When I deleted all of my dating apps on 2nd January this year, it wasn’t a bad date that made me do it. Nor was it the dick pics (don’t panic, clicking on that link won’t show you a dick pic), or the fact that I had been ghosted…again. It was the sheer overwhelming mundanity of it all. I was spending hours swiping left on Tinder and Bumble. I would end up going to bed really late having just wasted an hour swiping left. An hour an evening? Jeez, that’s seven hours a week. I am a single mum who works full time. Imagine what I can do with an extra seven hours a week! I ditched the dating apps. I deleted the lot of them.
I have been dabbling in dating for just over a year. Some of my dates were straightforward hook-ups, some the more classic dinner-and-drinks set up. There were periods when months went past without a date. There were times when I had a couple of dates a week. I did once, quite shamefully see two different men in one evening. The first date was disastrous, so, having downed my wine and made my excuses, I called a guy who I’d seen a couple of times already.
The thing about dates met through dating apps is that almost anyone can turn up. I met with guys who looked cute in their photo but who looked nothing like their profile pic in real life. I met guys who claimed to be 6ft when they were actually shorter than me and I met guys who had good chat and banter over WhatsApp but who were extraordinarily dull over a glass of wine. I learned how to date like a millennial. I got so into the idea that I could meet anyone that I did meet anyone and I dated endless people I had absolutely nothing in common with.
Good old fashioned dating, you know, the kind where you meet someone through a mutual friend or at work, affords you a valuable filter: potential dates are effectively screened by being in a similar friendship group to you. You might get fewer dates the good old fashioned way, or in my case you might get none at all, but at least any dates you do get are likely to be of a higher quality.
The main reason why I ditched the dating apps on 2nd January this year was because I am very happy to be alone. When I left my ex I left because I knew that I would be happier on my own, even if it meant being on my own for the rest of my life. I am happier. I am happier than I have been in a long time.
It struck me as somewhat ridiculous that I was wasting hours on Tinder swiping through an endless stream of strangers when I knew that I didn’t need to meet anyone to be happy.
Since I ditched the dating apps on 2nd January this year I have been turning the light off to sleep that little bit earlier. I have been reading that little bit more. I have been listening to Podcasts rather than swiping through endless photos on my morning commute. I have been reading more blogs. I have been writing more blog posts. I have just a little bit more time.
I can’t promise you that I have ditched the dating apps for life – they are quite addictive – but for the time being my phone and my mind are enjoying being free of the endless distraction.