God, where do I even start with this one??!! We’ve all been there haven’t we? Every single girl in the land today has run the risk of getting RSI as she has religiously swiped left with the occasional right on a dating app like Tinder, Bumble etc.

You see a face which takes your fancy on your chosen dating app, read the fluffy PR that they have written about themselves and decide which move to make. If you’re lucky, it will come up as a match. If not, who cares? It’s onto the next one in the online meat market.

Not love at first sight

When I first became single, I downloaded Tinder and had a little look. I was in utter shock at what I was presented with. I hated it on sight and I immediately deleted my profile off the dating app. Fast forward a couple of months, and I tried again. I did date two people who I had met in real life in between but that went nowhere. So, I decided to dip my toe into the modern approach again.

Fast forward another year and I have deleted Tinder yet again … and moved onto Bumble. They are, of course, both as bad as each other. But, I don’t have the time for the life admin of both, so I have stuck to the latter dating app more recently.

It’s bloody awful. Aside from the fact that it’s a handy way to look super busy and/or pass the time on our phones should it be required, dating app life seems to be a lot of effort and emotional upheaval for very little reward.

I have been on a string of first, second and third dates. I have got so far as a fifth date with one human – though I feel like I am miles away from getting into double digits and finding someone to have that takeout with on a Tuesday evening.

The digital fairytale

Yet, we hold onto the tales of the couples who have met on such a dating app and gone on to live happily ever after. My ex-husband is one of them, annoyingly. A Tinder match led to his next serious relationship – and a stepmother for our son, TJ. Then, you get the stories of the ones who went on all of the blind dates just to meet the love of their lives in the post office instead.

So, why do people like me keep going back to online dating for more?

Love.

That’s my answer anyway. I want the SATC ‘ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming can’t-live-without-each-other love’ which Carrie Bradshaw told us about all those years ago. I thought I had it when I got married eight years ago. But I was wrong. Now, I am looking for more and I just won’t settle for less.

But, what do other people go back to Bumble et al for?

Who knows? I can’t help but wonder what it really is which other people keep going through this repetitive process for. There’s definitely the types who are doing it for the confidence boost. The ones who may actually already be in a relationship but need to have their ego stroked in what may seem a legitimate manner (there’s a big debate in there which I will come back to one day).

There’s the ones who do it for sex. Oh, there’s a lot of those out there. This is a concept which baffles me. I can never imagine having robotic sex without emotion getting involved in one way or another. So, even though I am pleased that I haven’t gained a lot of notches on my bedpost due to a dating app, maybe this is where I am going wrong. I have never and don’t intend to send a sext or a nude … but maybe that’s what drives the online dating world?

So, what’s the alternative to a dating app?

It would seem that people just do not meet in bars anymore. Back over a decade ago, when I was last single (!), you could meet a guy any night of the damn week in a bar. Meet more than one, if luck was on your side or you had done your hair nicely. It was no problem whatsoever.

Dating a decade ago also didn’t seem to be as complicated as it is now. Once you had met that person in a bar and you had a couple of dates, then that was seemingly it. You could legitimately say you were at least going out and, at best, you were boyfriend and girlfriend. The biggest digital dilemma to overcome was when to say you were in a relationship on Facebook.

There was no concern, or none that I experienced, that said person would be dating/seeing/shagging anyone else but you. And, if they were, it was game over for the cheating swine. Now, you have to begin on the premise that he’s getting his end away elsewhere too. And why wouldn’t he be?? His phone is beeping off the hook with messages from the random girls within his selected mile radius. So, you have to prove to this person that you are worthy of pausing or deleting that dating app. That they should focus on you, and you alone, at least for the next bit of time to see what happens.

For fuck’s sake

The world has become a dial-a-fuck. Woo a girl, get in her pants. Woo another girl, get in her pants as well … the following night. Is it because it’s too easy now? Our phones make it possible to meet that next someone on the bus ride to work, rather than having to wait for the next Saturday night to roll around. No wonder we’re all portraying distorted versions of ourselves with edited selfies and catfishing shenanigans – we’re all competing for attention on a nearly 24/7 basis.

And, if you don’t want to be a dial-a-fuck, does it mean you’re looking in the wrong place, both online and in real life? I don’t know. I deleted the dating app for a while as a New Year’s Resolution – but it didn’t go all that well actually … 

I can only hope things will change at some point and I’ll meet a Mr Right (Now) in the line at Tesco. If not, I will completely lose my faith in all men and move to the convent opposite my house – maybe those sisters are onto something.