Tinder gets a bad (or good, depending on what you’re looking for) rap for being a hookup app that encourages users to judge potential partners from a handful of selfies and a few lines of text.
But maybe a couple of Facebook pics and some liberal right-swiping is all you need to find your future wife—after all, a University of Chicago study found that more than a third of marriages start online, and that online couples have longer, happier marriages. So maybe Tinder—or any of the other dating apps out there—isn’t just for finding a nearby bootycall or a friends-with-benefits situation. There are plenty of online dating app success stories out there. Here are 10.
I had been on Tinder for about two years, but I had fewer than a hundred matches because I’m so picky. I saw Rafael’s profile and what really stood out to me was the photo that showed his huuuge…library! I’m a bookworm, so seeing that he had even more books than I did was what really made me swipe right on him. (I told him that, but he still thinks I’m kidding—I’m not!)
After we matched, we talked nonstop for a few days. Then he asked me out for coffee, and I stupidly said no—I don’t drink coffee, but he just thought I didn’t want to go out with him. Later, I invited him out for a beer, he agreed, and we’ve been dating ever since…it’ll be five months next week.
When people ask us how we met, we usually just say “online,” and he grins like an idiot while saying, “I asked her out and she said no.”
- Mariana & Rafael
I was a poor college student who went on Tinder dates mainly for the free food. Every once in a while the date would go well and we’d meet again and hook up a few times, but most of the time the guy wasn’t looking for anything serious (and neither was I.)
That’s how I met Michael—our Tinder date of Thai food went really well, so we saw each other a couple more times and started hooking up. The sex was amazing and he wanted to be exclusive. I was on the edge because we were both moving away, but eventually he talked me into it and we dated for five months. We broke up when we moved to opposite ends of the country, but we’re still friends!
- Jenna & Michael
The first thing I noticed about Dave’s OkCupid profile was that it was terrible. He had three or four stupid pictures (weird faces, sunglasses, groups of people) and hardly any text. He’s lucky I put some effort into my profile because he found me by typing “Japan and biking” into the search box, and I mentioned in my profile that I had lived in Japan when I was younger and that I liked biking. He messaged me and said that he also had lived in Japan, and I remember thinking to myself, “Fine, I’ll entertain this person with the terrible profile because maybe we’ll have this Japan connection and can be friends.”
We spent the next three days messaging, and then we met for coffee. We had actually gone to the same international school in Japan—just at different times—so we spent the whole time talking about living in Japan and the people we had in common. At the end of the date, we said our goodbyes and I kind of panicked because I didn’t know the protocol—we’d only communicated via OkCupid, I wasn’t sure if he would be doing this with other people, etc. But it all worked out. After that date, we both deactivated our OkCupid profiles and started communicating like normal people. We’ve been together for four years and we just got married in April!
- Roshan & Dave
I wasn’t looking for anything serious—I’d just gotten out of a relationship—so I joined Tinder. After about a month and a half (and a couple of dates), we matched.
On his profile he expressed interest in the Oxford comma, which I thought was delightfully nerdy. I know a lot of guys say stuff like that, so I wrote to him and informed him that some people call it the Harvard comma, and isn’t it a bit un-American to refer to it otherwise. Turns out he really is an Oxford comma-loving nerd. We joked around about grammar and eventually he asked me out. We dated casually for two months before becoming exclusive, and we’ve been together for a little over two years.
- Lynn & Alex
We met on Hinge: I thought she was pretty, we had a couple of mutual friends, and we were both lawyers, so I thought we’d have a lot in common. We started chatting and it was clear pretty fast that we had the same sense of humor and a connection. Our mutual friends insisted that we not meet or date because we would be a horrible match, but we met anyway.
We’ve been dating for about a year and a half now, and things are good. But she does ask me about once a week, “Why did you swipe right? What if you had swiped left?! Ahhhh!”
Every now and then when we’re out some place, like a mutual friend’s party or an event we both like, we make up a story about how, if we hadn’t met on Hinge, we definitely would have met here and fallen madly in love.
- Stephen & Alexandra
I was on Plenty of Fish for about two months before I met Tim—he was the first and only person I met online. I would check my inbox a couple of times a day, and it was always flooded with hundreds of messages from different guys—about 90 percent of those messages were garbage. After two months of this, I decided PoF wasn’t working out and I was going to cancel my account. But before I got around to doing that, I was hanging out with a friend and we were looking at pictures together. My friend kept swiping left (indicating I wasn’t interested) on guys, when Tim’s profile popped up. My friend swiped to the right for me and said, “Don’t let that one go!”
I decided to send Tim a message, and I was a bit forward: I explained to him that I thought he was cute, that we seemed like we’d have a lot in common, and that I hadn’t had much luck on PoF and was canceling my account in the next few days. I gave him my number and told him to text me if he wanted to get to know me better. He texted me later that day, and we exchanged texts for about a month before he asked me out to dinner. When we finally met in person, he was amazing—better-looking than in his photos, and very well-mannered and chivalrous. We went to go see my friend’s band play after dinner and he met a lot of my friends…a bold move, but I thought my friends might be able to make a better judgment call (and everybody loved him.) We’ve been together almost five months, and we’re still going strong.
- Sabrina & Tim
I moved from San Diego to Hawaii to join a SEAL team on the island, and I didn’t know many people there. I’d also just gotten out of a semi-serious relationship (and rebound), so I was basically starting over. Dating was difficult—it was hard meeting people in the nightlife scene, and almost everyone was either taken or on vacation (or both)—so I decided to try online dating. I joined Plenty of Fish and put myself out there, but a few weeks passed and I didn’t have much success until one woman wrote me back. She had a simple profile, but her photos caught my eye—her eyes and smile were captivating.
We talked a little on the app, and eventually met up for sushi. By the end of the night, I was asking when I would be able to see her again. We started dating and her free-spirited, adventurous nature made me fall in love with her in just a few months. We stayed together through three of my deployments, and when I was notified that I would be moving to Japan…I proposed to her, and we’ve been married for almost a year.
- Sherron & Jahlana
I started using dating apps as a young post-grad in San Francisco. I had just gotten out of my long-term college relationship and I was living with my friends in a teeny apartment in the city. Everyone was using the apps, and it was fun to meet new people, empowering as a young single girl, and even if the date was a bust…it was a great story for my roommates! My philosophy behind these apps was to have fun, be confident, and ‘put on my gold chains and slay’—I was clearly not looking for love!
I almost swiped left on Andrew when he first popped up on Hinge, because his profile didn’t really catch my attention. But then I saw that we had over 40 mutual friends, so I swiped right out of curiosity—usually I got maybe one or two mutual friends (and usually third-degree connections).
On our first date, I showed up wearing my video-vixen short skirt, and he arrived early to reserve the best seats in the bar. We got to talking, and it turns out that we not only grew up a few blocks from each other (we shared a hometown, but I moved away when I was 10), he also knew my brothers and had almost taken piano lessons from my mom! To this day, we’re still uncovering embarrassing photos from the early 2000’s with Andrew and my brother Nathan at the same parties!
Having all of those mutual connections sort of kept us on our best behavior through our first dates—if something happened, we couldn’t just ghost each other and be anonymous—so we actually had a chance to get to know each other. Now, we’re married, have a dog, and are level 19 in Pokemon Go.
- Serena & Andrew
I went on Tinder after a friend told me it would be good for me to get out there—I had just ended things with a jerk about three months prior. A couple of days into using the app, I started talking to John. We messaged through the app and eventually I gave him my number, and we talked on the phone twice before deciding to go out. I was excited but nervous—after all, I didn’t know if he was a murderer or something—but he came to my campus to pick me up and it was honestly love at first sight.
The chemistry was insane and we saw each other every day for an entire week. But he had already planned on leaving for a month-long trip to South America with his mother and her boyfriend, so we just enjoyed the time we had together. When he left for South America, I was sad but happy I had met someone so amazing. We kept in touch using texting apps, and I knew I loved him by the second week he was gone…but I didn’t want to say anything because we weren’t official. He kept saying he had something to tell me, but I told him it would have to wait until he got back.
The day he got back, I took him to dinner at a nice restaurant (he was determined, but jet-lagged.) After the date, we went back to my dorm room where my friends had helped me set up candles, wine, and chocolate-covered strawberries. He kissed me and said I was the sweetest, and I was like, “Okay, so what was the question you had for me?” And he said “Oh…will you be my girlfriend.” Of course I said yes, and the rest was history.
We’ve been together for almost two years now, and we’re taking a trip to Europe to celebrate our two-year anniversary in Paris. We tell everyone we met through a guy he used to play baseball with (who coincidentally played baseball at my university.)
- Alyssa & John
Nishi: I joined Tinder and Plenty of Fish because I wanted to casually date and meet people in my new city. I wasn’t looking for anything serious, but I wasn’t closed off to the idea of a relationship. When I first saw Max’s profile/pic, I didn’t think much of it—honestly, he wasn’t really my type but he was still cute and looked like a nice guy, so I swiped right thinking nothing would come of it. He messaged me and didn’t say anything creepy or off-putting, so that was a good start!
We texted for a few weeks until I decided I wanted to meet. Turns out he lived on my street about a block away. The first date went really well, and I was shocked at how normal he was. We hung out a few more times and I really enjoyed his company and my attraction grew tenfold. I think it took him a little longer to decide whether he wanted to be in a relationship, but we’ve been together for almost a year!
Max: I thought her picture was attractive, and she mentioned she was a scientist in her profile so I liked the fact that she was smart. She was also very close to where I lived. If you aren’t going to swipe right for a smart pretty girl who lives close by, who are you going to swipe right for?
- Nishi & Max