Relationships

How Has Dating Changed in the Past Decade?

kim rhodes

Joanna and I have both dated people in New York — but 15 years apart. I’m dating in 2020 with apps like Tinder and Bumble, but she dated in 2005 without apps, back when George W. Bush was president and Instagram wasn’t a thing. It made me wonder how different our experiences have been. So, we took each other on a date to talk about it…

ON MEETING PEOPLE:

Joanna: I met people out and about.
“When I was single, it was hard to meet people to go on dates with — I was always lamenting to my mom about it — so you had to stay open. I’d ask friends to set me up with guys, or I’d meet people at parties. Once I met a guy because he was rollerblading in Manhattan and he bumped into me and I laughed and he circled back and asked me out! I also met a serious boyfriend in a Kaplan LSAT class that I taught. He was a student and would draw pictures of me in his notebook during class, which was so cute.”

Kim: I meet people on apps.
“I would love to hit it off with someone at a party or be introduced by my best friend, for the ‘how we met’ story, alone! People on apps are a pretty mixed bag, and it can seem like a chore sometimes. But living in a big city yields an interesting array of people — I’ve met the most fascinating people online. I once met a guy who had run the New York City Marathon that morning, and we went out for drinks that night. We both happened to love education and ended up talking about Sesame Street for half the date! Some of my fondest dates were with people visiting for the week from another country — I’m still friends with a few.”

ON HOW OFTEN DATES HAPPEN:

Joanna: I went on six dates a year.
“I’d probably go on about six to eight first dates per year. If the date wasn’t great, but wasn’t terrible, I’d often give it another shot. There was no reason not to give people a second chance, because there was no one waiting in the wings — dating overall felt slow paced.”

Kim: I go on a date every week.
“For a while, I went on a date once a week or more. It’s so easy to set them up online. My colleagues laugh when I talk about ‘scrounging up a date’ for the weekend.”

ON SETTING UP THE DATE:

Joanna: The guy would call.
“In my experience, the guy would call and leave a cute awkward voicemail. Then I would call back and we would plan the date. It felt old-fashioned, in a good way.”

Kim: I do the asking online.
“On apps, the conversation can go on and on without any sign of an end, so a lot of times I’ll say something like, ‘Hey! We should go get drinks, yeah?’ They’re always pleasantly surprised, and it gets the ball rolling. When the convo switches from the app messaging system to texting each other’s phone numbers, it feels more personal. Like, ‘Ok, we’re doing this!’ Usually the day of the date, we’ll text each other inside jokes from earlier in our conversations. It helps a lot, because once you walk through the door, the ice is already broken. You’ve already been talking with this person, and you have a rapport.”

ON SNOOPING ONLINE:

Joanna: You couldn’t find much.
“I’d sometimes Google people but you didn’t get much info because people didn’t have as much of an online presence. Instagram wasn’t even around yet.”

Kim: I can find anything.
“I don’t know whether I’m ashamed or impressed with how well I can snoop on someone — give me two minutes and I’ll find their Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. You don’t even need to know their last name.”

ON DINNER VS. DRINKS:

Joanna: We’d go to dinner.
“I liked dinner dates because there was an obvious beginning, middle, and end, whereas drinks felt more awkward, like, ‘When is the date over?’ Dinner was more of a splurge, but since I didn’t go on that many dates, it was okay.”

Kim: We meet for drinks.
“Ten times out of ten, it’s drinks. It’s fun to meet for drinks, and if the date is good, you can continue the conversation (not a euphemism) at a second location where food is possibly involved.”

ON AN AGE RANGE:

Joanna: I stuck to my own age.
“Guys would usually be around my age since I met them through friends, but then I met Alex, who is 13 years older than I am. He would’ve been outside my specified age range if I had been online dating!” 

Kim: I loosened things up.
“I used to set my app parameters for guys within a three-year age range (younger and older). Then my friend Leslie urged me to up my parameters… like WAY up. I was skeptical — I thought I wouldn’t have anything in common with someone older, but it was actual a total game changer. My current boyfriend is six years older than I am, and it’s the perfect fit because we’re still in the same decade, but our views on pop culture and music are completely different! It’s fun to learn those things from each other; plus, his self-awareness and life perspective are an added bonus.”

ON SEXUAL TIMING:

Joanna: It’s all about what feels right.
“I would kiss on the first date if we hit it off, and then I took a really long time to sleep with people. Not for any reason except that’s what felt right to me.” 

Kim: It’s all about what feels right.
“I pretty much always kiss on the first date, unless it’s a dud. Same with sleeping with someone! Since I’ve had lots of previous conversations with them, I already have a sense of who that person is, I feel closer to them, and it becomes easier to kiss or sleep with them, sooner. I used to follow the don’t-sleep-with-someone-on-the-first-date rule, and after a while I just didn’t see the need to follow it anymore. It’s all about what feels right, in the moment.”

How has dating changed for you over the years? We’d love to hear what you think…

P.S. What are your random turn ons, and do you care about height when dating?

  1. C-M says...

    Hello,
    I loved this article! As a French living in the USA, the dating culture here in the US is SOOO different from what I experienced. In France, you go out with someone to dinner when you know that you are going to have a relationship with them, when it is kind of serious. If you want a one night stand, you go out, meet someone and have fun that same day but you both know that it will not evolve into something serious unless dinner is involved. I guess food is connected to intimacy in the French culture. I have no idea but that’s my experience.

  2. I met my now husband on OKC 6 years ago (my late 20s, his early 30s). That was online dating attempt #3 over a span of 5 years for me. I learned some handy rules that made the whole process of online dating less annoying that I’d like to share:

    1) Paid sites don’t necessarily equal more reliable dates. Sites like OKC just have more people on them, period. So your pool is much wider/deeper.
    2) I learned not to “put all my eggs in one basket” so that I’d line up multiple dates in a week to take the pressure off any one date. If Friday drinks was a bust, I had Sunday lunch to look forward to.
    3) I always only communicated through the app and never gave my last name or place of employment until at least 3 dates in for safety reasons. Sometimes men don’t take rejection well even if it is delivered kindly.
    4) Get to the date as quickly as possible. Messaging or texting a lot beforehand can feel like a good thing, but no amount of pre date conversation can make up for zero chemistry. Then you feel like you wasted a ton of time and emotional energy.
    5) Cast a wider net than you otherwise would in terms of filters like occupation, age, etc. because we are often our own worst enemies – throwing roadblocks up that really don’t need to be there. BUT be very honest with yourself – you can’t squeeze mill from a rock. I learned that I liked men who are taller than me at 5’5″ but that men lie about height, so I set the filter for 6′ knowing I’d get guys 5′ 7″ and up (and of course my husband padded his count!). On the other hand, I let go of assumptions about my future spouse’s profession which I always thought would be some white-collar job to match mine. My hubby is an electrician and we couldn’t be happier.
    6) Don’t overthink your profile. Pretend the profile is a conversation with a new acquaintance at a bar, running club, or church – are you going to wax philosophical about your love journey to that stranger? Tell them all about your recent disappointing dates after they’ve complimented your sunglasses? Keep it light, include at least one recent, full-body photo, and don’t be afraid (this is for you, ladies) to say EXACTLY what you want out of this dating app – if you put “something casual” when you mean “someone to spend my life with” don’t be surprised if you end up having bad experiences. I put something like “dating to find a long term partner.” We are made to feel ashamed by society for wanting commitment AND for not wanting it. Want what you want, girl!
    7) Finally, this life you’re living isn’t a Jane Austen novel. You don’t have to wait by the window for a year before the army comes back to town to get a date. Online dating is just one way to take control of your love life. The third time I tried it, I approached it like a mission. And even though I clearly put a lot of effort in, it still feels like the LUCKIEST thing in the world that I met my husband. Of course, I wouldn’t have had that luck if I hadn’t been going for it!

    Good luck to you all in your love journeys!!!

    • Heidi says...

      Love this comment (esp about the Jane Austen novel-ha!) and making your rules my own!! Thanks for posting.

    • EW says...

      I love this. I’m seconding the advice to “cast a wider net” – if I hadn’t known anything about my partner other than his profession, I wouldn’t have gone out with him, and that would have been a big mistake!

  3. Yvonne says...

    I would like to know the color and the brand of lipstick that Kim is wearing. Gorgeous!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Thank you! It’s Stunna Lip Paint by Fenty in the shade, Uncensored.

  4. Liz says...

    Did you guys discuss how you each ended things if it didn’t progress to a full-on relationship? I’m so curious to know how (or if) that has changed in 15 years! And the deets on bad date stories!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we did, actually! we both do/did a slow fade, which is not recommended! ;)

  5. This was such an interesting post. I’d love if you did more with people outside of NYC. I love reading about dating experiences. I lived in NYC for a brief stint 2014-2016 and did a lot of online dating. Loved Tinder but my friends from back home (rural Minnesota) and the ones who moved elsewhere didn’t have the same experiences which we chalked up to the population differences. Also once I moved out east on Long Island Tinder was no longer a good option. Instead I used Okc where I met my current lovely partner.

  6. Ne says...

    This post is EVERYTHING I needed to read. I’ll slowly process it and have something smarter & more insightful to add, but I’m already loving it without knowing EXACTLY why – honesty, clarity, kindness, perhaps?

  7. NN says...

    Joanna is much classier than I am! I’m 44 and married now, but when I was still dating* it was pretty much all about meeting guys at parties or bars, and then mayyybe following up with them either by text message or on myspace (remember that, y’alll). Dinner dates were rare for me! But then, I did like my cocktails back then :p

    *by dating i mean hooking up with

    • LP says...

      Haha, this 100%! I met my husband in 2010 but before that, the vast majority of people I dated were guys I met at bars or parties. Granted, I was in nyc where there are a lot of bars and parties, and I had the occasional outlier (dude from the subway, dude who sent me a random MySpace message, dude who led outward bound training with my students, lol) but bars/parties were definitely my #1 date and hookup sources.

  8. KatieSue says...

    I’m Joanna’s same age. My friends all married before apps and are fascinated by my weird dating life. When we hang out I will often ask, “Hey you want to swipe through my Tinder with me?” They love it! It’s almost like they’re setting me up. If I end up going out with someone they picked they get thrilled about any progress, as if they knew the guy. But, the first time they are horrified. Their eyes get big and they look up from the phone screen with horror and ask, “This is how you meet men???” My response is always the same. “Yep! Keep your husbands healthy and happy or it’ll be how you meet men too!”

  9. KatieSue says...

    I was married for only 5 years but somehow from me getting out of dating to getting back in, everything went online! It was a shock! I’ve been single now for over 10 years and spent my entire 30s online dating. I watched it go from exclusive pay sights before smart phones, to tinder and all the versions in between. (I thought farmersonly was a joke, it’s not!) I’ve met awesome people and also gotten some hilarious stories for parties. Since turning 40, most the age range I meet are older divorced men who are re-entering dating after longer marriages. If the date doesn’t work out we often end as friends and somehow I end up guiding them through how to navigate the online scene which they are soooo behind on. Those who’ve been in it awhile are great for exchanging the crazy stories. They tell you not to talk about other men on dates, but when you meet another fun normal person, these stories are so fun to exchange and are something you two have in common. Some of the stories are insane!

  10. I’m 65 and have been married for decades. Seriously don’t how/if I could handle the whole app/dating thing.

    I have a single friend around my age who does all the apps. She had more than one lengthy “talk via text and email, never meet” situations that ended up in her being asked for money by these losers. Even smart, worldly women get caught by men like this. Lengthy, enjoyable convos, promises to meet as soon as he’s “back in town,” then the inevitable CAN I BORROW 10 GRAND?”.

  11. lauryn says...

    I remember vividly when Tinder first arrived on the dating scene. I was still in my early twenties and was considered the guinea pig of my friend group, always trying the new apps first. I was the first one to use Uber!!! Anyways, I would pull up Tinder or OKCupid and my girlfriends would help me swipe through – I had many a date (and one night stands, yikes) this way. Not one ever went anywhere meaningful, and I got ghosted a lot. I even ghosted a few people myself (yeah, not proud of that). Years later, I was in graduate school and living with a close guy friend. Still trying to meet someone, I would secure dates through Tinder or OKCupid. My friend/roommate would always ask me before I left if I felt safe, and offered to come pick me up if things didn’t turn out well. Needless to say, that guy friend I was living with during my Tinder days turned out to be more than just a friend. We’ve been together 5 years and I truly do not miss those damn apps at all.

  12. Scott says...

    Jo is the kind of girl I would date, and from a similar era. Single at 38, I can’t seem to get started with apps. Never could, even if I did manage regular first dates (which I usually called “first meetings”) in NYC. In Phoenix now and it’s tougher. Dunno how anyone meets here.

  13. H says...

    I just want to stress the importance of safely dating online. After some bad experiences last fall, I now google everyone I might meet and only give my Google Voice phone number out. I’ve been online dating off and on for over 12 years, and just recently started again after a 5-year break. I’ve never given a second thought who potential dates are until this past fall, when a guy I went on one date with started acting very creepy. He only had my real phone number, not my address or last name, but when I googled my phone number MY LAST SEVEN ADDRESSES came up- and a list of my family and friends and email addresses. I spent the day removing as much information as I could and signed up for a Google Voice number, but please, please be careful out there. It’s extremely easy for people to get your address and information, and most of the men you meet online are strangers who could be anyone.

    It would be great if you could mention this in your post, Joanna! There are some good articles out there about how to protect yourself and your information when online dating.

    • E says...

      Yes! There is way too much public information out there – google voice number is the way to go!

  14. Leeza says...

    I’m a so-called elder millennial and was really resistant to online dating since I had this idea that romantic love finds you in a meet-cute type of way. I drunkenly agreed to get on Tinder in solidarity with my best friend, and had so much fun! Maybe it was the verve of a Chicago summer but I met up with three guys, all of whom I saw more than once, and one is still my beloved partner. I applied the same parameters to online dating as to IRL dating: trust your gut, keep an open mind, be safe, and show positivity to receive positivity! I imagine that in the 1950s/60s/70s women were also navigating the changing ecosystem of dating, so we’re just adapting to the times.

  15. W says...

    I could write you an entire post about my dating app experiences. I nicknamed all of them. for giggles – I went out with a guy who I nicknamed “Vampire Chrisitan Gray” I met more weirdos then anything good. Worse date ever was going to church service with a guy and his twin daughters age 5 – I told him he should never bring his kids on first dates. It was odd. I could go on and on about dating nightmares.

    • Amy says...

      Holy moley. That’s so awkward. Did you know that he had kids before you went on the date?

      Can you imagine how awkward it must have been for the kids?!

  16. MJ says...

    Joanna, you should write a post (if you haven’t already… but I don’t remember one) on what it’s like to be married to someone older. My husband and I met in college so we’re only 5 months apart in age and have basically been at the same ‘life stage’ for our whole relationship (although I did break up with him for awhile because he moved back in with his parents after graduation. I was harsh at 22!).

    • Margot says...

      I would also be interested in hearing more from “May-December” couples. Newly dating again at 30, I find myself more attracted to men 10ish years older than I (or more). I was skeptical of my own feelings at first but remind myself often that one of my closest friends and favorite people is a woman in her sixties who married late in life – she and her 80-something husband are blissfully together (though their 20-year age gap does present some challenges).

  17. Natalie T. says...

    I love love this conversation! I’ve been on both sides of the coin being of Joanna’s generation but even “back in the day,” was online dating. I think it’s become way more superficial then it was 15 years ago. After being on and off apps, sites, etc. I’ve made some good friends out of it but no romantic prospects (oh, and avoid Inner Circle. That app did not work for me and they make you pay $50 to even send a message back or edit your profile). So for now, I’m taking a bit of a backseat, focusing on me, and if I’m so inclined will start reaching out to my network for introductions and if I’m invited to an event outside of a comfort zone (birthday party of a friend of a friend), I’ll go. I don’t have to stay, right? It’s more of putting myself out there than anything and not getting discouraged if something doesn’t work out. And also being open to people who may not usually be “your type.” Also, also: you both look fabulous and so at ease with yourselves. xo

  18. Samantha says...

    oh my. i’m a die hard romantic and always wanted to meet someone in person, by chance. and then i realized i moved to a small-ish town in Iowa (from DC!!) and i’d have to go online to meet anyone at all. I had to practice on my cousin Sahil’s tinder to feel comfortable enough to download it for myself (he’s in NYC, ladies, on tinder, and the best so look him up!) and when i first downloaded it and someone messaged me i threw my phone across the room and was terrified. definitely wasn’t ready. and then 6 months later, after another fling from meeting-in-person fizzled out, i tried it again…and about 3 dates/different guys in, i met my person (who, on our first date, we found out we HAD met in person at a business meeting 7 months before!) so it’s kind of a fun double-meeting best of both worlds type story. <3

  19. Jenny says...

    One time, my online date mugged (Robbed? He pulled my hair really, really hard and ran with off with my tote bag, including my wallet and my cell phone, and I’m a broke student) me at the END of a daytime coffee date. Though this is an extreme example, I do think the apps can sometimes bring out our lesser selves— it’s normal to disappear instead of say no thank you after multiple dates now, it’s normal to date a kajillion people at once and be cagey about it.
    I recently met a very sweet guy who is a friend of a friend. It turns out he’s disgusted by vulvas— really awkward situation to break up with someone who otherwise seems sweet and not be able to tell your friend exactly why to protect vulva-terror’s privacy.

    • Lauren E. says...

      Oh my god!! This is terrifying! So glad you’re okay.

  20. MA says...

    I met my husband 22 years ago (married 16 years!) in statistics class in grad school, where all great romances bloom. :) I love hearing everyone’s stories and experiences.

    • Joyce says...

      haha, I love it! I was a statistics TA in college, and a very busy student athlete with not a lot of free time. My boyfriend used to come hang out with me during my office hours :) Bonus points: if a student came (rare), he was much better at explaining stats to them than I was. (To this day, I don’t know why I was a TA.) Anyway, that was about a decade ago, and we’re now married!

  21. Clermont says...

    Joanna- I also taught Kaplan LSAT (in 2003) but it was me with the crush on one of my students. He was probably two years younger than me, but because he was in college still and I wasn’t that felt like a huge difference back then. In addition to teaching him, he was paying me to tutor him so anything more than just having a crush felt off-limits. And I also ended up marring an older man (14 years) who I met before apps.

  22. J says...

    It seems to me that the pervasiveness of dating apps has made meeting people IRL impossible! I live in a small town, and interact with a small circle. Sometimes I see handsome men out in the wild, but tbh, it seems creepy to strike up a flirtatious conversation with a stranger, yet I have no problem doing this on apps. I’m divorced and met my ex-husband IRL, in college. My, how things have changed!

  23. Ana says...

    I was in serious relationship for 4 years while I was in college. After I broke up with him, I was convinced i would be single for a short time before meeting someone new.. turns out, this is not how life works. I was single for 4 years : i had some dates but nothing serious (sometimes i would go on two dates in the same month and then nothing happened for the rest of the year!) , i met a bunch of crazy/narcissist/selfish men, i was ghosted a couple of times, i met the sweetest guy with whom I had NO CHEMISTRY and then felt guilty for feeling that way (should i give it another shot ? after all, he is a nice guy and i have been single for a long time … WRONG, DONT DO IT) , i tried the dating apps 5 times but had no energy for the whole flirting thing on my phone (i never activated the notifications on those apps which say a lot about my motivation). During those four years, i went through different phases and yes sometimes, mostly on Sundays, the sight of a couple holding hands or kissing in the street would totally crush me. . but what happened is that I actually learnt to love myself : i focused on what I needed, who I was, who i surround myself with, what kind of person I wanted to become, what kind of relationship I would like to have etc… When I stopped looking for the one, i actually ” saw” myself for the first.
    Last year, i was with two girlfriends and as a joke I downloaded a dating app (after i had sworn 6 months before that i would never ever do so again) and i met this cute guy who has now been my boyfriend for the past year.
    Looking back, i am so happy that we met when we did, I was not ready & i am not sure it would have worked out between us. thank to those four years with myself, I feel more confident which changes the whole dynamic in a relationship.

    • Geraldine Conway says...

      This is such an important lesson tbh. So important I think to spend time with yourself, for yourself especially after getting out of a marriage. I’m so happy you found someone at the right time and that you are happy.

    • Lauren P. says...

      Hell yes, to all of this. Twas in a very similar boat (forcing myself to date in order to not feel the ickiness of self-loathing until one day I realized “maybe I’m my own best company?”) Happy to hear you found yourself, too!

  24. d says...

    I am SO old fashioned (I’m 24) and resisted dating apps for so long. They made me feel inexplicably weird even though I’d never tried them. I insisted on only meeting people the “organic” way (lol) which was basically just girls I knew in college setting me up with guys I had nothing in common with besides a mutual friend. Still, a weird part of me wanted to be able to tell my grandkids that we’d had some grand meet-cute. Then, I moved to a big city and wanted to meet new people and downloaded bumble just for kicks. And ya know what? It feels like a modern version of You’ve Got Mail! I matched with a guy and then we realized a few weeks later that we’re neighbors. I wish I’d put myself out there sooner. I also should probably stop watching so many rom coms. :) AND…I would be so interested to know if anyone has had any luck online “friend dating.” I tried bumble bff but for some reason friend dates make me more nervous than real dates!

    • MJ says...

      “D”: I tried Bumble BFF! I went on a few dates that were fine… hung out with a couple of the girls on a repeat basis but they all fizzled out. Pros: everyone is there for the same reason, to make a new girlfriend. Cons: it’s strangely kind of laborious to strike up a friendship with someone with whom the ONLY thing you have in common is the desire to make a friend. I’ve since asked someone on a friend date who I met at a big community dinner and even just having that one little connection point has made it easier to sustain. I didn’t realize how important it was for me to have, like, that one little spark of sameness (your crazy pottery teacher, that dinner you both went to, your mutual friend, etc. etc.)

      Worth a shot, but it didn’t end up being a fit for me!

    • elinor says...

      I actually met a few good friends through Bumble BFF! I moved to the Bay Area after college and found it really hard to meet people in person. I finally downloaded Bumble BFF. It was my first time using an app to meet people (I met my long term partner in college). There were a lot of busts and flaky people, but I ended up meeting two girls who are now close friends. I was pretty surprised that Bumble ended up working out for me. I’ve met lots of other people through those two as well!

  25. stuart says...

    I love kim!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Catharine says...

    I met my husband while we were both studying in the library during grad school, he proposed in the same spot where I had been studying. Nerd alert😉.

  27. Maranda says...

    I was just talking about online dating with a friend of mine recently. I am married, but met my husband through online dating five years ago. Maybe it’s just because it was a while ago, but I don’t remember having terrible online dating experiences. I definitely had a few dates that were duds and the usual weird/overly sexual messages, but for the most part I did really enjoy the process. I have two close friends who are single and are primarily dating through apps, and listening to their stories, I dread the thought of ever having to online date again. It seems like people are now professional daters- nobody is willing to commit to one person, and it seems like just an endless cycle of date after date after date.

  28. P says...

    All these comments are fascinating! I met my husband early on life, long dating life, married for a while w/o kids, and now raising kids. All of this while watching my sister going through, eHarmony, OKC, et al., throughout all those years made me just appreciate meeting my husband the “old fashion” way. I also saw her finally “settle” at age 39 because, well, she felt now or never; while also feeling that pang of the fact that she might have actually missed “the one” but it’s easier to “swipe” at age 25 then it is at age 38.

    Funnily enough, if I had to meet my husband online today, and we had to text we would never even get to first date. He’s awful at texting; his dark humour comes across as straight up offensive.

  29. T says...

    Can i ask question for everyone posting here – is the majority from the states? Or from other countries? I’m curious, cause i have no clue what’s going on in the dating world…i’m from a european country and have been in a relationship since 2009. All my friends and my circle of acquaintance is in relationships or dating the old school way..so i don’t know if it’s a generational thing (i’m 34), or maby cultural as well…
    As usual, the comments here make half of the content(which is also amazing, don’t get me wrong!:) )

    • Christina says...

      I guess most people here are from the US. However, we are a number of people from other countries and continents too. I’m from Sweden!
      (I met my husband through common friends, in 1998 when I was 21)

  30. Awads says...

    i met my husband in 1998 in a chatroom!!! we were both involved in a very specific activity and probably would have met through that anyway. We lived in the same town, knew many of the same people, and were bound to cross paths. I am currently setting up two recently-separated friends on a date. i heart match-making, the old fashioned way!

  31. Casey says...

    I love this post and could have written it — from both perspectives. My first round of dating, around when Joanna was, was to meet “the one.” I was in a new city, first job, and figuring out life. I still marvel at how I actually met people to go on dates with. Now, fifteen years later, I’m back in the dating world after a divorce. My perspective is so different this time around, but Kim’s stories ring true. I’m trying to embrace it this time, knowing I have a lot to learn and realizing the “need” I felt the first time to find a partner just isn’t there this time. I can enjoy the process a bit more and be so very patient.

  32. Rose says...

    Dating for the divorced after 40 is brutal. What should be an enjoyable experience of shared adventures, interests and freedom for fun has become a shallow swipe society. No tolerance for anything, bored, lonely and someone is back on the apps looking for a fresh face. I follow a rule of honesty and post my true age of 49 which automatically eliminates most men my age even though I don’t look older. They list their preferences 25-40 and seem to stay within those limitations.. It truly is based on the pics, looks and how revealing they are. That is not the image I want to portray to millions of men. You can’t get to drinks where perhaps witty banter, Intellect or actual attraction can occur. So after four years no more swiping for me. Bitter? No I start everything with a clean slate .. fresh start. There is always hope for tomorrow! Eventually it will happen naturally.
    My thought is that everything comes full circle. Hopefully the next generation will wise up to this antithetical road to romance and this will fade away.

  33. Malissa says...

    What an insightful (and adorable) post! I was dating in the Time of Joanna – pre-apps and ghosting and googling in advance (for better or worse, really). Things have really changed over what is actually a fairly short span of time.

  34. Clare says...

    Loved this!

  35. Neela says...

    I’ve never used dating apps, having met my husband at work (*eyeroll) in 2008. I quit Facebook about a year and a half ago, and had some pretty severe withdrawal, and even now miss it sometimes. Just scrolling through these comments, I see that online dating seems to be very fine, something that might become habitual.
    Just out of interest- has anyone successfully found their partner, quit the apps, and then really missed the process? Like, what do I do with my time every evening now I’m not swiping and texting? Or is it just ‘good riddance!!’?

    • Neela says...

      Online dating seems to be very TIME CONSUMING, not fine!
      (What, autocorrect?!)

    • Jess says...

      I have absolutely gone through the withdrawal! I met my boyfriend through Tinder after just having gotten out of a VERY long relationship (16 years!). I was really enjoying the app, and the dates, and the newfound confidence it brought – Tinder dating can be very fun if there are no stakes. Fortunately / Unfortunately, I met my partner pretty quickly. After 4 years together, I don’t regret making the commitment so soon, but I do miss the thrill of getting to know a stranger and all the tingles that go along with making a connection.

    • Tess says...

      Nope! I have been online dating for over 25 years on and off. I met the man I thought would be the one and REJOICED every day when I did not have to go online hoping to find someone I would connect with. It was bliss to be freed from the assortment of men looking for younger women. I was so crazy in love and I thought he was too… until he wasn’t. It is a necessary evil for me as I am a teacher of middle schoolers and a single mom. I am fun, smart, adventuresome and not all too hard on the eyes. But not an Insta-chick.

      Even when I was 30, the guys wanted younger women.

      And ghosting was always around. It was simply not answering your calls or never calling in the first place, nor not calling back. We just didn’t have a slick name for it back then!

      I have not given up hope, because I am a romantic and anything can change on a dime, but I count on nothing either, no matter how many clean slate days I have….

    • Amy says...

      For me, it’s good riddance! I was doing it on and off for 5 years before I met my fiance. That calculation actually just surprised me because it felt like a LOT longer than 5 years. I would say I hit the “good riddance” stage maybe 6 months before I met ‘the one’ and looking back I’m really glad I stuck with it just a little bit longer! The swiping was exciting at first but long term it just wasn’t that fun for me. I might have felt differently if I was looking for casual hookups, but all along I knew I wanted the end game to be a relationship and it quickly got very tiring and sad to be spending so much time trying to find it when I didn’t know if it would actually happen.

      There were some fun dates mixed in, of course! But I do not miss the swiping.

  36. Sylvie says...

    Before the days of online stuff…I met my husband on a ski lift. I feel like online dating would be nerve-racking for me!

  37. W says...

    I used Tinder for the first time when I was 29. Even though I had been single for years, online dating didn’t appeal to me at all. But I swiped and swiped and landed a date. The guy and I arranged to meet at a bar, but I don’t think he ever showed up. I was too busy flirting with a cute guy I met at that very same bar to even care or notice. Long story short, I don’t know what happened with my Tinder date but I fell in love with the cute guy from the bar and we are still together 3 years later!

    • Tess says...

      Congratulations! See? There are so many of these truly serendipitous moments that I cannot give up…. even if my guy has eluded me across many continents.

  38. Hilary says...

    I met my husband swimming laps in a pool 15 years ago. He was 33 and I was 23. I remember looking to see if he was wearing a wedding ring. It was a really skeezy, indoor, public pool where the bathrooms are disgusting and filled with questionable people. Somehow, he asked for my number at the end of the lap lane. People are always befuddled by this. I love it!

  39. Jen says...

    I hope to never date again. Married since 2006, together since ’99. Is it weird though that a keep a list in my head of men that I know that I think I could possible pursue if I (God forbid) happened to find myself single in the future? They’re all married, but you never know.

    • Angela says...

      Yep. I’ve got 2 “stand bys” in mind right now. But then again, it’s a wild world out there from there looks of it.

  40. Calla says...

    I get so jealous of people who say they meet dates through friends or even have friends directly set them up. I would love to meet people in this way, but somehow even though I always have lovely, thoughtful friends this does not happen. I think it’s partly because people assume that’s what the apps are for and you don’t need it. But the more cynical part of me sometimes feels like my single friends would date anyone they knew that was eligible (fair) and my partnered friends are in such a relationship mentality they don’t really realize this is something they could do for their single friends.

    So I guess this is a PSA for people in relationships. If you have a single friend, think about inviting them to group activities with your partner’s friends/coworkers/roommates or other low-pressure ways to introduce them around. Just because they aren’t asking you directly doesn’t mean they wouldn’t appreciate it.

    • R says...

      THIS!!! I feel the same way. Most of my friends are in serious relationships or married and I feel like they don’t understand how hard it is to meet someone through an app (at least for me). If I ever ask a friend if they know any single guys, they say that the ones they know are single for a reason… come on, there has to be SOME single men out there that SOMEONE I know is connected to!!

    • Susie says...

      Maybe just ask your partnered friends to set you up? My friend did this to me when she moved back to our hometown and tbh I would never have thought about it – or if i had, I would never have been felt comfortable just randomly approaching my friend being like “hey heres this person I know want me to set you up?”.

    • Jessica says...

      Yes, this!! But also, the older you get, the less common it seems to be that my coupled friends even have other single friends… Makes for a super fun third-wheel situation that no one can make better.

    • Yulia says...

      Calla, you should totally ask your friends if they know anyone single they think you’d mesh with! If your friends are lovely and thoughtful they might be glad to hear there’s a way to enrich your life that they hadn’t considered before. (I’m single now, but never never once thought about connecting any single people in my social circles when I used to be coupled up, even though I would have been glad to!)

    • H says...

      I get this! I am responsible for setting up about 5 relationships that turned to marriage, but rarely am I set up by my friends! I’m upfront though, and ask them if they know anyone- maybe someday they’ll meet some single guy and think of me!

  41. I too have never online dated! I’ve been partnered since early 2008—I’m 40, he’s 39. We knew each other. He was in my community/circle, I was recently single, and we ended up making out after a party at a mutual friend’s house. It was game-on from there. I have many dating friends (my age, older, younger) and I do my best to empathize, but I have ZERO experience.

  42. J says...

    As someone who didn’t have much dating experience in high school or college (nerves, depression, etc.), I was a major fan of online dating after I graduated from college. I met my now fiancé (!) on OkCupid back in 2015. We texted for about a week and talked on the phone once before meeting in person. He suggested we both delete the app halfway through the date and here we are 5 years later.

    Based on what I hear from my friends, I get the sense that it is MUCH different now than it was five years ago. I hear about ghosting being the norm and the frustration of having someone “match” you and never hearing a word from them.

    My heart goes out to anyone who has been disappointed like this, but there are gems out there!

  43. Miss K says...

    Online dating is like this right now,you swipe right,you match,they either don’t message or reply or stop replying,or unmatch with you, is everyone just socially awkward on there, or just constantly looking for something better?
    Also, i want to meet up and make sure they can hold a conversation and see that they are who they portray to be,cant be bothered with mindless chat.

  44. Annie says...

    I am 23 and I have only been on dates from tinder. I wish that I met people (cute, single, nice people) in real life, but I can’t find where they’re hiding. So for now I reluctantly stick to tinder.

  45. Ooof. My husband of 7 years (9 years together) and I just split up- I’ve only been in my own apartment for a week and a half. I have never dated using apps; the idea is so terrifying to me! I am definitely not planning on dating anytime soon, but I am also newish to Austin and have almost no friend group here. I can’t even begin to imagine what it will feel like to jump back into the dating world, when I am ready. It is frankly terrifying.

    • Tiff says...

      Hi Jane! Just here to say I am going through the same thing. Married in 2013 and just separated. I organized a short girls’ trip w old friends and they helped me set up a bumble account. Zero expectations, but the banter is fun :) cheers to us newly single :)

    • Charlie says...

      You got this girl! I broke up with my partner of 4 years about 6 months ago. At first my apartment felt so empty and lonely. I’m here top testify: it does change! Now I love my cozy apt: it feels like home, my safe haven. And while I’m not partnered, I’m enjoying myself so much now, having friends over for game nights, making my own kombucha, etc. Also, I’ve focused first on making friends: I ask cool ladies out on coffee dates all the time! Pottery and yoga are great places to go to meet potential friends. You’ve got this! Xoxo

    • Candice says...

      Jane! Is it weird to invite you to coffee. I’m not recently single but would be happy to be a friend in Austin :)

    • Amanda says...

      Hi Jane and co, I hear you ladies! I read this post like…are they speaking to *me*?!

      Last year I separated from my partner of 13 years. We’d been together since University and I’ve never really dated that much (let alone online dated!) and have no idea where to begin. I live in a small city and worry that someone I know (or my former partner!) will see my profile (and I’ll subsequently die of embarrassment!) but also that if I don’t put myself out there online, I may never meet someone.

      I used to always joke that I wouldn’t know how to meet someone, unless they knocked on my door and asked if I too enjoyed cheese, movies and walks to nowhere in particular. However, this scenario is looking increasingly unlikely as the months roll on…

      Maybe we need to start a smart ladies email group and swap stories about our attempted meet-cutes/not-so-cutes?

    • Candice- not weird! I would really love that! My email is jane.perez1@gmail.com. Shoot me a message anytime!

  46. shameless says...

    Kim, where do you buy your jewelry???!

    • CES says...

      Plus one. Perfection.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      thank you for asking! different places, but mostly Etsy and Catbird!

  47. Elle says...

    Am I crazy for still holding out and trying to meet someone out in the world? I’m more than willing to be convinced otherwise! With online dating, it feels like there’s this pressure to *immediately* jump into a committed relationship (I could be imagining this). And there’s no potential for meeting someone that might just turn out to be a friend like there would be if you ran into an interesting stranger while you’re out living your life. People aren’t on dating apps to make friends. You’re looking for a partner, whether just for the night or the rest of your life. Though, I guess I do appreciate that everything is on the table from the word “go.” You meet on a dating app so you’re *going on a date*. There’s none of that “is this a date? or are we just two friends meeting for dinner?” anxiety.

    I’ve noticed a theme in the comments. We often have ideas of the kind of person we want (looks, personality, etc.) but we usually end up with people who are completely different than that image. And if you limit yourself to a dating profile, aren’t you possibly passing up some incredible person who you might get on quite well with if you met them while you were out walking your dog just because you don’t like their profile picture?

    For me, the meeting-men-in-real-life issue is this – I am attracted to men who are older than me (10+ years) but I look much younger than I actually am (I’m 32 but look closer to 22). But men in their 40s (very wisely) tend not to be interested in someone who looks like a senior in college. I just recently broke up with someone who is just a few years younger than me (we’ve known each other for 24 years and dated for a year and a half before he just ghosted me over Christmas…? Still trying to get my feet back under myself after that.) and after that experience I can say that I would rather boil an entire pot of rice one grain at a time than date anyone younger than myself ever again.

    • HH says...

      Elle, you are not crazy. I have the same exact feeling about meeting people online. It does feel like pressure to jump into a committed relationship with a stranger, at least from my experience. I prefer to observe someone in the “real” world for a time before I decide whether or not to date them. I’m a private person, with a professional career, and don’t really want my profile to be visible to everyone and their dog, so the only dating sites I’ve tried have been the “old,” more private ones–match and eharmony. Are the kind, intelligent, emotionally available, SINGLE, late 30s to 40-something men out there no longer on these sites?

    • Rachel says...

      I’ve made tons of friends through online dating—you don’t always mesh romantically, but shared interests have left me connected with many of the dudes I’ve gone out with!

    • Charlie says...

      I don’t feel pressure! I view it for what it is: meeting another single stranger, who is open to more. My expectation is always that 99% of the time I won’t be interested. I don’t even dress up: I go on all my dates in yoga clothes. That way, there’s no pressure. I feel totally me. And I have something lined up right after so i can dash if I want, or I can skip yoga if it’s going super well. It helps me take the pressure off and remind myself it’s just 1 hour.

    • Tabby says...

      Just wanted to agree wholeheartedly with your comment “We often have ideas of the kind of person we want (looks, personality, etc.) but we usually end up with people who are completely different than that image.”

      When I returned to my current city as a nearly 30 singleton I downloaded a few apps and expected to start this exciting online dating I’d heard so much about to meet the man of my dreams and be in a committed relationship in no time.

      Instead I met someone really amazing at work, we hit off as friends immediately and spent most nights hanging out drinking wine. Very quickly I realized we were more than friends, had a very romantic first kiss and have now been together over five years. SHE is a beautiful brown-eyed woman who absolutely blind-sighted me. My first female relationship and the love of my life that I definitely didn’t see coming.

      Now I’m not saying that this is a relatable situation for everyone, however it really highlights the importance of being open to all sorts of people that flit into your life. You never know who is going to light that fire for you. I would never had found my love in the male, 28-35, over 5,10, likes true crime podcasts and asian food category. Throw your net wide open and trust that you’ll feel something special when that person on your wavelength stops by!

    • Erin says...

      I’ve found that it’s exactly the opposite. People online dating, in my experience, are rarely just trying to hop into a relationship. Online dating gives people so many “options” I’ve actually found it much less likely that you actually end of meeting someone you “match” with in real life 9/10 someone I’m chatting with online just disappears before a date even gets made. And I’ve found second dates are much less likely – why hang out again when the date was just OK if there are so many more options at your fingertips? I’ve found the whole process, as someone who would actually like to meet a partner, really frustrating. I’m in my late 30s, reasonably good looking, successful, fit etc. and in the last three years I’ve only had ONE second date PER YEAR. It’s brutal out there.

  48. Rue says...

    Oof. I’m still sensitive about how tough dating is, even though I’m with someone I met on an app and I expect we’ll get engaged this year, so I’m technically LIVING MY DREAM. But it still sucked getting here.

    Some of it was inevitable anguish. I went through a lot of big, hard changes in a few year period, and it was during all of that upheaval that I decided to try dating apps, or really any dating at all, for the first time.

    I live in a small city in the south. I’m in my 30s. I did not grow up here. My personal and professional identities are “threatening” to the monolithic cultural expectations of this region. Even at my job, I am pushing the boundaries of what someone who works here “looks like.” I felt like an oddity, at work and on dating apps.

    I kept putting myself out there. I kept turning down people who were nice enough, open minded enough to go on more than one date, but who just weren’t ENOUGH for me. It hurt a lot, it took a lot of courage, it felt like I was constantly doubting my decisions.

    And then. And then. I met someone who is from here, but always felt like a fish out of water. Who had moved to a neighboring city, but was looking to move back. Who has family members who share little bits of my identity, so I didn’t feel like A Weirdo when I talked about who I am.

    And now of course, I can see that many of the things that felt the most painful, or that I really lamented, are things that worked out or helped me in some way. Like the fact that we met on an app. We would not have met without the app to bridge the 100 mile gap between our cities. Or the fact that I feel so culturally and personally isolated here. His version of our “how we met” story is that when he saw my profile, he was floored. He never dreamed he’d be lucky enough to find someone like me living in his home town. Two fish, finding the water together.

    This is a super long comment. But I just wanted to say. Whatever you’re feeling about dating: YES. It’s there. My “story” doesn’t wrap up nicely and neatly, even if I do marry this wonderful partner. (To gush: we’re talking about engagement and we’re both thrilled!) Yours likely won’t wrap up in a bow either. And it will still be real, and it will still matter.

    • Calla says...

      thank you for this! I feel like this is such a critical aspect that people miss sometimes. When I talk about dating with my parents (which is not often) they always try to reassure me that some people meet someone later in life (I’m 27). I agree that is true, but even if I finally meet someone in my 30s or 40s that doesn’t undo the current pain or struggle. I still feel I would be better off overall having a partner to go through this phase of life with.

      Its nice to hear someone else acknowledging the whole journey instead of just the “happy ending”

    • Tovah says...

      This is so awesome.

    • Karen says...

      Just wanted to say this is a really beautiful comment. Wishing you well as you continue on your journey.

    • Stacey says...

      Love this story! I feel you too – I’m finally in a wonderful relationship at age 37 with a guy I met online, but the years of dating apps and being mostly single are still branded on like a tattoo. Lots of little heartbreaks from men I met from dating apps helped me be a better dater and partner now, although it’s still hard to admit when painful experiences help you in the end. Those moments are also part of the story.

  49. mamabird says...

    I’ve done both of these- yes 15 years apart, before I met my husband – and then after being widowed. So different. Really appreciate dating apps, the only adults I was meeting (as a single parent with small kids) were other parents or co-workers- no thanks! I met so many interesting people on dating apps.
    My new partner was on Tinder for a few days and went on one date – with me, and deleted the app! He moves in with me and my kids next week :)

    • J. says...

      What a beautiful story. I’m so sorry for your loss, and so happy for your now joy, which I’m sure is made all the richer from the path you’ve traveled. Big hug to you!

  50. Kelsey says...

    Not too long ago, I confronted the realization that I’ve been using online dating tools/sites on and off for about 15 years. I’m only 34, and I’ll admit to being an early OKC adopter, but that sudden awareness stopped me in my tracks (How is it even possible??).

    Along the way, I’ve met and dated some of the very best people — people who still serve as my emergency contacts and holiday buddies, even though we’re no longer romantically linked. It’s also utterly exhausting. The thought of meeting interesting people organically and going on 6ish dates a year sounds so nice and relaxing by comparison! Every so often, I toy with the idea of going old-school and ditching all of the apps, but that feels like putting waaaay too much trust in the randomness of the universe ;)

  51. Stella says...

    I met my husband on Tinder in 2015. I had only been on a handful of online dates before that and treated them more like fun “why nots” than as ways to find ~true love~, but we were pretty much inseparable from that first swipety swipe and bing bang boom now we’re married. Ya never know!

  52. EJ says...

    I met my husband on old-school match.com in 2013, right before all the dating apps were a thing and back when you still paid for the service. I signed up on a whim not expecting for it to go anywhere. And after being on Match for 3 months and going on several not-so-good dates, he was going to let his subscription expire, so we only overlapped by 2 days! Had I not messaged him first (which was a big deal for me at the time!) when I did, we may have never met. 5 years and two kids later, I’m happy to say he will always be my FIRST and hopefully LAST online dating experience. I lucked out for sure.

  53. Sharon says...

    Love this topic! I wholeheartedly agree in opening up your age bracket. I would go a full 10 years each way personally. I just think everyone is different and you should focus on chemistry and life goals vs age. I’m Joanna’s age and dated a lot on Match back in 2006 (the main one at the time). It made my otherwise lackluster mid 20s more fun, and dating older guys (at the time early 30s) helped me figure out what things I liked and didn’t. For me, the downside of online dating is the pressure I had to find someone. I found myself rushing to decide if I had chemistry with someone because they fit all the things on my checklist of wants. Vs real life, where I had time to get to know my now husband as friends and figure out if he was as cool as I was! If I could give one tip to all single women it would be to not feel rushed. You have all the time in the world to figure it out and figure yourself out. You want a CATCH. Someone that makes you feel lucky. We all are so special. And as we get older, I think we get better at figuring out what makes us unique vs trying to aspire to be like everyone else.

  54. J says...

    I met my husband on OkCupid in late 2014, which was when dating apps were starting to be really popular and no longer embarrassing, but nowhere near as ubiquitous as now. I had just moved to a new city and started grad school, and I quickly realized that with the amount of work I had and how small my grad school cohort was, meeting people organically was unlikely to happen. I had a great experience– went on dates with maybe 5 guys, all of whom were nice, and one of whom I married!

    I definitely agree with the advice to use the app just as a way to meet people. Once you’ve exchanged a few messages, get face-to-face as soon as possible. While I get that people like to ‘vet’ someone in advance, that also means you have a lot invested before you even meet them, and then you might find out that the attraction isn’t there. So it helps to get that out of the way! Also, it helps to weed out people who are just fishing or playing the game.

  55. Kristen says...

    I met my boyfriend on a cross country flight back to NYC. I was stuck in the middle and he was the window… Somewhere in the airspace above Chicago, he worked up the courage to chat with me (first making a statement about how hot it was and after seeing that wasn’t working asking if I’d been at the same conference as him). A few hours of chatting later, we exchanged numbers and kept the flirting up over text. We met up one week later for “a drink” that turned into 6 hours of talking, and the rest is history.

  56. Maham says...

    This is such an exciting post Kim and Joanna, that it made me want to share my story!

    I met my husband (then boyfriend) on a desktop software called ICQ… not sure if anyone is aware of it or may have used it too. This was even before “online dating” was a thing… way back in early 2000s. I was in high school then and ICQ was a way to “meet” guys in neighborhood schools (especially since I was in an all girls school).

    It’s fun to tell people we met online 20 years ago! :)

    • Lydia says...

      I used ICQ! And I’m 31. Still remember that iconic “uh oh!”. But then everyone switched to MSN :)

    • Maham says...

      That is so awesome Lydia!

    • K says...

      My MOM used ICQ. I remember overhearing her talk to her girlfriends about it…they were all on it. (This was in the late 90s, when she would have been in her thirties and recently divorced from my dad.) So fun to hear you bring it up again!!

    • Sarz says...

      Ah, ICQ! I remember that iconic notification sound, and a whole lot of superficial conversations prefaced with “A/S/L?” from the guy on the other end. Impressive that you found something meaningful on there! ❤

  57. Jenny says...

    I was in a LTR that ended right around when Tinder launched. Ironically, it ended because I found out he was on Tinder…I had met all my previous boyfriends in real life – through friends, out, through work, etc. Being thrown into the app dating world was definitely a shock. I grew up being told it was bad to meet strangers over the internet (didn’t we all?), so on my first Tinder date a friend discreetly sat at the bar to make sure I didn’t get murdered! Now, 6 years later, I can confidently say that dating is not the same as it used to be. I can’t even tell you the last time someone flirted with me in public, much less has asked for my number. There’s no incentive for real life connections anymore, since you can just go on 20 apps every night and chat with 10 different people with no consequences or accountability. There’s also this theory of “scarcity mentality” that a lot of relationship experts teach – With so many options available, no one is “loving the one they’re with” anymore. It’s really easy to get caught up in the idea that there could be a better option, so you just keep looking for a better option until you realize that you most likely have already met the best, but it’s too late. The other big difference is just because you match and chat endlessly with someone about personal things doesn’t mean they want to date you – or even meet you. I don’t understand this dating app occurrence – why are you on something called a dating app if you have no intention of dating? Sure, the apps allow us to meet more and different people (and are great for the Queer community, especially in less urban areas), but there’s rarely an intention or mindfulness behind dating now. More is not necessarily better. And while dating outside of your community is a great thing we can do now, it also means it’s more difficult to find someone that aligns with your values and wants. It’s ironic really, you pick through an infinite amount of people on these apps and you’ll most likely end up with someone you probably would’ve met IRL anyway…

    • Aubrey says...

      I agree with everything you just said.

    • Britt says...

      This.👏

    • Jen says...

      I have been thinking about how no one flirts with me in public or asks for my number. I assumed it was that i am getting older but now I think this is a part of it. People are in their apps and not necessarily interacting IRL. I can’t seem to enjoy online dating which means, I don’t meet or date anyone.
      thank you for your thoughts here

    • Deanna says...

      All of this, Jenny! All. Of. This. <3 <3 <3 I'm on a couple apps (because how am i gonna meet anyone in 2020?), but it takes some seriously thick skin. There's some pretty bad behavior, and absolutely ZERO accountability. I talked to this one guy for a few days, we moved to texting. It was going well enough, texting every couple days. Nothing crazy. We agreed to meet up for drinks, but we never managed to get it scheduled. He always had something else going on. After a few tries he just stopped responding to me so I let it go, but the thought still nags me–What the hell did I do wrong? Why wasn't I even worthy of a drink? Maybe he matched with someone prettier? Maybe he's married? Maybe he's socially awkward? Maybe he swipes and chats because he's bored or needs an ego boost? Maybe he's just not interested in dating? I learned I just had to have really low expectations and be pleasantly surprised when this kind of behavior DOESN'T happen. And I'm never going to get an answer because…no accountability at all! But….ugh! So much effort, so little reward. So, I've also made a real effort to expand my social network and try and meet people the old school way, too. I've joined a couple Meetup groups. I attend different exercise classes. Sometimes I go out to dinner and sit at a neighborhood bar by myself and see who comes in. I've met some interesting people that way, dating or not! You're right. Casting a wider net isn't always better. So, I'll dabble, but I'm not going to put all of my eggs in that one basket.

    • CS says...

      Yes, exactly this! I read a very well researched (and rather disturbing) article about exactly what Jenny is saying (I read it months ago, so no link! It would have been worth sharing… Sorry!! ). It really can be a problem, making it very hard to find meaningful relationships. Some people are swiping right on their next date/hookup before the current date is even over (true story).

      Anyhow, times have changed. I have to admit, though, I married before the dating apps were a thing. I can’t even imagine having 4 dates (with different people) in one week. Yikes! It’s like smorgasbord dating… how do you decide when you have so many options?? How do you build trust when you know the other person is also sampling a bunch of other people that same week? I know apps have their benefits, I won’t deny that. And Smorgasbord dating sounds like it could be fun, but only if it lasted one month and then it was over and you had to pick from your choices that month. LOL! Like the Bachelorette.

      I hope for my son’s sake that RL meeting and dating comes back into style! It is such an amazing and mysterious experience to discover and unwrap an attraction slowly.

    • Eszter says...

      Can I just say that I’ve been lost in CoJ comments for the past 2.5 hours (Joanna’s How are you today? post is a goldmine for book recs!) and it’s brought tears in my eyes and smiles on my face. I love this community.

      I’ve not been on many dates, and never used dating apps, but I definitely agree with Jenny and also Jen below. Even though I’m an introvert, I would still miss the face-to-face human interaction part of dating.

      I met my boyfriend at work and been together for 3.5 years. When we started talking outside of work, I was in a dead-end ‘living together as friends’ kind of relationship with someone else at the time and I’ve really struggled to close the past 5 years of my life but he was really there for me without being obvious that he wants to take our casual chats further. Ofc, he was a gentleman and never made a move until I was ready. We kept our relationship a secret in the office and only dared to exchange a few cheeky looks and those are some of my most cherished memories. So yeah, your partner for life is probably right in front of you if you stop to look :)

  58. Rachel says...

    I’ve done the apps for the past 6 years or so, on and off, with mixed results, but no long term attachments yet. I enjoy the aspect of meeting people outside of my usual circle and the wide variety of topics that can come up–recently some super nerdy things like excel functions (only a small part of the conversation haha) and on another date we worked on the NYT crossword at 1am at a bar and took online quizzes to see which Harry Potter House he would be in! But, it can also be exhausting for me. I don’t like dating multiple people at the same time, even having multiple first dates planned at the same time. I just have an all in or all out kind of personality, so I tend to only use the apps for maybe a month before giving up (forever this time! I think) only to re-download one a few months later. Trying to pace myself this time and not match with too many men at once, so I can explore one person, and then move on to the next one I’ve established he’s not my person. Maybe I won’t burn out this time before I find a match…not getting any younger over here!

    • Rachel says...

      I will also say I’ve finally figured out (at age 35!) that there’s no real reason to be nervous on a first date. You’ll hit it off or you won’t, and that’s totally okay either way! A bad date isn’t a reflection of your dateableness (yep, just made that word), it’s just that, a bad date, and you’ll go on plenty of other great ones.

  59. Rachel says...

    Where are your glasses from, Kim? They’re a great shape!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Thank you! They’re from Eye Buy Direct!

  60. Amanda says...

    I’ve been with my current partner for a little less than a year. I accidentally tell people we were introduced by Bumble, but then he reminds me it was Hinge. He’s in digital marketing so he has a robust online presence. I didn’t look him up very much before we met in person, but after a few weeks of dating, I found every crumb of his social media life there is, including a video on YouTube. And that’s where I found footage of him at a professional conference lecturing, with great flourish, about marketing metrics. Fast-forward to 6 months later when he wanted to show me something funny on YouTube and came across his full name (in all caps) in my search history. So mortifying. Thankfully, he found it flattering, but weird.

    • P says...

      that made me LOL. ALL CAPS comes across aggressive as is, but then the fact that it was just his name! Very funny and it it a proof of his good character that he found it flattering and not scary.

  61. Meredith says...

    I second the commenters that say to meet folks in real life as soon as possible! It is so so so hard to tell tone via text and you for sure can gauge whether you click with someone better in person. Sometimes that leads to an awkward first and only date, sometimes you marry them and move to a whole new state less than a year after your first date :)

    I am also here to recommend the afternoon coffee date! I was on Bumble for a few months in 2017 (and I know things have even changed since then). But I found the afternoon coffee date to be the perfect no pressure meet up. Some of them were right after work, some of them were weekend mid-afternoon. But either way, I could be myself and clear-headed without alcohol and there was no pressure to end up at anyone’s place for anything more after meeting for coffee.

    And don’t worry about whether they will like you! I had SO much more fun when I was able to flip the script and approach with the mindset of wondering whether I would like them! And if all else fails, the times it’s not a good date, it’s usually a GREAT story to tell later :P

    • mamabird says...

      Yes to the coffee date! No pressure to dress up, buy dinner etc etc. I always treated coffee as a way to find out if you want to go for drinks – no pressure.

    • Reba says...

      Haha, I don’t even *drink* coffee and I, too, endorse the coffee date. My job has me working a partial day on the weekend, so I routinely just schedule a date every other week or so for coffee after work. I’m already in nice-ish clothes from work, I rotate among a couple of coffee places that I am comfortable with, and I just order tea or hot chocolate or whatever. It’s cheap enough to do a few times a month. It’s low-key enough that I barely even get nervous anymore. Also, it keeps me from being bitter about all the emotional labor I’m still doing: online dating–another labor saving device, that isn’t actually saving me much (even when I’m not the one initiating the conversation, I am almost always the one moving us beyond “Hey” and “Plans of the weekend?” messages, and the one to suggest we meet rather than being internet penpals, and the one to suggest the date/time/location…ok, so maybe a little bitter, still ;)

  62. Mimi says...

    I’ve been online dating (seriously) since I was 32 (I started dabbling it when I was 28)…and I am now 40. It has changed SO MUCH in 6 years. In the beginning (match, OK Cupid), guys would make an effort and write a paragraph or two in reference to my profile or to themselves. As the years went on it went down to a few sentences… Now I’m lucky to even get more than two words! I no longer use OkCupid or Match but really saw how ‘messaging’ changed in that time, especially when Tinder, Hinge, and Coffee Meets Bagel came online. Still single, but I’ve made my peace with it. I no longer really online date anymore as I’m burnt out. I estimate I’ve been on 75+ first/second/third dates over those years. Only one or two people in that period evolved into something 3+ months. I never experienced someone ghosting on me til I was 38 and took it pretty hard. I met someone wonderful last year who I dated 6+ months but unfortunately due to circumstances out of our control he couldn’t stay in the U.S. (not a citizen). So even if you meet someone worth your time, it seems something else can also come up…live in the moment and try not to dwell on the past or future!

  63. Jessica Bell says...

    I personally love online dating apps! They really do help you meet people whom you likely otherwise would never have met and that’s such a nice thing! They also help take the pressure off everything because there are no mutual friends lurking in the background asking you “SO?” “So?” “Soooo?”

    That being said, in a comical twist of fate, I am forever thankful to Bumble for introducing me to my current boyfriend despite the fact we both worked at the SAME company and totally could have met in real life lol!

    Bit of backstory, I had worked a small part-time job certain evenings at a retail company for almost 3 years. He had only recently started, was currently sporting a beard (versus his clean-shaven profile pic) and we rarely had overlapping shifts. Neither of us knew we both worked at the same retail store when we swiped right, matched, started chatting online, really hit it off, he asked me out on a date….and I kid you not, the *NIGHT* before that first date I bumped into him at work and discovered that he also worked there. SOOOOOO AWKWARD and funny now in hindsight! I almost called the whole thing off due to a personal rule to “never date a coworker”, in the end I didn’t however figuring that chances are it wouldn’t go anywhere (I had been online dating for +2 years of sooooo many first dates that never really had a spark fly) so figured why not just go and maybe make a cool new friend. Thank goodness I did because on that first date boy-oh-boy did we hit it off, and discovered we’re both super into the same hobbies (benefits of dating a coworker who also had chosen to work at an outdoor gear store) and he made me laugh just so much. Murphy’s Law: of course the one date I wanted to go no-where actually was amazing and I had to break my rule about dating a coworker. It was worth breaking that rule; fast forward nearly two years and we’re still together, moved in together and are hoping to get a dog in the next few months to join us on our outdoor adventures together.

  64. Sara says...

    I met my fiance in 2013 the old school way, throwing myself into uncomfortable group situations in order to meet some new people in my city where it felt like everyone my age was married with children and living in the burbs. A few months before that, an appropriate amount of time (haha) after my divorce, I had tried online dating and enjoyed meeting new friends, but it never felt romantic. So I did a little old-school, a little new-school and it ended up with a fantastic result. New friends and a new love.

  65. M says...

    Love this! I’ve never done online dating but I did meet my husband of seven years online – he stayed with me through the Couchsurfing app! It’s a long story but that is definitely one way to meet someone outside of your perimeters. I moved to another country to be with him after knowing him for six months and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

  66. jena says...

    YES! It is so interesting how dating has changed so much so quickly. I have been dating for 10+ years (I’m 34) so I’ve had both experiences and I am one of those people who absolutely hated online dating. I did it for soooo long and felt like I was never going to get a return on my time-investment. At the beginning of last year I downloaded Bumble and added yet another dating app to my repertoire. After being ghosted by 6 men within the next two weeks, I was lamenting to friends about how much I hated it and I was going to quit and delete it all. I ended up matching with someone on Coffee Meets Bagel (seriously, who still uses this?) and didn’t see it (and therefore didn’t respond) for 3 DAYS. Yes, 3 DAYS. He messaged me back within the hour with his phone number. We met that weekend and are now getting married in about 6 weeks, one day short of a year since the day we met.

    If you are in the online dating world, I love you, girl. I don’t want to say “hang in there!” because I hated when people would say that to me, like all of my hopes and dreams and fulfillment come from being with someone (You are full and complete in and of yourself!). But I do want to say — you are amazing and keep being you. Online dating can suuuuccckkkkk but it can also lead to magic.
    and if you are in the “I hate online dating. but I am sucking it up and doing it” camp, there are 2 IG accounts I want to give a shoutout to: @violetclair and @notengaged
    Since all of my closest friends are married, these two accounts feel so relatable and like they get what I was going through when my closest friends just didn’t.

    love you all.

    • Calla says...

      oh my gosh, I cannot thank you enough for those IG recommendations

  67. Caitlin says...

    I met my husband before dating apps were really a thing, and the concept of it is so interesting/foreign to me. I have tons of friends and siblings who have met their partners that way, I just happened to miss it by a few years. The main thing I think about it is how IMPRESSIVE it is to constantly put yourself out there. I never went on a date with someone I didn’t know, and I just think people who use these apps are probably some next level communicators which I think is really cool. I’m always telling my therapy clients how proud I am of them for doing something that seems really bold and brave to a lot of people and they seem to appreciate hearing that. :)

  68. Emily says...

    My husband and I met through a mutual hobby (a running and drinking club). He’s 19 years older than me, and he doesn’t really read, so there’s no way we’d have met through an app! Back when I was doing the online dating thing, I always tried to meet people in person as soon as possible. Better to gauge chemistry.

  69. Sadie says...

    I’m 27 and I’ve always had men to date while never using apps but my experience is somewhere in between. I meet people the same way as Joanna but then instead of guys asking me out, they will often add me on social media and then message me for random things to get a conversation going. Eventually a date will happen after messaging for weeks. The key to make this all happen is SO MUCH FLIRTING! In person, it is all about close talking and making sure to specifically say goodbye to them. Over text, sending a spotify link to a favorite upbeat song or artist is always a good move.

  70. Katie says...

    I met my husband in 2010 at a church picnic. He was 6 years younger and I avoided the topic of age for a long time. At the time my friends (one of whom is a mutual friend of yours, Kim!) and I would sign up for all the free weekends on Match and eHarmony and I NEVER would have set my age preference that low. So, glad I found him IRL!

  71. This was SO interesting! Reminds me of a conversation I had with one of my cousins a few years ago. She had recently split from her partner of 15 years, who she’d been with since she was 17, so she’d never actually dated as an adult. She told me she had gone on a few dates with people she’d met on apps, and she said “Did you know that some people lie on their profiles??”. Lol. I was like “Oh boy, you’re in for a rude awakening” haha

  72. Laura says...

    I met my now husband on okcupid in 2014, before tinder and other apps were really a thing. I’m 31 and I feel like my age group was the first to use (free) online dating without stigma- before that it was just like eharmony and match which were known for being for older people, usually divorcees. I don’t know that it’s still this way now, but the beginning of online dating felt like it gave a lot of power to people who were just interested in finding the most attractive person to sleep with (so, mostly men- of course there are women just looking for that too, but at the time it felt like only dudes), so I spent a LOT of time getting ghosted and fretting about if it was ok to put out on the first date or not. My husband was one of the only people I met online (and there were A LOT) that communicated with me consistently and felt invested in me and my life.

  73. Julie says...

    I LOVE this!! So fun! You ladies are beautiful and your responses really hit a note. :)

  74. MC says...

    Oh man. I got divorced in 2014 and fairly quickly found an awesome, awesome guy on OKCupid. We both deleted the app before a week was up–even though I was only looking for something casual. We were together for nearly five years when he GHOSTED ME because guess what? Not actually so awesome. That was seven months ago, and I’m just dipping my toes into the apps again. It’s hard to be in a small city with a limited population of single dudes my age who aren’t just total horror shows. And it’s also much harder to get over the insecurities and fears after this breakup. I’m much closer to 50, my body has changed, my life has changed… whew. It’s a lot. And with that, I head to a sorely needed therapy appointment, ;)

    • Jenna says...

      Who ghosts someone after dating for 5 YEARS?! What a jerk! I am so sorry you had to go through this :( you deserve so much better, good luck out there!

    • Caitlin says...

      Oh MC, i feel for you. I was ghosted after 5 years as well. It’s the pits. Getting closure with a break up when you never had the ‘we’re breaking up’ conversation is TOUGH! And I cringe at all those texts to his family to check he hadn’t been injured/ in hospital etc….
      Wishing you a smooth journey ahead.

    • Calla says...

      Ugh I am so so sorry to hear this. You just really never know, something like that can happen at any time. What a bummer, I hope you are on your way to feeling better!

  75. Anna says...

    In my early-mid twenties I always met people through friends, classes, and work. But I ended up meeting my husband on Coffee Meets Bagel in NYC. It felt so normal amongst our circle and at our wedding there were so many other guests who met on apps! Although it’s nice to meet someone through friends, co-workers etc., as it brings a level of familiarity, we would never have met without the app! There is absolutely no cross over in our personal or professional lives so I’m grateful we found each other. I do think apps make it easy not to be accountable – I was ghosted a few times and people weren’t always upfront about what they wanted. But thankfully most men I dated weren’t like that and in the end I met a great one :) I found drinks and coffee dates were the most common thing – I was never asked to get dinner!

  76. M says...

    I’m so bummed by app dating right now! I live in a much smaller city with limited choices, and went on (what I thought) was a really great date on the weekend with a smart sensitive-seeming guy. We hung out for 6 hours, made out, had great conversation, he said he’d be in touch, and now he hasn’t replied to my follow up text. People are just so weird when there’s an app involved, and even though I KNOW that ghosting is real, it still feels like such a bizarre thing to do!
    Does anyone still meet people in real life in their 30s? I’d love to come across someone special without an app involved, but I feel like my social circle has been exhausted!

  77. Jen says...

    I’m a long time reader and have never posted a comment before, but this piece just made my day! So immensely grateful for your honesty and candor. Thank you Kim and Joanna!!

  78. Laura says...

    This is such a great post! I met my ex-husband in college (in 2006), so when we divorced in 2016, the current dating world was very foreign to me! But I embraced it! I did my best to be open-minded, stay true to myself & what I wanted, and to have fun and meet cool people! I got out there on the apps. Bumble was my favorite as women naturally had to take the initiative.

    After many not-so-great and some decent dates, and a few shorter relationships, I met my current boyfriend of 1.5 years! It’s definitely good to think outside the box – I used to always swipe left on guys with “fish pics” in their profile – and he didn’t have one, but it turns out that he owns a fishing-related company! :)

    • Alex says...

      Ha! My girlfriends and I swap screenshots of “fish pics”. Wow, you caught a catfish, my heart is soaring

  79. l says...

    It’s so easy these days to accidentally book yourself 4 dates for one week. haha
    While I’ve (unfortunately) have been on tons of tinder(/other apps) dates, I am my boyfriend’s first and only tinder date, which is AMAZING to me. I didn’t think it was possible to go on one tinder date and find love.

  80. Barb says...

    I love this.

    I met my husband in high school. I have never actually dated and I don’t know whether to be totally relieved or feel like I missed out. But we’re 5 years married (1 … and a half… kids in), and have been together for 15 years, and I can’t imagine it any other way.

    I still can’t get enough of other people’s dating stories, though.

    • Hannah says...

      Similar for me! I had one boyfriend in highschool before I met my husband in between freshman and sophomore year of college. We’ve known each other for 10 years now, married for 5 and 1.5 kids as well 😊 sometimes I wish I had been more adventurous, but I watch what my friends’ experiences and I’m happy to be pregnant at home eating delivery pizza on a Friday night 😂

  81. Julianna says...

    Omgsh can I just say that you guys look absolutely beautiful in these photos #Stunning

  82. Laura says...

    I am somewhat recently divorced and re-entered the dating scene in this new age of apps after having been out of it since 2007. I was pretty hesitant to try apps but was given the advice to “just try it out and let yourself be selective”. One day after spending the morning crying at the beach, I decided to say “f*** it” and joined an app. It was completely overwhelming for an introvert so I heeded the advice I’d been given and only swiped right on 3 people that I found very attractive and who had compelling, sweet profiles. The very first person I *right swiped* right swiped me back and we began talking. After a few weeks of connecting via text/phone, I suggested we meet for a beer in the city (SF) even though I was terrified we somehow wouldn’t mesh in person (like, are you a robot? how accurate are pictures?, etc.) When I walked into the bar and found her, I thought, “OMG, she’s beautiful and I’m so in trouble”. I sat down and it was like we’d known each other forever. Fast forward some months and we are head over heels in a “you guys are crazy” but so real way. After all the pain of trying to save my marriage and failing, I found this person and love that’s on a level I’ve never known. Long story short to say, go apps! Try it and don’t be afraid to go for what you want, especially if you’ve “settled” in the past. <3

    • Julie says...

      EEEE!! This is so great.

    • Jenna says...

      LOVE LOVE LOVE your story! Thank you for sharing, and giving us hope that love is possible again, after another relationship not working out.

    • kd says...

      Love this perspective. Glad you found a love you know you deserve. Xx

  83. alison says...

    Oh man – I am both sides of this conversation!

    I got married after college – to someone I met organically, in college – and there were only flip phones. I got divorced 10 years later and BAM! tinder, bumble, etc etc etc. What a world! I found my now-fiance on bumble, so I’m very grateful they exist (hooray for 2nd chances at true love!) but wowowowow… it was a few dates a week and utter madness until we met.

  84. I tell this story all the time, but it feels appropriate to share now!
    I met my husband on OK Cupid in 2013. He was my very first date using an app. I had lined up four dates: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday! The advice I received was to meet guys as quickly possible so as not to get too attached to online personas. My now husband was my Wednesday date, and we just really hit it off. I messaged the three other men and canceled (ghosting wasn’t a concept back then, thankfully!), then deleted the app in the middle of the date.(!) It all worked out! I feel like I got a meet cute out of it because whenever I tell my story everyone else is like yeah, that is NOT how online dating works now! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that you deleted the app in the middle of the date!

    • Charise says...

      Same here – I was the first Tinder date my partner of almost 4 years went on, and he was my second. This was after my divorce – I hadn’t been single since 2004 and had heard such horror stories about dating apps. But whenever people ask us how hard online dating was, we’re like, uuhhhh, it was really easy for us, we are the wrong people to ask haha.

    • EW says...

      This is very similar to my story! I met my partner on OK Cupid in 2013 also. He was my second date (ever, actually). I told the other people I’d already scheduled dates with that I wasn’t looking for romance any more, but would be interested in meeting as potential friends, and I think I still met them all.

      Side note, I’d never heard the term “meet cute” until this comment thread!

  85. Katharine says...

    Oh man this post made me smile AND gave me butterflies. I just filed for divorce yesterday and am baffled by dating now versus 10+ years ago when frankly I wasn’t great at it. Love hearing the comparisons!

    • t says...

      Good luck on your next chapter!!

  86. A says...

    I wouldn’t let someone watch my cat if I only knew them from meeting them once. It is foreign to me that people would do something much more consequential and intimate in the same time period.

    • Brit says...

      Isn’t it great that all types make up the world and we don’t need to judge each other :)

    • Julie says...

      Thankfully people can make choices that work best for them and not for other people.

    • Olivia says...

      That was my takeaway from this article too. Not judging, but really for my own self, I just think – pregnancy! Incurable and deadly STIs that also carry risks of infertility! The intimacy of your own heart. What if the person is an axe murderer.

      I have been sooooo curious for so long what the “average” is for when people have sex. I’m still curious to know, because I’d never ask someone this, and have few friends who date.

    • Liv says...

      Everyone has a different timeline and a different metric for gauging intimacy, which I think is great–and liberating, especially for women!

    • Emily says...

      My husband was just supposed to be a one-night stand, haha! I didn’t view sex as particularly consequential, but in this case, it was!

    • Marie says...

      I agree with the original poster. Besides being dangerous, I don’t understand how this can be viewed as liberating. Women in our culture are fighting to be viewed as more than just sex objects…..and this doesn’t help. After one date, it’s impossible for someone to really know and care for you, so if they are having sex with you they are probably somewhat viewing you as an object to be used for their own pleasure.

      As a side note, there is a difference between being judgmental of someone, and making a judgement on behavior.

    • MNoel says...

      Pregnancy? STI? STDs? It sounds like someone hasn’t had sex ed. There are birth controls and condoms to prevent things like that. No they may not be 10000% effective but for the most part they are. Let’s not judge another woman’s choice because she may be more sexual than you would like to be on a first date. Very disappointing.

    • Alyce says...

      We met our cat-sitter once, only briefly, before handing her a key to our house and care of our cat. And it turns out, she was the best.

    • Liv says...

      Hi Marie!

      The power every woman has to choose who she has sex with and how is so precious and vital. We should celebrate that power because we haven’t always had it, and it was hard-won! How liberating!!

    • Anna says...

      @Marie there is not a difference between judging behaviour and a person. It’s like saying, “I’m not sexist/racist etc” or “no offence but”. Both are deeply hurtful.

      Women are fighting to be viewed as more than sex objects, yes, but that doesn’t mean we have to deny being sexual completely. Being a sex object strips you of autonomy and agency. It is about the other person’s pleasure. Part of moving away from that should include the right (if we want to exercise it) for women to be sexual and have our own sexual needs met. And to do those things without being judged for somehow undermining the feminist cause. It is not impossible to care about someone you just met. Yeesh, isn’t that something we should be striving for? Someone you just met can absolutely want to fully participate in and satisfy your sexual needs.

    • elinor says...

      As a response to Marie’s comment about women and sex objects… it’s not a woman’s job, imo, to police her individual behavior in attempt to change a man’s opinion about women as a whole.

      Also, “if they are having sex with you they are probably somewhat viewing you as an object to be used for their own pleasure” makes it sound like the woman has no autonomy, that she’s having sex just to please the guy. What about a woman’s pleasure?

    • Marie says...

      Elinor,
      I should have been more clear, I think both men and women are treating the other person as “objects” when they have sex on the first date. I see this as problematic, in the same way porn is problematic, and objectifies humans, and leads to sexual violence.

      I want liberation that leads to less violence against women, and greater care for all humans, and I do not believe one night stands promote caring.

    • Marie says...

      @Anna, there absolutely is a difference between judging behavior and judging a person. Judging a person means you think they are inherently bad, and you place lower value on them as a person. We all judge behaviors, and we should, that’s how we learn. Have you ever had a friend or family member whom you love and value, but don’t agree with their decision?

    • Angela says...

      But could they pet your cat? Ba-dum-dum

    • O says...

      I don’t think A sounds judgmental at all. She is saying that the idea of progressing to such an intimate relationship so quickly is very foreign to her and that she doesn’t understand it, or desire it for herself. Fair enough, I say.

  87. Julie says...

    Heh, Joanna I had no idea Alex was a decade+ older, he DOES have a baby face! So does my husband, we’re only two weeks apart but my aunts love to mess with me about dating a “much younger man.”

    I met my husband at my best friend’s house during a party, but we didn’t start dating until 4 years later. Before we got together I averaged 1-3 dates a year (this was the mid 2000s-2009), and they never went anywhere. I was so awkward when it came to dating! Now my single friends talk about all of the dating apps and it sounds so overwhelming and yet…fun?

  88. YES. I can be deep on his mom’s Facebook within 5 min. My detective skills are top notch. CIA should hire me. IS YOUR bf the FINE MAN FROM YOUR IG THIS WEEKEND?

    i need to know. also, are all the fine men in NYC?

    I made out in my car last week after a date. I felt 16.

    xoxo,
    tara

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “I can be deep on his mom’s Facebook within 5 min” = hahahahaha

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Tara!! hahaha it is him!! good eye!! lol

    • Tara says...

      This is too good considering I am another Tara who prides herself on internet stalking skills!
      They come in handy for any situation!

    • Ker says...

      Tara you really are good!

    • Tara says...

      Tara #3 (?) here–hello Kim, Joanna and fellow Taras (which for me is pronounced “Terra”). I am married to a guy who asked me for my number in a bar in San Francisco in 1996. We had a crazy double date, and then randomly ran into each other at 3AM on New Year’s Day three days later. I’m three years older than him and was living in L.A. at the time. Long-distance dated for 3 years, got engaged, moved to a new city together, got married. We have two teenaged boys, two pugs and we just finished a remodel of a house we bought in 2002 and we now have OUR OWN BATHROOM. Life is GREAT! And I 100% never would have picked him for myself so thank God the universe did.

    • Anonymous says...

      I feel this. I broke not one but TWO middle armrests from making out in cars in college. What in the actual hell is my problem? And how do I explain this to my grandmother whose car I borrowed? [facepalm]

  89. txilibrin says...

    I always joke with husband that if Tinder was a thing when we met (it was almost there, but not yet), we wouldn’t be married :D
    I have never been on a date with someone I didn’t know. Most of my previous boyfriends were people I knew or friends (yeah, we still are friends), but I never did the dating dance. I’m glad, cause I hate silences, so I talk and talk and talk. So I’d still be single :D

  90. Gillian says...

    I have been married for 15 years, so I haven’t been out on a first day in a LONG time. However my husband and I met on Match.com back when that was all online dating was. It was still pretty one sided–a woman posted a profile and a man would message you. My husband is 12 years older than I am and WAS outside my specifies age range. A friend of mine had to talk me into going out with him. I am so very glad she did!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it’s so interesting how you think you know what you want (age, height, whatever), but in real life you might really click with someone outside those parameters!

    • Natalie says...

      Just chiming in to say that I met my husband, who is 13 years older than me, on Match.com too. I didn’t have strong preferences about age, but I never would have thought I would marry someone so much older than me. I actually love it, though! He grew up in the ’70s and I grew up in the ’80s, so we have completely different cultural references, which means we always have interesting stuff to talk about, usually something like, “What do you mean you haven’t seem [insert movie here]!?!”

    • celeste says...

      I’ve also been married for 15 years, met my husband in a bar, and wouldn’t want to date today.

  91. Kari says...

    Wow I LOVE this conversation! I’ve only been married and out of the dating game for about five years and Kim’s stories already make me feel so old, ha. I was single in NY just 5 or 6 years ago and dating apps hadn’t really taken off yet (or at least not in my circle), so I was still relying on Joanna’s method of meeting guys out and about. So funny how quickly that seems to have changed. Either way, dating can be so fun and so frustrating at the same time!

  92. Kate says...

    I love Kim’s perspective so much! This was a really fun read and I hope there are more articles like this in the future :)

    • Jenna says...

      I second Kate! Would love to see more of these essays :)

  93. Ramya says...

    On Kim’s “I can find anything” – LOL! That’s me too. It’s crazy (and a bit scary) how much information you can find about someone online with just a first name and location!

  94. C B says...

    I think I pretty much had this conversation with myself–after 14 years with my ex-husband, I started dating again in 2018, having no idea how any of it worked. Suddenly, I was dating 5 people I met on Bumble in the span of two weeks. I was stunned how easy it was to meet great people, but mostly, I just loved how fun it was to get drinks with people outside of my normal circles. I dated a psychoanalyst, a carpenter, a high school vice principal, and an expert in emoji (seriously). The downside is that in a big city, app dating can make people feel like their dates are disposable–there’s always more to swipe right on, you know?

    Ironically, I met a guy at a Halloween party in 2018, really enjoyed our conversation, but we were in costume and I didn’t get a great view of what he looked like (and I maybe was there with a date…), and never even thought of getting a number. Literally the next day I matched with an extremely attractive guy on Bumble, and through a convo on halloween costumes I realized it was him! We’ve been together ever since. It’s kind of a synthesis of the old and new world, little bit of kismet, little bit of creepy Big Brother app magic :)

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      WOW! This is the BEST story! Thanks for sharing it, C B!!

    • Oh my gosh, talk about fate!

    • Natalie T. says...

      Wow! That is so rare. Love it!

  95. Erin says...

    I just came here to say … I clicked on the link to Joanna’s post on how long she waits and, whoa, the scammers in the comments is unreal. I didn’t read the blog back then (because I had no idea this amazing space existed!) but that is straight up crazy! Also, great post. I love the angle of this post – CoJ writers offering different perspectives on a topic.

    • Ker says...

      I always notice the crazy scammers in the comments of old CoJ articles too! Love potions to get back at exes and stuff. It was a wild world online back then.

  96. Emily R says...

    I’ve been trying to actively date online and in person for about 10 years. In person never seems to happen, and online is such a terrible mixed bag that I’ve ultimately given up. Boston is such a hard city, and at my age (40) there are less and less options.

    • Alexandra says...

      I feel you, sis.

    • txilibrin says...

      Don’t despair! In not long from now they will be divorced ;)

    • sending love... says...

      I’m in Boston, too, Emily. I’m trying SO HARD to stay hopeful and persist. But online dating here has been quite a disappointing and painful experience overall. I see you <3

    • GG says...

      Noooooooooo. Freshly single in Boston (after about 13 years). I was hoping it wouldn’t be so terrible. WHY!?!

    • Nicole says...

      I felt the same (I am 38). Dejected, exhausted.

      My therapist gave me the most simple advice: “Just keep going”

      Meaning, if I wanted to be in an LTR, what other choice did I have other than to keep going? It helped so much. I am moving in with my new bf this weekend. But being in a relationship has its own mishigas (yiddish for craziness). I liked aspects of being single and I like aspects of being in a relationship. All this to say… “I feel you!”

    • Lindsey says...

      My husband and I didn’t meet on okCupid (2012), but we did start dating because of it.
      We had similar friend groups and were often at the same parties and shows, but never really hung out.
      I saw that I was a 98% match with him and messaged him “funny seeing you here” and then he DELETED okC. I was confused, so I asked his roommate at the time, who I was friends with why he did that-and he told me to ask him out haha so I did!

    • Teresa says...

      So, I grew up in Boston, and I actually met my now husband reading a book in a Cambridge bar in 2012, and I have made so many friendships being a regular in little dives. My only advice is: become a regular!

  97. Cat says...

    Loved this piece and yaaaaas to more Kim!! Great perspective and her lipstick is stunning!

  98. Emily says...

    Joanna! Where is your sweater from? Looks so cozy.

    • Kat says...

      Related note – Kim, where is your signet ring from! xo

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      It’s from Etsy!

    • Lauren says...

      I was wondering the same thing. That sweater looks like I could live in it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for asking! my sweater is from a little store in hayes valley, san francisco — i wish i could remember the name of the store!

    • K says...

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that sweater is from Azalea.