Even when you decide to answer, many users will not respond, having lost interest or been tempted by one of the site’s many other profiles.
Some people disappear after a few exchanges—sometimes even after you’ve made plans to meet.
You may also start talking to someone only to realize that you are no longer interested in getting to know them better.
It can take many exchanges to get to a real live date.
Meanwhile, online, I could decide between sites with free memberships, such as Plenty of Fish; paid sites with an older, more earnest clientele, such as e Harmony; niche sites such as and Gluten-Free Singles; and many others, all slightly differentiated by price, demographics, and objectives.
I signed up for Tinder and Bumble—two apps with simple interfaces that invite users to swipe on pictures of people they find attractive—as well as Ok Cupid.
A message from a prospective mate every day may sound like a lot.
But given the extremely low probability that any given message will lead to a serious relationship, it’s not.
My filter settings are pretty generous—if you have a compatibility rating of higher than 70 percent, are of at least “average” attractiveness, and send more than a three-word message—“Hey” and “Yo girl” are not acceptable—your message will make it to me.
(Filters are common—especially for women, who often receive a high number of lewd or casual messages from spam profiles, and generic messages from men who send the same note to a swath of profiles.) Of the 708 messages I received over the next fourteen months, 530 ended up in the filtered inbox, which left me with about one message of decent-or-above quality a day.
Following a romance in my early twenties with an older man who, I eventually accepted, was simply at a different stage of life, I went through a series of short relationships of varying significance.
I met lovely men—many of whom remain my friends—but by my mid-thirties, I still hadn’t met anyone with whom I felt that same degree of connection and passion I had known with my first love.
I was searching for a committed relationship with a supportive partner, someone I could love deeply and who shared my values and goals.