Swipe Right for Love: Has Online Dating Lost Its Magic?

Four women of different ages speak up about the highs and lows of dating apps.
Published: June 24, 2024
Four women of different ages speak up about the highs and lows of dating apps.
Photo: Unsplash/Karsten Winegeart

In our hyper-connected, swipe-happy world, dating apps have revolutionised the way women find love, lust, and everything in between. Whether you’re a Gen Z newbie or a seasoned swiping pro, digital platforms offer a unique blend of opportunity and excitement.

In a poll of 500 Singapore-based Gen Zs conducted by Tinder, 72 per cent love that dating apps connect them with people they’d never meet otherwise, and 67 per cent appreciate the convenience of swiping. And it’s no surprise that “Long-Term Relationship” tops the list as the most selected goal on Tinder for users globally, with 40 per cent of users looking for something lasting.

Dating apps are evolving beyond mere matchmaking. They’re becoming social hubs where safety, friendship, and love all intertwine. For women everywhere, this means a more inclusive, supportive, and value-driven approach to finding that special someone. The real question is: What’s the success rate if you are a little older, or perhaps, very much older?

In this ELLE Singapore exclusive, four women whose ages span the 20s to 50s, open up about their experiences with Tinder and other dating apps, and ponder the chances of these encounters leading to a happy ending.

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Four women of different ages speak up about the highs and lows of dating apps.
Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash/Flure Bunny


E-commerce executive, consumer health and nutrition products

“Seeing everyone around me coupling up made me realise it was my turn to find a partner, too. However, it was hard to meet men when my social circle consisted mostly of women from school and work.

My best friend met her boyfriend on a dating app, and that success story sparked something in me. With a little encouragement from her, I dipped my toes into the world of dating apps at 20. Tinder was the only one I ever tried, and I stuck with it for a few months.

Overall, it was a positive experience. Mainly because I knew exactly what I wanted—a boyfriend with long-term potential. Given that I was very clear about my goals, I took the time to read through every profile, and I only matched with someone if I felt interested. That’s where I met my fiancé, Samuel.

My advice for anyone looking for a serious relationship on a dating app is to make sure your matches share your values. Also, if you ever feel uncomfortable during the online dating process, don’t be afraid to stop all contact and block that person.

When we were chatting online in the early days, Samuel once offered to bring lunch to my house, but I declined as I was hesitant to share my address. I felt it was wiser to be cautious. Thankfully, he didn’t lose interest after I turned him down. Feeling safe was important to me, so I appreciated having our first real-life date in a familiar, bustling café instead. Other precautions I took included informing my best friend and brother about my whereabouts.

The spark with Samuel started right there on Tinder. His profile had travel photos that hinted at a love for exploring, which we shared. He messaged first, and we hit it off straight away. Our daily chats were a mix of life stories, pictures of our meals, and discussions about our favourite things. He texted to make sure that I had reached home safely whenever I went out.

Before we met in person, we spent a good two months getting to know each other through text messages. We exchanged social media handles to get a better sense of each other’s personalities and interests. It deepened our connection and gave us more to talk about. After two months of constant chatting, we felt confident enough to arrange a brunch date.

The date went exceptionally well. We started meeting up every day for walks, which I loved. Within two weeks, Samuel asked me to be his girlfriend. Fast forward to today, we’re happily engaged, and can’t wait to move into our Build-to-Order (BTO) flat!

I’m a big believer in dating apps for everyone, of all ages and genders. For young adults like me looking to date, dating apps offer a valuable platform for connecting with potential partners. My best friend’s success story only reinforced that belief.”

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Four women of different ages speak up about the highs and lows of dating apps.
Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash/Nik

CAMY, 37

Marketing consultant, creative industry

“I meet a lot of people in my line of work but none that I had chemistry with, romantically. So, I took the plunge and tried various apps like Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and OkCupid.

While dating apps do open doors to meeting people you might not usually cross paths with—I once matched with a freelance actor—it’s not always foolproof. Profiles are curated versions of reality, so you might not be getting an accurate picture of the real person. Dating apps or not, this applies even if you meet people through other means. The most fun part for me is matching on behalf of my friends. My friend saw a cute guy at an event, so we set up accounts to look through profiles, and we found him on the app—mission accomplished!

Here are my top tips for anyone considering dating apps: Firstly, let your friends read your profile to ensure it sounds 100 per cent like you—they may know you better than you do yourself. Secondly, look for people you would want to be friends with. That way, even if romance doesn’t blossom, you might meet some cool new people who enrich your life in other ways. Lastly, don’t get hung up on a checklist. You might chance upon someone wonderful who initially may not have fit your preconceived notions of the perfect partner.

Ironically, that’s exactly what happened when I came across my partner’s profile. He wasn’t someone I would have normally swiped right on but his “Super Like” on my profile on Tinder caught my eye. I paused to browse through his profile and liked it. He seemed like a sincere and sweet guy who came from a different social circle. We hit it off pretty much immediately, which was different from many of the other people that I spoke with previously. We soon took things offline and found we had great chemistry in real life, too. So it’s true when they say that ‘when you meet the right person, it will make sense’.

I think that dating apps are great for everyone. However, I’ve noticed that clarity of intention seems rather different across age groups. People in older age groups clearly state what their intentions are—be it looking for a life partner or casual company. For the younger ones, it seems like they are really dating to explore their options or are still in the process of figuring it out.

As with anything digital, dating apps are what you make of it. Tinder, in my opinion, has the biggest mix of profiles, and you can sieve through this wide pool to find someone who fits you well. You just need to learn to look out for profiles that are right for you.

And if it gets a little too overwhelming, take a break. I actually went offline for a while, but then I read an inspiring story about someone who made friends through the app. That gave me a new perspective, and I came back with a goal to meet interesting people, and broaden my horizons.”

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Four women of different ages speak up about the highs and lows of dating apps.
Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash/Good Faces Agency


Senior manager, jewellery industry

“I was single, pushing 40, and open to settling down. But due to the long hours of my job, there was very little time to make friends outside of work. My friends also didn’t have anyone to introduce to me. So, in 2014, on a friend’s suggestion, I went on Tinder and Bumble to meet new people.

I suppose dating apps, like other ways of meeting new people, can be hit-or-miss. Chatting with someone on the app and meeting them in person can be very different. That’s why it’s important to take things offline and see how the connection develops.

Overall, I have had a positive experience using dating apps. I met my partner, Leo, on Tinder eight years ago. Before we met, we had both met other people on dating apps. His profile caught my eye because he seemed interesting, and we bonded over our shared love of travel and adventure. We chatted online for three months before meeting up for our first date.

When it comes to creating your profile, you only have a limited amount of space to showcase yourself, so make it count. Write something that reflects your personality and lifestyle. That way, you’ll be able to attract the people who are right for you—who resonate with what you’ve shared.

Just be yourself, and be open to meeting new people. It may be a process, though with an open mind, you’d be able to meet many new people, and one of them would definitely be someone you’d hit it off with—maybe even become the love of your life!

Dating apps are a great option for women of all ages, especially in Singapore. Many women here are very busy with work, which leaves less time for socialising and meeting new people. Tinder is the best platform for me because I felt it had higher-quality people, and more people I could connect with better. I also felt the user interface was simple and intuitive, and much easier to navigate than the other apps.

Sure, it takes some effort, and you might have to go on a lot of dates before you find someone special. But considering that so many people, including myself, have found love through dating apps, I believe they are the new way to meet someone special. If you’re looking for a partner, I encourage you to give them a try!”

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Four women of different ages speak up about the highs and lows of dating apps.
Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash/Good Faces Agency


Marketing manager, media industry

“My friends got me started on dating apps two years ago. Over dinner one evening, they insisted I should meet more people outside my work circle. They installed Bumble on my phone, wrote my bio, and chose my profile photo. They suggested I give it a month’s trial, and delete it if I didn’t like it.

I chose to use Bumble because the woman gets to make the first move which makes me feel safe. Initially, it was fun and a real ego booster to receive texts from men interested in getting to know me. But a week in, I felt I was wasting a lot of time combing through dozens of profiles and replying to messages, all the while trying to be witty. Then I got smarter and came up with a filtering method of my own. If the match disappears after 24 hours—due to lack of communication—I eliminate him. But if the man requests an extension, that’s who I’ll invest my time in.

Honestly, dating apps are merely a tool, it’s how you use it. I’ve heard both negative and positive stories, and I know two couples who got married through it. The first guy I dated expected to go to bed with me on our first date, and when I said no, he left me at the restaurant after dinner!

On a more positive note, I did meet someone who I dated for six months. He was a foreigner, and I was impressed that he could speak my language without an accent. After our second date, we both agreed not to chat with other people while getting to know each other. We had a lot in common, from movies to music and books. Although we’re no longer dating, it was nice while it lasted. After that, I never went back to dating apps. I still prefer meeting men in person because the back-and-forth messaging is stressful. It would be nice to meet someone and go on dates, but it’s not my priority.

In the short time I spent on Bumble, I learnt that what you see is not always what you get, so don’t bank on it too much, even if you have been chatting or texting for weeks. Meeting someone in person can be a very different, and not always positive, experience. It’s best to have the mindset that you’re meeting to make friends instead of assuming this could be ‘The One’.

I suggest that when putting up your profile picture, don’t Photoshop it too much, because that can be considered catfishing. Also, the older you get, the slimmer the chances of finding someone your age. I’m not into much younger men—a few years’ difference is fine, but not significantly younger. I feel flattered that younger men show interest, but they sometimes make me feel like a cougar!”

*Names and occupations have been changed to protect identities.

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