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Around one in four relationships start online now, and among the millennial generation, the number is likely to be even higher.
But as our smartphones become increasingly powerful, fewer of us are dating from behind our desktops, rather turning to the digital devices in our pockets.
The stigma that was once attached to online dating has well and truly disappeared – in fact, you’re more likely to raise eyebrows if you’re single and not on any dating apps.
Recent years have seen an explosion of dating apps, and there seem to be incredibly niche ones launching every day. For some people, swiping through fellow singles and potential romantic partners is merely a bit of fun and a way to entertain themselves during TV ad breaks.
If you wear glasses or are into people who do, try Spex, for example. But whether you’re after a meaningful relationship or just some casual dates, there’s an almost overwhelming number of dating apps from which to choose nowadays.
We set ourselves the challenge of trying as many as we could over the course of six weeks.
We have been on many dates and our phone has been pinging with notifications non-stop (trying to keep conversations going with lots of different men is actually quite the commitment – some dating apps are high-maintenance.) All the apps allow you to search for men, women or both, with all of them available on i OS devices, most on Android and some for Windows Phone, too. Tinder: Free Possibly the best-known dating app of them all, Tinder is most people’s first port-of-call when entering the world of dating apps.
It’s super quick to join – you simply upload some photos and an optional bio, set your age and distance preferences, and away you go, swiping left or right on potential suitors.
However there are also plenty of people using Tinder just for hook-ups.You can pay money for premium features including Tinder Passport (the ability to swipe through matches elsewhere in the world, say, before a trip) and Rewind, for those times when you swipe left too hastily and immediately regret it. Bumble: Free Bumble is much like Tinder but with one key difference: only women can start the conversations after a match is made.The idea behind it is to save women from receiving leering advances or cringey chat-up lines from men, and it also takes the pressure off guys to start conversations.There’s a twist though: after you match, you only have 24 hours to start the conversation, otherwise he’ll disappear forever.Similarly, your match only has 24 hours to reply – if he does though, the time limit disappears for future messages.The trouble with this is that sometimes you just don’t have time to go on Bumble for over 24 hours, thus potentially missing out on your soul mate. Happn: Free Happn shows you singles with whom you’ve crossed paths.You create your profile through Facebook and can also link your Instagram and Spotify accounts if you like, set your preferences, then scroll down through your options.The people you’ve crossed paths with most recently will be at the top, meaning if you go on during your lunch-break you’ll inevitably happen upon your colleagues.The app also tells you how many times you’ve crossed paths with each person, meaning you quickly learn who your neighbours are (we have in the past recognised a man in my street and been unable to place him before realising we’d seen him on Bumble and we’d crossed paths 167 times).Unfortunately there’s no way of searching by time or location so if you don’t go on the app straight away you may never be able to find that cute girl from Pret – in a big city you cross paths with so many people every day, so Happn can be a bit overwhelming. Match: Free app but membership costs £29.99 for one month Match feels like a step-up from the more casual dating apps in that the sign-up process takes a while and membership isn’t free – £29.99 for one month seems expensive, but the price per month decreases significantly if you sign up for longer (if you sign up for six months, it equates to £12.99 a month).Perhaps because they’re paying, people on the app definitely treat it more seriously.