The Reason It’s So Hard To Find Happy Relationships on Dating Apps

I have a question for you.

If you could start a relationship with the hottest man or woman in your city, would you?

Let’s say you live in New York and you’re a straight man and you were able to meet the collectively agreed upon most attractive woman in the city. Would you want her to be your girlfriend?

I imagine many people would say yes, and certainly there’s a part of all of us that wants that, but why? Let’s consider it.

What are the chances that person would be a good match for you? What are the chances your relationship would be happy? The answer is slim to none.

So why would we want to date them? It’s simple — we’re not seeking happiness, we’re seeking status.

Now let’s talk about online dating apps.

Hot or Not 2.0

Do you remember the website hotornot.com? It was a website where you could rate people’s attractiveness on a scale of 1 through 10. Then the website would calculate an average rating, based on the thousands of votes.

The people who were bold (or vain) enough would submit their own picture and wait in anticipation to see if they were hot, or not.

It was simple and brilliant, because no one thought it was a good way to meet people, it was just a fun website. So how come the most popular dating apps are basically more advanced versions of hot or not?

Sites like Tinder and Bumble would be great if people were looking for hook ups, but great relationships are based on shared values, and those apps aren’t designed to connect people like that.

It’s worth actually stopping here because I don’t want us to get the impression that an app like tinder being used for hook ups would be a bad idea, in fact I believe the fact that we don’t know how to have casual hook ups is part of why we struggle so much in relationships.

Getting Serious About Casual Sex

Before Tinder there was Grindr, which is an app where gay men match with each other based on location & mutual interest, and it’s mostly for hook ups. The gay community is more relaxed about casual sex than the straight community, because they don’t have the same stigmas around jumping into bed with someone quickly.

Because of things like slut-shaming, gay people have an easier time hooking up without shame and/or playing games to get the other person in bed, because they don’t have to put on a front. They just come out and say what they want.

That’s the problem with apps like Tinder and Bumble — they’re designed for hook ups, not matchmaking, but we straight people can’t use them for that because we’re all afraid of being judged. So we play games. We say “no hook ups” but that makes no sense.

Someone on Tinder who “isn’t there for hook ups” is the equivalent of someone visiting Southern California who’s “not into sunny days”. I’m not saying you won’t get cloudy days in San Diego, but you’re way better off going to Seattle if that’s what you’re looking for.

Shared Values > Attraction

At the end of the day, if you’re wanting a happy relationship you should be looking to find someone who aligns with your values, not just someone you want to have sex with. One of the things I find so ridiculous on apps like Bumble are the people who “aren’t there for hook ups” but offer nothing about their values in their profile.

In my experience, about 95% of the women on Bumble write nothing of substance in their profile, which would make a logical person think they just want to hook up, but that’s not how it plays out. What they really want is to play games, feel validated and fill the hole in their self-esteem.

Men are just as guilty — we lead people on, we say what we think women want to hear, and we’re not upfront and honest about what we want.

Btw, here’s my new Bumble profile.

How well do you think this will “work” for me? That depends what you mean by “work”. Our default success metric for these apps is the same as it was with hotornot.com — get the most matches. But why? So we can spend all day chatting with people we aren’t a match for? That sounds terrible.

The problem with sharing who you really are is you might get rejected a lot. In fact, if you do it right you’ll definitely get rejected a lot, because you actually aren’t a match for every guy or girl out there. When you get real — you’re probably only a match for 1 or 2% of the population.

We’re Always Choosing — Status or Happiness

This is the big take away, are you ready?

The reason it’s so hard to find happy relationships is we’re not really looking for them. We’re actually just looking for validation. You may disagree, but that’s what our actions are saying.

If we’re not looking for a relationship, or if we’re open to something other than a committed partnership, we should just say that, and save ourselves the heartache.

Hi everyone, I like sex and I want to have it with someone I’m attracted to.

Sounds simple, right? Yes people will judge you, but they’re gonna judge you anyways. You can’t escape that. And if you’re looking for a long term relationship, please do yourself a favor and get off dating apps. Go somewhere where the people who share your values hang out. Maybe your church, or an entrepreneur meet up, or a personal growth seminar.

Happy relationships are built on shared values, not sexual attraction. Yes, sexual attraction plays a part, but it’s the second floor of the house, not the foundation. You need to find someone who shares your vision for life, and unless the vision for your life is snap chat filters and “sunday fundayyyyy” you’re wasting your time on apps like bumble and tinder.

Honesty will save your life, but only if you have the courage to use it.


Get thought-provoking essays that question the status-quo
(and question questioning the status-quo).