Online dating closed the coffin on meet-cutes—and that’s really a great thing


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There comes a time in every relationship where you will have to answer the question: “So… how did you guys meet?” It can be tempting to come up with something like, “Oh, my heel got stuck in a manhole cover and a dumpster was rolling down the street right at me and he jumped to save me.” (Yes, I did just reference The Wedding Planner and now you are 100 percent going to watch that tonight, you’re welcome.) In an age where so many people are meeting their significant others on dating apps, it can feel a little less special to say that instead of meeting in the wild, you met on Hinge or Bumble. But instead of feeling this pressure to have an amazing meet cute, we should all just embrace the new way we meet romantic partners.

I have met people IRL in very meet-cutesy ways, and I’ve met people on dating apps. And I have fallen victim to the over-romanticization of relationship origin stories. It’s easy to watch movies like When Harry Met Sally and The Holiday and wish for my very own swoon-worthy moment. But in the end, aren’t we all just looking for love? Who cares if you find it IRL or on your phone (like, with another human via an app not a Her sitch.)

Let me just throw this out there: in a meet-cute situation you literally know nothing about the other person at first. At least with an online profile, you can see if they’re the type of person who thinks posing with a dead fish is a good idea for attracting potential mates.

A paper from researchers at Stanford University and University of New Mexico found that in 1995, 2 percent of heterosexual couples met on the internet. In 2010, number climbed to 20 percent. In 2017, it went up to 39 percent. So when I say the meet-cute is dead, I don’t mean that meeting people IRL doesn’t happen. It does. But just because you had a cute first encounter doesn’t guarantee that you will be a romantic match.

An example: I was trying to escape from a terrible date the other week (a conspiracy theorist, among other things) when a guy—we’ll call him Kyle—clearly sensed that I was being held hostage and came over to help. We ran off into the night (figuratively and kind of literally) and stayed up talking until 1 a.m. It felt right out of a movie. Even I, a person who has become somewhat jaded from dating in Los Angeles, was like, wow, this is really cute—is it fate? It was… most definitely not. I have other stories that could have come right out of a rom-com; I am still very single.

TBH if you met your partner on Bumble or another dating app, and you’re exclusively dating, you both are forsaking all other right swipes. That’s beautiful. Swipe culture has made it hard to do that, because it messes with the reward center of our brains.

As I have learned first hand, it can be really (really, really, really) hard to find love. Dating is terrible whether you’re meeting people on dating apps or in bars or at yoga class. So if you’ve found someone, proudly share your origin story. Even if you think it’s underwhelming to say you met on an app. Because the point isn’t how you met—it’s that you did.

Okay, bad news: relationship experts say you shouldn’t act out your breakup revenge fantasies. Plus, these are the best dating apps for finding love or sex or whatever.

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