most of these dates have been one date wonders where I meet the person for a drink or a coffee. Hardly any have progressed to a second date. I'm not hung up on this fact as I don't really pursue more dates with the person I meet. It's almost as if the first date is a perfunctory action. It's like somehow I feel I should be going on dates so that I'm moving on.
I think I've behaved decently and haven't taken advantage of anyone, though I guess that's for other people to judge. It's also become a bit of a thing now where I seem to spend a lot of time checking the apps, changing the profile and pics to get more matches, chatting to people and then the dates themselves. It does take up a lot of emotional energy I think, though I fear if I stop I may be missing our or find myself even lonelier.
I'm 54 now and it does feel a bit like I'm going over the top. I just really would like a settled life and yes, I think I would like to meet someone. Maybe I've been scarred by the previous relationship ( she repeatedly broke up with me 5 over the course of a 7 year relationship in rather cruel ways)
Based on what I've written should I knock it on the head for a bit?
posted by blokefromipanema to Human Relations (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It does sound like you're doing it either just because you feel you have to or because you are scared of being alone. That indicates to me that you're actually not over your ex. I do think that it's a problem to go from one relationship straight into dating or another relationship. If you never learn to be alone and like your own company then the person you'll find yourself in a relationship with may not be the one for you (since they don't know the real you or you're kind of just using them as a placeholder). Maybe try something like a 3-month break and at the end of that time, see how you've done and if you want to start back. While you're on a break, read How to Be An Adult in Relationship.
posted by dawkins_7 at 6:30 AM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

That is a lot of dates and I agree that you may just need a break to feel more refreshed before going back out there. I am also on dating sites, have probably been on about 50 dates this year, and I give myself little breaks sometimes because it is EXHAUSTING and emotionally draining. Also I think it’s necessary in order to give it your “all” with the next person you meet.

You say that a lot of your first dates don’t develop into second dates, and that it is because you don’t pursue second dates often. As you continue online dating, this may be something you want to change. I don’t think everyone’s their best self all the time on first dates. You don’t always have the chance to see someone how they really are immediately, because everyone’s a little nervous. Try looking over some things and being a little more open-minded and understanding with people when you first meet them, and try more second and third dates with people you’re on the fence about. You may find that your opinion of them changes over time. I am trying to do this myself, as I know that attraction sometimes grows over time with getting to know someone better.
posted by koolaidnovel at 6:35 AM on August 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure I have ever read a question on Ask.Me where the answer was so clear. You're not enjoying it. You're not getting anything beneficial out of it. You can always go back to it later.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:35 AM on August 29, 2018 [7 favorites]

For whenever you decide you want to try dating again: This might be location specific but in my city, is better than Tinder for midlife people looking for serious relationships.
posted by nantucket at 6:56 AM on August 29, 2018

I relate to what you're saying. I quit Tinder after reading someone's criticism of it as taking up so much energy, to keep up with all the messages and logistics and profile tweaks, she needed to hire an administrative assistant. Besides online dating being weird and alienating, it felt like my hobbies were dwindling away into just "updating OK Cupid and Tinder."

I figured that it was better to go out and try to meet people through interesting activities, because even if I didn't meet anyone I'd at least do something enriching. I did this for a few months and it was scary at first but then I met my wife.

I'm totally for dragging Tinder into the trash in your case and going out there and living life.
posted by johngoren at 6:56 AM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yes, take a break. I've gone through the same cycle of burnout (~100 dates in 8 months), and then wandered back in a few months later once I was recharged. You won't regret it.
posted by matrixclown at 7:07 AM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes, I think for a lot of people dating apps have become a form of social network - curating your brand in photos and profiles, then swiping and messaging all gamified with likes and matches.

Regardless you should probably take a break and focus on doing activities you enjoy, but try to limit the time spent on dating apps and going on dates - be more selective at earlier stages to avoid wasting time and then when you go on dates you can put more effort in. I found that when I was just meeting for a drink or two at a bar that both people weren't really trying, would make small talk and tell the same stories and jokes, and then just be left feeling rather meh. Whereas when we had more in common and planned more of an activity date - even just a walk with some stops say, then it was far more enjoyable and also more likely to lead to a connection.

It is also hard to get a sense of someone truly from a first date - both can be on best behaviour, perhaps a bit guarded - so use it more to confirm that profile is accurate, common interests are real and no massive red flags or incompatibilities then suggest a second date where you can see if more chemistry once relaxed.

Good luck. It is hard for everyone on there, and the apps would rather keep you playing than leave...
posted by JonB at 7:10 AM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it sounds like the rituals surrounding the dating app and the first dates aren't leading anywhere except to your exhaustion, so I think it may be time to delete the app for a bit and find something else to do.
posted by xingcat at 7:21 AM on August 29, 2018

Should I quit Tinder?


Online dating is clearly not working for you and it’s probably become performative and mechanical. I think you should take a step back from the Internet, deepen your real life friendships and expand your networks (social, professional, etc). If you can afford it, I’d even suggest a long trip to somewhere really far and exotic to clear your mind.
posted by Kwadeng at 8:48 AM on August 29, 2018

I thought the best thing to help me get over it and move on was to hit the dating scene.
I'm not sure it has really [been successful] as I compare all my dates to her.

That’s pretty much all you need to know. You tried something, it didn’t work, it’s time to try something else.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:02 AM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just really would like a settled life and yes, I think I would like to meet someone.

I don't think the issue is so much whether or not to quit the dating sites, but how to use those dating sites to get what you want. When I was on dating sites (mostly OKCupid), I found things became less confusing and frustrating for me, when I only set up first dates with people who indicated that they were in the same emotional space as me and were looking for something similar. In online dating being selective (aka, not going on 150 dates in 2 years), is a much better strategy.

Additionally, if you really want to be settled and meet someone, you'll have to be ready to be vulnerable around someone and expose yourself to some risk of heartbreak. That is not something that can be accomplished in a first date. First dates are for establishing that you share some intellectual connection, have similar values, feel a little chemistry, and are looking for the same things. If you have any sense of this, then you should be going out on second or third dates so you have time to deepen a connection with someone.

Having fun and hooking up is great, if that's what you want. But if that's not what you want, then you'll have to be more thoughtful.
posted by brookeb at 10:28 AM on August 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Quit. You can always go back to it later.
posted by wryly at 10:34 AM on August 29, 2018

Should I quit Tinder?

Yes. It doesn't sound like you are having any fun at all!

The best way to get over someone/something and enjoy life is to do fun things (mountain biking, painting, getting a dog) and/or purposeful things (volunteering, building furniture, learning a language). Get to know yourself and what is interesting to you outside of how it might fit in with another person/relationship.

That will give you more things to talk about when you do meet someone. Even better, you could then skip the boring coffee-drink meets altogether and do one of those activities for a much more interesting first date with someone who also enjoys them.
posted by headnsouth at 10:36 AM on August 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Nothing wrong with taking a break. If it's no fun and a lot of work, you can step off. No-one is making you do any of this. It's not something you have to do.

Step off the treadmill and go for a walk.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:50 AM on August 29, 2018

First of all, yes, of course you can take a break! Even if it's just for a few weeks or a month. It's not unusual for folks to go a bit crazy dating after a break-up, but it sounds like it's getting in the way of your emotional recovery. Are you also making sure to spend time with friends and pursuing hobbies of interest? Don't neglect the rest of your life to date. Therapy could also help you get past that relationship.

I wonder if there's a way to be more selective in your dating? On OKC and Tinder, you can indicate you are interested in something potentially longer term. You can also narrow your parameters to folks who may be in a similar place in life.

I don't think you can tell about someone until you meet in person, and dating really can be a numbers game... but maybe you are looking too much for the ego stroke of the match and the fun of the messaging rather than really focusing on the women you are dating?

But, yes, go ahead and take a break. It doesn't mean you're not looking to meet someone. It just means you're taking a bit of time for some self-reflection.
posted by bluedaisy at 6:03 PM on August 29, 2018

Yeah, definitely. It's not like it's the only way to meet someone.
posted by Miko at 7:49 PM on August 29, 2018

It sounds like you're not able to connect with people on the dates you've made via apps. To decide whether to keep using them, think about why that's the case. Is it because you're not yet ready to connect with anyone? Because something about the process (such as seeing so many options out there) makes it so your head isn't in the game? Because you're not finding the right people online?

Figuring that out might lead you to change your strategy, maybe by taking a break from dating, maybe by focusing more headspace on a single person you meet via Tinder, maybe by meeting people in different ways.
posted by metasarah at 5:56 AM on August 30, 2018

If you don't want to do the online dating thing and are instead willing to put yourself out there more that's probably ideal. The problem with online dating and apps is that there are expectations going in. Even if it doesn't seem that way. People who meet in person often meet in situations where they repeatedly get to see each other. A coffee shop where they bump into each other every now and then, or a class they took etc, etc. So the repeated seeing develops a hidden repoir even if you don't actually talk to each other. It also means there are no expectations of the person. Online dating does create expectations right away. You expect the person to look like their picture, you expect them to be ready to potentially date you or possibly give you a peck on the cheek after the date.... Even though expectations like these are light, they still add a certain amount of pressure. At the end of an online date even if you have a good time you still come up with the question: Do I want to see this person again? Well, I like them... but not enough to want to sleep with them... so I guess not. Meanwhile if you had met that person in a more relaxed way you don't have to ask yourself such questions. You'll just be happy to see them the next time you bump into them at the cafe and maybe by the third or fourth time bumping into them you'll realize you are more attracted than you realized previously.

If you still want to do the online dating thing: If taking this route understand that apps do not have a good track record for solid relationships, but due to today's constraints It makes sense that people often feel they have no other option. In this case I'll acknowledge the part where you said it's very time consuming. YES IT IS. I would suggest you stick with only ONE app. Choose between either Tinder or Bumble. Or if you're ok with a smaller dating pool I would suggest you stick with only The HINGE app. It doesn't allow swiping so it's much less time consuming. It just gives you certain matches per day and it's harder to swipe through a ton like you can on the other apps. (Unfortunately a lot of the people on bumble and tinder are on Hinge too, but many aren't and at least it's not as much of a time drain.) If you believe the NYTimes Hinge has the most wedding announcements from people to have claimed to have met on an app there than all the other apps combined. This might have to do with the fact that it makes it hard to fall prey to the 'disposable people swipe syndrome' that the other apps have which give people endless options- perfect for people who never have any intention of finding a solid partner and just want to play games. So there's that idea. But this is from reading an article about it and someone with actual experience on it might know more.

Either way I think getting away from apps is healthier for most people and you could probably use a break, but those are some options. If you're going to do it, use only one and try to limit the amount of time you spend on them. They can be real time sucks.
posted by fantasticness at 8:57 AM on August 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

It sounds like you're just going through the motions of dating without really savoring the experience.

I would suggest that you put your time (and money!) toward meeting FRIENDS while developing an enjoyable hobby, perhaps via Meetup or the local stargazing or hiking communities or a book clup or group dance lessons or something similar. Just to cleanse your palate and to stop making this your full-time job.

Meanwhile, you could consider staying on dating sites, but be much more stringent in your meetup requirements. Engage in more conversation before the date. Talk to 1-2 people at a time, max, and go on only that many dates a month. You might enjoy the dates more when they're no longer just rote activities for you, and when you no longer feel pressured to say 'yes' to every single person.

Best of luck.
posted by aquamvidam at 8:08 AM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

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