Why Valentine’s Day has would-be lovers going offline

Why Valentine’s Day has would-be lovers going offline
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It’s that time of the year again…February 14

IN an age of technology-assisted dating, when the text has displaced the phone call, the virtual “wink” has replaced face-to-face flirtation and swiping right or left has supplanted striding across the room to say hello, will Valentine’s Day find New York’s singles feeling hopeful — or more disconnected than ever?

Last week, as temperatures in the city ran hot and cold (like some of the city’s more mercurial daters), I set out to get the temperature of New York’s singles in advance of Valentine’s Day with a specific question in mind: Will they be more actively swiping right on apps like Tinder, Bumble and The League to make sure to have a date on V-Day?

I also had in mind a deeper question: Is the proliferation of online dating sites and apps making it easier or more difficult to find the kind of intimacy and love most of us crave, and that Valentine’s Day traditionally celebrates?

Most New York singles interviewed around town said they wouldn’t be hitting the apps any harder than usual, and some would actively avoid the apps to minimize the awkwardness of starting to date someone before the holiday.

“Absolutely not,” said Aaron Watts, 41, of The Bronx, who was grabbing a coffee at Gregory’s on Park Avenue South. “Being on an app right before [Valentine’s] is like asking someone to marry you on your birthday. Too much pressure.”

“No, I’m not [more likely to get on a dating app closer to Valentine’s Day] because dating apps are ruining dating,” said Linda Candella, 46, a marketer who splits her time between New York and Los Angeles. Candella had had plans that evening to meet a man with whom she’d corresponded on an app; it happened to be her birthday, and he’d suggested dinner, but he stood her up, so she was out to dinner with two female friends at The Smith in Flatiron.

“I’m prepared to invest my best effort in a relationship,” she said. “But when it’s online, people don’t value each other’s time.”

On the other hand, approaching Valentine’s Day, “women may be sitting around and vulnerable and maybe they’ll lower their standards a bit,” said Brian Acrish, 46, of Nomad, a consultant. “That will increase the odds.”

Many singles expressed a deeper fatigue with online dating and specifically with dating apps, which for heavy users can mean swiping right or left thousands of times a day.

Mike Chuang, 27, who works for a tech startup and lives in Battery Park City, said he was on several dating apps including Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble, but that it became “tiring” and “mentally it was bad to just keep swiping and judging people based on so little information.”

“I think the apps are a way to prostitute yourself or secure a one night stand at this point,” said Lauren, 27, who works in television and lives in Williamsburg.

Some had a more positive take.

“I came out of a divorce less than a year ago. I’ve tried a lot of apps — Tinder, Grindr — for dates,” said Daniele Bernard, 33, a software engineer who lives in Hell’s Kitchen. “I’ve met some interesting people, some beautiful people. But this [Valentine’s] I’m going to take myself out, or cook myself dinner.”

Singles and experts say for singles over 30, “traditional” dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony may be a better bet for finding love than apps, whether it’s Valentine’s or any day.

“People are coming to me saying, ‘I’m tired of people swiping right and ghosting, or not taking dates seriously, or disappearing after a few dates with no explanation,’” said Michelle Frankel, owner of NYCity Matchmaking, a service which offers coaching as well as fix-ups. “When apps started around five years ago it was trendy. Now everyone is saying, ‘I’m exhausted swiping.’ People are treating it like a game and that’s dehumanizing.”

Not for everyone.

Katie Peters, 30, a textile designer who lives in Caroll Gardens, met her husband on OKCupid three years ago. She had been on the site for a year and a half, while she was his first date after he moved to New York City.

“On our fourth date, I said to my husband, ‘You’re supposed to date around,’ and he looks at me and goes, ‘I don’t want to.’

“So I believe in online dating.”

Her advice to singles on Valentine’s Day? “Believe in love and never give up.”

nypost.com

Heather Robinson is a journalist in Manhattan. She blogs at heatherrobinson.net.

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