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I don’t believe hookup culture has infected our brains and turned us into soulless sex-hungry swipe monsters. It doesn’t do to pretend that dating in the app era hasn’t changed. Tinder arrived in 2012, and nipping at its heels came other imitators and twists on the format, like Hinge (connects you with friends of friends), Bumble (women have to message first), and others.

Older online dating sites like OKCupid now have apps as well.

And he realized, he says, that “the idea of being one swipe away from a potential mate kind of lowers the meaning of potential interaction.”Hinge, originally, was a swiping app very similar to Tinder except that it only offered you people who were connected to you through Facebook friends.

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This tension may lead to people walking a middle path—lingering on the apps while not actively using them much.

I can feel myself half-assing it sometimes, for just this reason.

If you just sit on your butt and wait to see if life delivers you love, then you have no right to complain.“Other than trying to go to a ton of community events, or hanging out at bars—I’m not really big on bars—I don’t feel like there’s other stuff to necessarily do to meet people,” Hyde says.

“So it’s almost like the only recourse other than just sort of sitting around waiting for luck to strike is dating apps.”But then, if you get tired of the apps, or have a bad experience on them, it creates this ambivalence—should you stop doing this thing that makes you unhappy or keep trying in the hopes it might yield something someday?

But in the past year or so, I’ve felt the gears slowly winding down, like a toy on the dregs of its batteries.

I feel less motivated to message people, I get fewer messages from others than I used to, and the exchanges I do have tend to fizzle out before they become dates. “I’m going to project a really bleak theory on you,” Fetters says.

“What if everyone who was going to find a happy relationship on a dating app already did?

Maybe everyone who’s on Tinder now are like the last people at the party trying to go home with someone.”Now that the shine of novelty has worn off these apps, they aren’t fun or exciting anymore. There’s a sense that if you’re single, and you don’t want to be, you need to something to change that.

And while no one is denying the existence of fuckboys, I hear far more complaints from people who are trying to find relationships, or looking to casually date, who just find that it’s not working, or that it’s much harder than they expected.“I think the whole selling point with dating apps is ‘Oh, it’s so easy to find someone,’ and now that I’ve tried it, I’ve realized that’s actually not the case at all,” says my friend Ashley Fetters, a 26-year-old straight woman who is an editor at in New York City.

The easiest way to meet people turns out to be a really labor-intensive and uncertain way of getting relationships.

While the possibilities seem exciting at first, the effort, attention, patience, and resilience it requires can leave people frustrated and exhausted.“It only has to work once, theoretically,” says Elizabeth Hyde, a 26-year-old bisexual law student in Indianapolis.

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