The Women Who Are Giving Dating Apps the Summer Off
Divai Brown, a 39-year-old lawyer from Harlem, has lived in Dublin for about 15 months, working in financial regulations, and loves it.
“I don’t have any immediate plans to move back to America,” Ms. Brown said in a phone interview. “Maybe some other parts of Europe, but definitely not back to the States.”
Despite all the upsides to her move, dating in the country hasn’t been very easy. She points to a few factors that have made it difficult, including being a high-achieving Black woman with a well-paying job, which has intimidated some men.
Until recently, she was on Tinder, Hinge and Bumble. She said she had always seen Tinder as a “long shot” in terms of leading to something serious, and Bumble, which requires women to send the first message, took too much “leg work.”
“It’s like another job,” she said. “As much as I value companionship and relationships, I don’t know that I value it to the point of burnout.”
As the days grow longer and the weather warmer, there are some who are opting out of dating apps — at least for now. Of nearly a dozen women interviewed, many said they were reclaiming the time they had spent in the cold winter months swiping through dating apps by prioritizing real-life encounters and focusing on having fun.
Ms. Brown recently decided to take her dating life off the apps this summer and will be doing the things she loves, like going to food and wine festivals or on hikes. In the meantime, she said, she is leaving her dating life to “the will of the universe.”
“I’m 39, I’ve never been married, I don’t have kids — I don’t know what the dating pool for the late 30s to the early 40s really looks like,” she said. “I feel like if someone is interested in me, they’ll let me know. And if they’re not, they’re not.”
Atoosa Moinzadeh is also on that wave. Ms. Moinzadeh, a 30-year-old Brooklyn resident, has been on dating apps for almost 10 years, after first downloading Tinder in 2014. She’s “tried all the apps,” including Bumble, OKCupid — even Coffee Meets Bagel for a “really brief period.” Tinder and Hinge were the two she used most recently, but she deleted them both in March after her frustrations began to mount.
“For me, it’s hard to get to the stage were I’m actively going on a date with a person,” Ms. Moinzadeh said in a phone interview. “I have no problem getting matches, it’s more so getting to the stage where I’m like, ‘This seems like a decent person to meet in real life.’”
Before she deleted the apps, she was talking to two people, one of whom went with her on a really good date before ghosting “out of nowhere.” The other admitted a month later that he just wasn’t ready for something serious.
“I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was, as someone who doesn’t really like the idea of casual dating very much, I just kept meeting people who didn’t know what they wanted, weren’t really using it intentionally,” Ms. Moinzadeh said. She added that she had never had a long-term relationship that resulted from online dating.
For Vinessa Burnett, a human resources program manager in Dallas, her no-dating-app summer actually began in January after she read an article about hope fatigue among long-term dating app users and was inspired to go off them for an entire year.
“It dawned on me, like, ‘Wait, I actually downloaded Tinder in 2013,’” she said in a phone interview. “So I’ve been there from the beginning, and I’m still single.”
She said the piece, which was published in The New York Times, had really resonated with her because she had felt despair and disappointment when things didn’t work out over a long period of time.
“So in an effort to kind of curb hope fatigue that I was experiencing and remove some of the anxiety that I had grown accustomed to with dating, I was like, I’m going to go without the app,” she said.
Since January, Ms. Burnett, 28, has been keeping track of her offline dates and has been on dates with four men, including one she met at a networking event. Another date came from having a “minor slip-up” during which she rejoined a dating app for a day before deleting it again.
She said that being (mostly) off the apps had also changed her preferences, which has been a plus. She is Christian but had a nice date with someone who is Muslim. She is also 5-foot-2 and prefers tall men. “I don’t think I would have swiped right on these guys,” she said. “They’re all short.”
And although Ms. Moinzadeh has had previous summers during which she wasn’t on the apps, she is considering making this a long-term thing. She has a vacation planned this summer and plans to spend her downtime hanging with friends and going to concerts.
“If I meet someone cool out of doing that, cool, and if not, I’m not really trying to be pressed around finding a partner,” she said. “Because at this rate, I’m trying to find someone who I authentically connect with as a fit as opposed to just sort of looking actively.”
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