Married woman tries Tinder for a day and is surprised at how bad it is

Full disclosure: I’ve never used Tinder. I’ve been on Bumble off and on since 2019 and I’ve had some decent dates. I have a process I use to screen. There are automatic disqualifiers (‘just ask,’ ‘something casual,’ ‘love breweries and wineries,’ no check for vaccination, etc). I also ask guys to video chat before I’ll meet, and that has helped make sure that they’re the same people, that they can show up on time and that they’re not creepy or red-flaggy. That only didn’t work in about two instances, and I’ve been lucky compared to other women. Dating is work. It was work before the apps and the apps just add more layers and annoyances, along with the illusion of choice. 95% of men I wouldn’t even bother talking to. Reading the /r/bumble subreddit with the experiences of younger women in major cities has been reassuring that what I’m experiencing is sadly typical.

That’s all preface to this story about a married woman who tried Tinder so she could write about her experience. The apps didn’t exist when she met her husband and she had no idea what they were like. She was clear with the men she talked to that she was just trying it out. She ended up incredibly frustrated, which is understandable. Her story of using a dating app for a day doesn’t sound that bad. It was more like she just had culture shock at how much things have changed. She even matched with a guy and they had a nice conversation. If you can do that after a day you’re lucky! It can take days for that and it takes at least five people for me to even find one to video chat. Here’s part of her writeup and you can read more at YourTango:

Originally, my idea was to experiment with the social networking app Tinder for 48 hours.

However, it took less than four hours for me to be absolutely grossed out with the state of the Tinder-verse, and I had to power through to even make it to 24.

Just the thought of opening the app and seeing the little orange dot informing me of a new message makes my stomach churn the same way it did when I had the stomach flu last winter and wanted to die a horrible, horrible death on the bathroom floor…

The number of guys shooting guns and/or holding up dead animal carcasses was crazy. Perhaps this is a Midwestern Tinder phenomenon? There was also a consistent theme of craft beer, dogs, and guitars…

I remembered one of the reasons I like being married is because I don’t have to do that crap anymore. By the end of day one, I was practically on my knees thanking the good Lord that I don’t have to date in this digital age because it would probably kill me.

There are plenty of guys out there to date. However, the quality — much like dairy products — varies greatly. It was worth taking a chance on a few gentlemen who came across as well-spoken even though they weren’t the right match physically.

I learned that guys lie about their age (or just age horribly, I can’t tell) and that the guys who dress and look like my high school boyfriend still act just like my high school boyfriend. In 24 hours I had four offers for casual hook-ups, three requests for my phone number, and one really strange conversation that revolved around a guy owning only one set of bedsheets. Thankfully, no dick pics.

[From YourTango]

Dating can be demoralizing. As this woman found out, it can be shocking to see how many cliched and bad profiles there are. (Some are hilarious though. I just screenshot them and send them to my friends. Guy who writes like the In Living Color prison guys and shoeless dirty unvaxxed raw foodie are two recent ones.) Someone once told me not to give up on dating. You’re looking to fill a position in your life and you wouldn’t stop searching for a job after a few bad interviews. That’s why I keep at it – I only need to find one person! He’s out there. Also I have advice for everyone who is dating now. Write down what you’re looking for in a partner and a relationship. And research narcissists, love bombing and future faking. Take your time with a new person and listen to what your friends say about them.

This reminds me of one of the greatest Twitter threads of all time, advice to us old people about trying to navigate dating now.

Photos credit: Alex Green, Karolina Grabowska and Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels

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56 Responses to “Married woman tries Tinder for a day and is surprised at how bad it is”

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  1. Ines says:

    “Stay with your partner because it’s not easy and you’re not going to do any better” – this makes me so sad! I left my 1st husband when I was 37. We had been together 10 years. I was unhappy. He did not cheat on me, he was not abusive, he had a job. And people told me to stay, that relationships are hard work. I left.
    Met my second husband at work 41, married at 42. I and 50 Never been happier. And everything I was ever told before is a lie. A relationship with the right person isn’t hard work! The problem is that a lot of us settle. Simple as that. And we expect it to be hard work, so we put up with it.
    Regarding dating apps, you can still meet people the normal way, and people do.

    • Tw says:

      A lot has changed in the 9 years since you’ve been with your second husband.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Yes, a lot has changed and we should never settle BUT marriage IS hard work, even with the right person!

        You can meet someone the old fashioned way and many still do. It’s the pitfalls of being single as you can still have a hard time finding someone with or without dating apps.

        Many relationships are tricky, whether they be romantic or not. Working relationships, friendships and many other interactions with other people do get hard at times. We just have to work at all of them, it’s part of being human.

      • Bre says:

        A male friend of mine was trying to use for dating and was complaining about how terrible it was. He gave me his login info so I could give him advice and OMG. His bio was ridiculously long and obnoxious. In One of his pictures he was making the “shocker” sign (not because he is a WSU fan) and all the women he bookmarked were gorgeous but either they were scam accounts or real women that had NO matching interests with my friend. I went through and found profiles of women that were cute (not supermodel) and that actually had common interest with him and he was uninterested in all of them. Like Dude, your not that great of a catch….8 years later he is still single and more bitter. It sucks for straight, single women!

      • Ines says:

        @Bre I think it sucks for him too, right? Because, going for women out of his league means he is also ending up by himself. Problem of his own making, of course.

        @BothSidesNow, marriage CAN be hard work, and I can attest to that. It not always is, though, is what I have learnt.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        I met my husband a few years ago on bumble. My experiences before him were nice enough with a few crazies that slipped through screening.

        Best Advice I got was to try everyone. Date outside your “type” because your type hasn’t found you the one.
        Loosen your screening a bit and you might be surprised by what you find.

        And I’m of the mind that marriage is hard work, but if both people are working towards the same goal then it never feels like hard work.

    • Zazane1234 says:

      @Ines, I’m so happy for you! You are right, relationship shouldn’t be hard work (at least not all the time!). Life is too short to settle down.

      I met my boyfriend on Tinder a few years ago, we hit it off on the first date. We have been happy together ever since and are expecting a baby in a few days. 💓 I know at least 2-3 other couples with the same « love story. » Everything isn’t always negative people!!

      • Ines says:

        Thank you for this. I had many relationships in the past including a previous marriage. ALL of them hard work. It’s not that I learnt from them, and vowed never again to have a relationship that wasn’t perfect. it’s simply that I finally happened to meet the right person. If only I had known it was possible before, I would have not put up with so much crap, but just look at the comments upthread “marriage IS hard work, relationships are hard work”… it’s what we are taught to believe, sadly.

        Very happy for you and all the best with the imminent arrival!

    • Twin Falls says:

      Remarrying at 40 is a lot different than being single at 50 and if you tried for a third time, well, the odds would not be in your favor.

      I had a guy message me with this line “would you be open to relocating to live in my [insert price] house on two park like acres?” I had visions of his house backing up to a cemetery.

      • Ines says:

        I had some shitty experiences in the 4 years between divorce and remarriage, so yes, I believe you. And of course, 50 is harder than 40 and 60 harder than 50.

        The point I was addressing was the one about staying in a relationship you are not happy in, because “you’re not going to do any better”. To me, being by myself was better than being in an unhappy relationship. And then I happened to meet my husband at work, bonus! But “stay in a relationship that you are not happy in”, to me, is bad advice.

      • Twin Falls says:

        I hear you and I’m genuinely happy for you that you found the relationship that makes you happy. That’s the goal, right?

        I do think the older I get the more weight I’d give being in a relationship that was okay versus setting out to find an amazing one.

        I left a toxic relationship with no regrets. Would never suggest anyone stay in one just to avoid being alone.

      • BeanieBean says:

        ‘If I’m going to be alone, I’d rather be by myself’. Marilyn Monroe, in The Misfits.

    • Chloe says:

      Agree- and happy you found the right person!

    • Matilda says:

      I was told constantly to settle, that I was being too picky. I was in some good long term relationships that just didn’t work out and a failed engagement. I went on apps and dating sites and always quit within a week. I do recommend trying them because I have friends that met their partners on apps so I do think it’s worth a try. The last time I was on an app I quit after a week and came away with the message that I was sought after and I will try to flirt more when I meet someone I like. Two days later at a friend’s cocktail party I met THE ONE. We are both happy that we met in person and neither settled. But that’s my story.

      • Anna says:

        Oh I’ve been told I was picky, when I did’t have a boyfriend…. at 21! And I just wanted someone who’s not an asshole and will respect me. Spent looong time alone but cringed every time I thought about settling with someone I wasn’t really into. Thank God, because when I’ve met my husband everything suddenly felt easy. So I second that, it’s only hard when it’s not right for you.

    • JesMa says:

      I too thought marriages/relationships were hard work until I met my current partner. Even all these years later it is effortless. It isn’t perfect, but it natural and easy. That being said, I think it takes a bit of luck to find someone perfectly suited for you. I don’t think everyone will be lucky, and I do think it is harder the older you get.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      I think it’s the age you got married at that makes the difference. I got married at 40 and after a decade if we were to divorce I would NEVER date again.

      I always found the process of dating soul crashing and there’s no way I would put myself through it again, I don’t even care about sex. The only person with whom I found the dating process was really easy was my husband, reason 1 why we got together.

    • Miss Margo says:

      This! I just left my husband and I can’t remember the last time if was this relaxed and happy. I won’t do the dating apps (I don’t have social media) so either I meet someone the old fashioned way, or stay alone. I’m happy either way.

  2. Dena L says:

    So…we single people tell marrieds how bad it is for eons but they have to see for themselves for our experiences to be valid? Okay, then :/

    And, yes, I used to screenshot and send to my friends for laughs but it eventually got too depressing. They all joke I should be a private investigator because I’ve got so good at finding out if they’re lying/in town for a conference/ married, etc.

    It’s not just demoralizing, it’s depressing and will really make you question your self-worth. I’ll probably die alone at this point 😜

    • Blinkb says:

      There was a great article not that long ago from a late 30s woman saying she’s come to terms with being on her own, which is very much the point I’m getting to. Dating apps are HARD and require investment and time. I deleted the apps about 6 months ago, but have recently felt an inkling to go back on again. Once you’ve done it enough, you see through the crap very easily, and can navigate it better and have some decent dates, so this married woman’s take on things is frankly irrelevant. There are good people on there, but finding that spark plus enough of the meaningful stuff altogether in one person who isn’t in desperate need of therapy is tough. Men need to go to therapy in a big way. Women too. Way too many people on apps working through their issues with hapless dates

    • LadyMTL says:

      I have a very good friend who is using FB dating and she’ll also share stories, and it all just reinforces my belieft that those kinds of apps are not for me. (Yet my brother met his now wife on one, go figure!)

      Being in my mid 40’s makes it a bit tougher already, never mind that I don’t have a huge social media presence and am also an introvert.
      I’ll die alone with you, I guess! 😛

      • Blinkb says:

        Haha! I’m lucky in that I don’t mind being single for a while, though I know that’s not for everyone, I’m rather happy doing my own thing

    • Megs283 says:

      Dena, I’m married and I believe you. That column is annoying. It’s like… OH IF A MARRIED PERSON SAYS IT, IT MUST BE BAD! 🙄

    • Lexilla says:

      Yes Dena, I found this woman’s writing offensive. “I decided to slum it with the singles and omg it’s so much worse than I thought.” I’m happily married, and I’d rather read a single person’s experiences and funny insights than this weird cosplay.

      • EllenOlenska says:

        To me, the unspoken implication was, “See, I’m married, I’m not some single woman writing about how hard this is who probably has something ‘wrong’ with her and therefore isn’t getting dates! My married status “proves” I am desirable! So if I give it all of 24 hours and say it’s hard, we’ll you can believe me!”

        To which I say…honey, men on death row get engaged.

    • Lili says:

      I think I will die alone also. After trying Tinder for a few years and after having my heart broken hard I just don´t have the energy anymore. I deleted it and went back again and just got anxious because I could not feel anything but annoyed looking at the profiles. I decided just to let go, maybe one day my luck will change. It is sad because I think I am a very nice person with a lot to give. But what to do 🙁

      • Hell Nah! says:

        Hang in there Lili – and everyone else. It only takes one great person to turn things completely around!

      • buenavissta says:

        Lili, I hear you loud and clear and I’d bet my paycheque on your goodness and worth. This is not a kind world we live in. Please stay true to yourself and believe in what makes you beautiful and special.

  3. Michelle Connolly says:

    When I was on the apps (for about 7 years) one of my friends and I invented a game called Tinder Top Trumps, you screenshot a profile that was worse in some way than the one they had last sent you. It was woeful at times. However, I met my now-fiancé 3 years ago and I didn’t realise people could even be this happy. Yes it’s sifting through a LOT of frogs (for YEARS) but all you need is one. So I’d say don’t give up! And also be your authentic self because they need to like actual you, not internet dating mask you.

    • Blinkb says:

      Agreed. And knowing yourself, doing the work on yourself makes it easier too. You’re more likely to spot the red flags, and set boundaries, which are important. Way too much love bombing and ghosting going on, and people needing their egos stroked.

  4. Bananarama says:

    As someone who got a divorce close to 40, the advice of “stay married – it’s better than dating” sounds like horrible advice. Dating sucks, sure, but not as much as being in a toxic 11 year relationship did. I’ll stay single and enjoy my own company before I’ll spend another day with any partner who makes me feel bad. No thank you.

    Plus – it’s not hard to take a break from dating if you aren’t feeling it or your mental health needs a break. I encourage everyone to trust their gut and be kind to themselves. Dating isn’t everything.

  5. Bookie says:

    I left a toxic relationship at 49 and decided to give dating apps a committed try. I bought the paid memberships for more than three dating apps and went on several dates – coffee, drinks, afternoon walks etc. All of them were lovely, even though many weren’t my type. I did hard-core screening first and was choosy without being too picky and dismissing people for minor pet peeves. I ultimately met my husband at a party at a mutual friend’s house, but I guess my point is that the dating apps aren’t all that bad if you take the time to properly screen future dates. For me, that meant seeing only ones who had indicated in their profile that they were looking for commitment. It’s not *that* bad out there. Being alone is certainly better than staying in a very unhappy marriage and if you don’t want to be alone, dating apps are not horrible.

    I put “no Tea Party Republicans” in my profile, so maybe that helped weed out the crazies too. 🙂 These days, I would put “no MAGAts.”

    • Eleonor says:

      I was on bumble and adopteunmec (a French app) I have met decent polite men.
      Not the great love, but I can’t complain. I went out for a couple coffee but it didn’t work out, now I am still in contact with one guy I have met, we became friends.
      I tried Tinder and meetic but I found those app really awful.

  6. Blinkb says:

    Absolutely, you have to do the work on the apps. Massive learning curve!

  7. Marishka says:

    The podcast A Single Serving is a must listen for all single women!

    • Marley says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! Just listened to the episode “A Wedding Ring Is Not a Diploma” and she really tells it like it is. Smart, funny, and unapologetic. Her essays look great, too.

  8. Michael says:

    So a married person is “experimenting” with dating apps? What happened if she found a great guy or guys? Does it no longer become an “experiment?” Also, it sounds like she is grateful for being married because being single is hard not because she is happy or values her partner. Sounds ike she may “experiment” more in the future

  9. tisme says:

    I have been separated and now divorced for a few years and I have ZERO desire to go on a dating app. I’m 48 and honestly, the stories of the men on there just gross me the F out. I love being single right now and if a relationship happens organically, then great. If not, I am good ok with that too.

  10. Katherine says:

    I used it for a couple of weeks, never hooked up with anybody, but I rarely do, and met a few interesting people with whom I had online chats about things that interest me and they actually gave me some useful advice about places to go and some other insights about things we had in common. It was all very respectful and harmless. Guys in person and online usually are two different people so I can’t imagine really meeting someone online, I did it because I was just too upset about being single that one night. At the end of the day (or rather, the two weeks), I did not find what I was looking for there either and I got tired of having to answer people’s messages out of politeness so I deleted it. But I won’t say it’s that horrible. At least, it wasn’t for me personally.

  11. Imara219 says:

    I met my now-husband at work. I just started the job and moving back to my Alum mater campus for a job. Anyway, it was one of those gradual build-up things on my end. I can’t imagine what it would be like to navigate dating now with these apps. As an introvert, I would probably love aspects of it but hate how disingenuous people are. That dating advice thread from Twitter makes me laugh whenever I see it. It’s hilarious with the accuracy (based on my societal observations).

  12. Coconut says:

    I recently got back onto the dating market after my I broke up with my Tinder fiancé of 3 1/2 years. At 57 it’s not going as badly as I thought it might. Men in their 20s, 30s and 60s are most interested in me. ?? I’m on Hinge and Tinder; Hinge is a lot better than Tinder, although screening is still super important. I get a fair number of likes with very few messages, and get a relatively low response rate when I write notes.

  13. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    I used to work with a girl who was always on Bumble and Tinder. Good lord!!!!
    I think if I had to date these days, I would check myself into a nunnery and I am
    A) Not Catholic
    B) an Atheist
    MerlinsDad and I met through a mutual friend and he had to work to get me to even go out with him, since I am such an introvert and didn’t want any part of a relationship
    Here we are 43 years later and I am lucky and blessed that he hung in there and waited.
    I don’t envy the singles looking for a relationship (no matter their age) today

  14. Vera says:

    I too feel for straight women in this regard. But my only familiarity with Tinder is that many queer poly friends (both married and not) seem to meet most of their partners and dates that become friends through that app over others.

  15. Luna17 says:

    I got divorced in 2014 after a 10 year relationship at 27 and was thinking I would have to give the apps a try. Luckily I met my now husband the old fashioned way- at a bar haha. I have a friend that met her partner on plenty of fish and they are having a baby together. My husband and I joke about how all our single, “straight” women friends are now dating other women and seem happier than ever. We live in a pretty LGBTQ friendly area and I’ve noticed a lot of women get out of long term relationships with men and are now dating women. My husband thinks it’s because so many men just suck these days and women are more educated and going to therapy and better catches. Men need to step it up on these apps.

  16. Joanna says:

    The hardest part for me about marriage was knowing when to give up. We got married too soon. We each thought we knew the other but we didn’t. We had put on the best versions of ourselves. We struggled with communication, we each had different versions of what marriage should be. Now I’m with someone who is more compatible. It was hard to leave my marriage, I loved him and my mother kept pressuring me to stay. I didn’t know if this was typical married life and maybe I just needed to adjust. But I just wasn’t happy so finally I gave up. Once divorced, I tried Bumble. Met mostly guys just looking for sex. Then a friend of a friend sent me a FB request. Then his brother sent me a chat request and asked me on an actual date and now we live together!

  17. Meg says:

    ‘research narcissists, love bombing and future faking’
    Honestly this should be a class in high school. I highly highly recommend this!

  18. Surly Gale says:

    I filled out an application on a dating app – it was extensive. I was really honest and open about the who/what/where and why of me. With heart pounding, I finally pressed send. About 3 minutes later there was a response: We have no matches for you! Pretty much reinforced that I’ll be on my own now for ever. All I can say is..thank goodness for my dogs!!!!

  19. Brian+Brown says:

    I can’t even get people to message me. So, at least you aren’t ignored all together.

  20. msmichele99 says:

    The third’s the charm! Had a starter marriage in my early 20s (old enough to know better, not old enough to do better), and a long miserable marriage in my mid-30s to late 40s (I settled bc I wanted a family). I was sooooo happy being single and was not interested in anything serious and definitely not marriage – I had done my time and I was done taking care of a man – UGH! Well, in my mid-50s, dating apps confirmed everything the Tinder-tryer said … then out of the blue (non-dating app) along came my perfect match – 6 years younger, smart, stable, financially solvent and responsible, and wickedly funny. Marriage can be easy with the right person – you just have to figure out what you want, stand your ground, love yourself enough to be alone, and take a risk on someone who might not be perfect on paper or your perfect physical specimen.

  21. Fleur says:

    Why are people trying Tinder which is the worst, scummiest hook up app?? Folks, try Hinge or Coffee Meets Bagel or even Bumble.

    A lot of my friends, and myself as well, have had success meeting people through apps, but it is rough and you have to brace yourself for a lot of rejection and convos that go nowhere. I think a lot of men have terrible profiles, but not all are terrible people. Be safe of course, but please don’t give up just because you’re over “x” age or have tried it before! You only need one great match for it to be the right one!

    • Bcgirl says:

      It really depends on where you live!
      Tinder may be “scummy” where you live but in other places of the world it has the most users, and many are not scummy, I promise you. I’ve met amazing people on Tinder.
      It all depends hugely on what you are seeking, and attracting.
      I say ‘what you are attracting’, because, in the case of this married chick who went on Tinder with unclear intentions and no plans (I’m guessing since she’s so happily married?) to ever meet anyone, who would be surprised if she didn’t match with anyone? Or didn’t get the matches she obviously wanted? Were your pictures supposed to do all the work hun? Please.

      Not everybody’s on dating apps to find the love of their life and live happily forever after. Lots of people are on for basic human needs. Admit it married people, you wanna look around, just like this married chick. Give it a little longer and you’ll see how fun it can be. Otherwise I think you’re just jealous.

      (Just out of a 20 year relationship, cheated on and moving on!)

      • Sandii says:

        I second this. When I am single I use tinder for hook-ups and I love it! Because I am screening for “non-serious” guys I opened up whom I date and this was a revelation. No more in their head guys. Just uncomplicated fun guys. So much better. Now men are my hobby and other than that my life is my own. (Btw I am in middle Europe, not US). And lots of the profiles ARE bad, but I have a small fee and my profile is hidden . Only guys I like to meet, get my profile…. so no sifting through messages from guys I was not interested in to begin with….

  22. Bosandi says:

    Dating is exhausting. I’ve been divorced for 5 years and am in my late 40’s now. Online dating was fun at first. I enjoyed Tinder mainly for the comedy of it all. Whatever you are looking for, it’s on Tinder. After a while when you really want to spend time with a quality person (whatever that means), it becomes a challenge. I can’t seem to do online dating for more than a few weeks or maybe 2 months at a stretch.

    My last first date had me waiting for 30 minutes. He was surprised when I wasn’t at the restaurant when he arrived. Go figure.

    I’m now on hiatus and don’t think I’ll go back.

  23. Dani says:

    Widowed at 51, and tried Tinder at a friend’s suggestion when I re-entered the dating world. Lasted exactly one day… and I’m not a person that’s easily surprised. O. M. G.

    (The story has a happy ending … I met my Second Chapter Guy two years ago, and he makes my heart happy. So now it’s just a good yarn to tell over cocktails with friends.)