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Looking for love this Valentine’s Day? Why not try a dating app?

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Illustration Deviatnikov
Illustration Deviatnikov
The Valentine apps
Looking for love this Valentine’s Day? Why not try a dating app?
We get it — Valentine’s Day 
sucks if you’re alone. Can a 
dating app solve your love woes 
once and for all?Tinder, Bumble, 
Coffee Meets Bagel, these apps and 
many more promise that you can 
find your next romance, right from 
your smartphone. 
Do they work? Well, just from 
numbers alone you’re pretty much 
covered. Tinder, the undisputed 
king of mobile dating apps, has an 
estimated 9.6 million daily active 
users, the company says 26 million 
matches are made per day. Unless 
you already have a bustling social 
life, simply joining the app can 
increase your odds exponentially.
Illustration mayrum
Illustration mayrum
Terry, 37, found his girlfriend through Tinder, calling the experience “a mixed bag, but mostly positive.” Sally (not her real name), in her 20s, had one failed relationship from Tinder, but also found her current boyfriend through the app. As to why dating apps have caught on, Terry offers that dating apps offer a less chaotic alternative to meeting new people in real life. “Dating apps are a digitized version of how you get to know strangers at social settings. The only difference is you’re doing it in a comfortable and safe environment, and choose to meet your match only when you’re comfortable with the other half.”But are your matches looking for love, or casual flings? It wouldn’t be bad when expectations match, but what if they don’t? Dating apps have been blamed for inflaming “hookup culture” and bringing upon a “marriage apocalypse.” Are dating apps just for hookups only? Hinge, a swiping app that originally resembled Tinder, collected data through multiple surveys to more than 500,000 of their users. They found that six in 10 men on “the leading swiping app” are looking primarily for flings or entertainment, seven in 10 women on “the leading swiping app” have received sexually explicit messages or images, and 81 percent of their users have never found a long-term relationship on any swiping app. However, Hinge also found that men and women surveyed said they would like to have more emotionally intimate and lasting relationships. It led the company to completely redesign their app to help foster ‘real’ relationships. Sally advises to state your intentions up front about what you’re looking for. “The profile you build matters as well. If you put all your skanky clubbing photos, then you might be perceived as a goodtime girl. After all, dating apps are mostly about first impressions. It’s all common sense really.” Perhaps finding the “one” can be too much to put on any dating app — not to mention the pressure on yourself and others. Even though both Terry and Sally have both had successes using dating apps, they both suggest that you don’t start with high expectations. Sally used these apps to meet more people, not just potential partners, and Terry also used them to widen his social circle. “Get to know more people,” Terry said, “And if you happen to find a match, then work hard on the relationship.”
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Which apps to try?
By the numbers, Tinder is the world’s biggest dating app. Swipe right to like, swipe left to pass. If someone likes you back, it’s a match and you can start chatting. If it sounds superficial to you, then you know why it’s been accused for encouraging hookup culture.
On Bumble, only the women can send the first message on matches, giving them the power to choose. It also gives them protection from explicit spam and abusive messages. Founded by a group of former Tinder employees.
Happn uses location tracking to show you other users that you’ve crossed paths with. If you’ve ever wanted to talk to that cute somebody you keep bumping into, Happn might make it happen – if you can get over how creepy location tracking your crush is. Coffee Meets Bagel Each day at noon, guys will receive a small number of possible matches (“bagels”), and women will choose who gets to talk to them among the guys who liked them. Using the app, you get “coffee beans,” which can be used to buy more bagels.
If you believe in the power of the algorithm, check out OkCupid. The site and app asks you a series of questions to get to know you, then uses the romantic powers of math to find you possible matches.