After Steve, a 41-year-old in Texas, got divorced, he decided to jump back into the dating pool by joining Tinder. It didn’t take long for him to sour on the service. He says it totally changed the way he thought of women, and dating itself.
Brian, 47, experimented with crude wordplay and rubbed his match the wrong way. Then he changed his bio and got banned.
Josh, 45, fared slightly better — when he switched to Bumble.
Many people believe Tinder, like stairs, is a young person’s game. But plenty of men and women wade into online dating on the apps their younger counterparts made famous — and find a whole new world awaiting them. Some get burned out quickly. What’s it like for the over-40 set out there, and how did dating apps change their views on love? How did they navigate the new rules of courtship, and were they successful?
We talked to a few guys to find out. Their responses were more raw and honest than we expected.
This story is updating — we’ll add more submissions as they arrive.
Josh, 45, from Florida
I signed up for Tinder after separating from my wife and looking to put myself out on the dating market again. I wasn’t sure what I would encounter or what value women would see in me at my age, but it went much better than I expected.
From reading a lot of dating forum reports, I was bracing for a lot of being ignored or not getting many matches, but I heeded the advice of making my photos the absolute best they could be and it seemed to work. I got a number of good matches, mostly with women between the age range of 34 and 48, which led to several conversations and first dates.
Most of my dates were very nice women, but we just didn’t click really well. I’ve read younger generations view Tinder as a hookup app, but the couple of women I actually met up with were clearly not looking to just hook up. That said, I did find women on Tinder to be way flakier, in terms of dropping online conversations and disappearing, than [women] on Bumble. A majority of my matches on Tinder involved a conversation that would start only for them to go radio silent for seemingly no reason.
My theory is more women were using Tinder more for validation than meeting someone serious.
That said, about two months in I met a woman on Bumble and we hit it off. We’ve been together now for 10 months, so I guess that’s a pretty good success!
Brian, 47, from Florida
I came to Tinder for the women — at least that was the selling point. But I still had reservations that it wouldn’t work.
It wasn’t a hookup app, or a girlfriend app, or a long-term-relationship app — it was an unmitigated disaster. Knowing that I had swiped right on every attractive woman that wasn’t clearly insane (and some that were) for six months and getting close enough to zero matches was very bad for my self-esteem at a time I needed self-esteem.
Most the women I did match with were between 37 and 48, and in very few instances, the flirtation seemed real… but then she’d go dark. On the very rare occasion I got as far as five or seven messages. The rest of the time, I’d match, reach out once or twice, and get nothing.
One story sums up my experience with Tinder pretty nicely, and it happened to be the last time I (amazingly) matched with a woman. I was not particularly attracted to her, but in her bio, she used the phrase “precum ketchup” and warned anyone about discussing “slapping her ass.” I just felt like I should swipe right on someone who used the phrase “precum ketchup” on general principle, right? So we matched. Hooray.
I message her something along the lines of , “Hey, I love your usage of precum ketchup. It showed some real resourcefulness using an up until now unknown phrase.” I then told her about a fantasy book I had heard about that involved burrs that could stick in your foot, and to get them out, you had to utter an insult that had never been used before. I told her precum ketchup could probably get a magical burr out of her foot. Then I asked if I could slap her ass.
It was pretty depressing, frankly. I think she’d used all of her literary juice with precum ketchup, or had just fallen into laziness. We did not “hook up.”
Then I changed my profile to include the phrase “Fuck Trump.” Tinder banned me shortly thereafter, presumably due to me being reported. Fuck Tinder.
Steve, 41, from Houston, Texas
After my divorce I wanted to start dating again. [I] knew of Tinder, so I joined it. At first I was looking for women 30 to 40 but then started focusing on 30 to 35 mostly, since matches were all over the place when I got them.
I would say 60 to 70 percent of women between 30 and 35 were looking for a hookup that could lead to more. Their first goal is a date and sex, but they don’t come out and say it. You go to dinner, go back to their or your place and then they ghost you and move on. Maybe it was me not ticking a box, or maybe they had other options to try out.
Then there is another 10 to 15 percent that are scams or bots.
Then the rest are looking for marriage, but it’s almost as if you don’t matter in this equation. Almost all want a kid right away. You can spot them a mile away. They start out with one of their interview questions that lot of them list on their profile: What do you do? How much do you make? What kind of car do you drive? Where do you live? Are you paying child support?
They want to know what you have to offer in a marriage. Most have kids already, but me having kids that stay with me half the time was a dealbreaker for most. Which is funny, because a surprisingly high number of women looking strictly for a marriage partner have a youngest child of 16 to 18. Me and a couple friends who were all on Tinder around the same time used to joke that if a woman had a youngest child between 16 and 18, there was a 95 percent chance she’d have those types of questions listed.
I’ve met very few where we even had a chance to actually have a relationship, but those did not last simply due to the overwhelming number of options they had.
Overall it changed my view on women and dating. Now women don’t want a person to share their life with. They want a short-term boyfriend or they want to shop for a husband with the required extra features, like they’re at a husband mall. I guess that is sort of what Tinder is for them.
Some are looking for future child support but not many. Most are thinking husbands are supposed to support their wives. Then they want a husband that supports them in a comfortable style — and when there are so many men to choose from, they don’t want to waste time on those who don’t offer that life.
As for dating, even if I meet someone in my age range another way, it might as well be a Tinder date. It’s just not personal like a real date — a real date is where two people go out to get to know each other and determine if they are compatible. A Tinder date is either a hookup for sex or someone interviewing you to see if you check all the boxes, or both, where a hookup is the avenue for them to find “their ideal” husband.
I have been on five to six dates [outside of Tinder] since, and each woman mentioned Tinder pretty quickly. I’ve decided that if they’re dating on Tinder, they will approach the relationship the same way as if they met on Tinder.
Now I lie about my job and how much money I have and make so women go on dates with me for me, and not because I live in a nice area or have a good salary. I also use a prepaid phone for Tinder. I don’t want to end up with an oops baby from someone looking for a payday or forgetting to/lying about taking the pill.
I want someone I connect with, and Tinder is simply not personal enough. I’m not looking to be a salesman to get you to buy my goods and Tinder made dating seem like an auction.
End result is that I am 0 for whatever. I have mostly given up hope of finding someone not ruined by Tinder.