Meet #IRL This Summer

Summer is here and we all know what that means. The 2018 cuffing season has officially come to a close and relationships that once looked solid (“But Ashley, you just posted a picture of you guys apple picking two months ago.”) have dissolved faster than soft serve on the boardwalk. Now what?

We can spend our time lamenting about the current state of the “Dating Apocalypse,” a term coined by Nancy Jo Sales in her now-famed, 2015 Vanity Fair piece that attributed the demise of modern dating to Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and the like.

 The basic premise being that with the inception of the apps in the late 2000s came an oversaturation of the dating market. For the first time in human history we can connect with anyone, anywhere, any time and the sheer amount of options available to us make it hard to commit to just one person without experiencing major FOMO (fear of missing out).

 Still, many of us have not given up entirely on the promise of finding love and long-term companionship, and—as those of us who are indoctrinated into the church of “Grease” know—summer is the best time to find some loving.

 Last year, during a study on modern love, Reportlinker polled a group of 551 people who said they were either married or in long-term relationships. Respondents were asked how they met their significant others—and the results flew in the face of many of our ideas about dating today.

 As it turns out, the most common way people meet their spouses or partners, by a significant majority of 39 percent, is still through their friends or social circle. Coming in fifth place, trailing behind couples that met at work, at bars/in public spaces and through sports/religion/hobbies, were the mere 8 percent of respondents who managed to find their long-term partners on a dating app.

 In total, nearly 90 percent of people involved in the study met their partners IRL (in real life). Tinderellas and Tinderfellas, the odds of love are simply not in your favor.

 So what exactly is the harm, or the use, of dating apps in a world where the majority of us will meet our partners IRL anyway? For answers I turn to Anna Morgenstern, California transplant-turned-New York City Dating Coach and Founder of Dating Rehab NYC, a three-month program that, in short, helps women fix their romantic lives. Hint: she’s Will Smith in the movie “Hitch” only less problematic and a woman.

 Morgenstern’s career as a Dating Coach began under circumstances many of us can relate to—she was serving dutifully as the sympathetic ear upon which her friends heaved their dating woes and frustrations.

 “I had been in New York for six years and I still couldn’t believe how many beautiful, smart, amazing women there were that couldn’t hold down a relationship.”

 “Eventually I made it my personal mission to help women in NYC figure out the patterns that have prevented them from finding or keeping a relationship. I want to help them learn exactly what they’re looking for and create strategies so they can find it,” Morgenstern said.

 Morgenstern’s youngest client is 30 years old, her oldest is 40—all of them professional women with high-power jobs and very little time to waste swiping left or right. Morgenstern teaches these women how to date mindfully, meaning with a purpose and a clear vision of the kind of man they wish to find, and helps them create lifestyles that make it more likely they would come across such a man in their everyday travels.

 “In order to meet the kind of guy you want, you have to start doing things that he would be doing. If you want a guy who values his community, does volunteer work and is athletic, consider volunteering to help run a sports rec. program for kids this summer.”

 If you have a specific interest, join a group where you’re likely to meet men with that same interest. Even if there isn’t a guy in that group, I guarantee someone knows someone they can introduce you to. Start building connections and let your social network do the work for you,” Morgenstern said.

 Morgenstern doesn’t waste time teaching her clients how to be successful on dating apps. Instead, her ideology when it comes to dating seems to be to pretend the apps and social media are not options at all.

 “The apps have made it so people are not as engaged when they’re out and about. When you see a cute guy at a bar, you don’t feel the urgency to walk up to him and start a conversation. You think ‘I’ll just catch him on the apps later.’ Before the cell phone era, you had to talk to that guy or you might never see him again.”

 Recreating this sense of urgency, Morgenstern explains, will propel all of us to meet new people this summer and put ourselves in the position to find a meaningful connection.

 “Worst-case scenario he’s not interested. Best-case scenario you get a date and maybe a husband out of it,” Morgenstern said. What do we have to lose?