Our Sons' Experience on Tinder

Our shy (and naive) DS2018 son is using Tinder app, met his 1st GF this way, dated for a year, then broke-up. It was a reasonable match.

He’s not put much effort into his photos. He looks kinda scruffy (“not professional”), used graduation photos w/friends, no specific “best foot forward” shots. He’s a nice quiet guy, reasonably handsome though he doesn’t know it. He also has an unimpressive post-college job, despite decent GPA due to current lack of serious direction. So several issues, including small dating pool in majority blue/collar little city in rural county. So not conventional “good catch” for a college grad woman?

Since break-up, matches haven’t been so great. Several “one-date” meet-ups, w/some “hooking-up” occurring too. Ugh. One scary date w/bad hygiene and drug-user ex-BF; off to HIV test. Some more promising girls, w/life-direction, but difficult home-lives. One girl raised false pregnancy scare after one month of dating, w/call occurring after DS had asked to stop dating each other. These young women aren’t long-term prospects, and their personal problems quickly overwhelm DS

Noted in new thread “worried DD not dating” that one parent flagged “Tinder girls asking for money”. Frankly we’re worried about this sort of potential manipulative situation too. DS is wary too, but wants to find a new girlfriend, and will meet whomever matches and agrees.

Work is not a likely place to do that. Also, he works every Saturday and Sunday, and church isn’t a viable alternative for agnostic DS.

I’d very much other parents’ advice and counsel re their own 20-something post-grad DS’ experiences w/Tinder type dating apps. DS only half-listens to our advice, but seems free-sharing re experiences and own concerns.

Is there any other place he can meet people to socialize with? Some week-night community group? Elections are coming up next year, is he interested enough to work on some party’s organizing or campaign committee?

Running or biking groups that might meet on weeknights or mornings? Perhaps there are forums in the little city in the rural area where they would welcome a newcomer interested in economic development or environmental issues or whatever the current issues there are. The hooking up on the first date with the date with bad hygiene gives me pause- I’m not sure what to say here.

I think my S and his wife met on Tinder (if that’s the one where you swipe). She is perfectly normal, has a degree (teaches math) and we love her. He must have gotten lucky.

My D met her SO on some app and they have had a long-distance (he’s in grad school) relationship for about 20 months. He will graduate in May and we’ll see what happens next. He was interning near her city when they met. They are in related fields of work. He seems to come from a normal family. I believe both his parents are teachers which means they probably don’t have criminal records. lol

Does your S have any hobbies or activities he enjoys? Surely there is some other way to meet people nowadays.

My daughter and her fiance met on OK Cupid, several years ago. A professional matchmaker couldn’t have come up with a better pairing. Uncanny. Prior to that, she was on Tinder, but found it too hook-up oriented, tough to wade through the lame options. But she did date 2 great guys she found there, one of whom is still a friend. They had a lot of plain old fun together.

Maybe your son’s issue is the small dating pool in his rural county. Can he expand his search radius? I know so many people who matched online, of all ages. We had a thread here about adult posters who found their partners that way, not as young’uns (eg, post divorce.)

Agree about ideas like MeetUp. But what’s available also depends on where you are. In some areas, biking groups are a great idea, casual cyclists seem to be a very friendly group. Hiking gets people talking to each other. Committee work is a good opportunity, if the right others are there.

My advice would be condoms, condoms, condoms. If he needs an HIV test and has had a pregnancy scare, he needs to always always use one. Even if the woman says she is using something, he should be protecting himself.

"One scary date w/bad hygiene and drug-user ex-BF; off to HIV test. "

Yikes. Make sure he retests in a few months. And also Hep B and C… sigh.

First of all, I hear Tinder is not the app to meet a long term relationship. Hinge, bumble and coffee meets bagel are the apps that are more current. Dating apps change and Tinder is more of a “hook up” app. So make sure he’s using an app where he’s meeting the kind of people he wants to meet.

Second, he needs to polish up his profile. Not just pictures, he needs to fill out the profile. If he doesn’t have current photos and a detailed profile, the girls he wants to meet will pass.

And third, he needs to be picky. Meet only the people he wants to meet. I know he’s not telling his parents everything, but did he hook up with a girl and thinks he has to get an hiv test? He should know better, I hope you were kidding about that.

The best advice will come from a female friend who is close to his age and lives in his area. Suggest he finds one of those to help him pick the best app/site and put together a profile and alternates of where people in that area meet.

If he asks you, though, all my 20 something friends are unanimous in their opinion of Tinder - it’s for hookups, not dating. Do some people end up lucking into someone to date and have a long term relationship? Sure, but that’s not what most of the users are seeking so it’s not surprising it’s not happening for him.

It absolutely blows my mind that people my age don’t use condoms consistently. I’ve been involved in sex ed for almost a decade and my surprise still hasn’t gone away.

Tinder is primarily for hook ups but I’ve known several people in tinder relationships, including my sister who met her now husband there.

Someone I grew up with met is wife on match.com. I’d try a different service.

I’m going to agree that your job right now isn’t about cleaning up his photos or refining his search methods- it’s plain old condom sense. How does a kid get to that age and run the risks?

If I may offer an opinion as a 20-something:

To quote a Sesame Street song, 'One of these things is not like the others." Hint - it’s the last one.

There are plenty of sites out there to meet people and the first three are good examples. Tinder, at the risk of the mothers clutching their pearls, is a better app (but not the best) for casual sex (although some have found more long-term prospects on Tinder).

here’s a thread from a few years back, with a link to a story that made me laugh. The mom ran the son’s tinder app, and through that the son appealed to a slightly different set of girls.

Good luck to your son. Just encourage him to have activities/hobbies in his life that he likes to do is my one thought.


Does your son’s college have an active college alumni group in the area? That’s a super way to meet people with at least the same educational background.

I agree that Tinder is for hookups, not relationships.

What does he do in his free time? He should look into finding a group activity that matches up with his interests.

“DS is wary too, but wants to find a new girlfriend, and will meet whomever matches and agrees.”

This is the sentence that is a red flag to me. He sounds desperate - not sure for what? A relationship or a hook up?

It’s also surprising to me that he has revealed so much to you about his dates. That’s being very open…which is good, but also I hope he realizes that some of these situations are not ok.

I agree with the advice to clean up his photos, perhaps widen his search- and also try another dating app. Is he open to another app?

Also is he jumping on a date too quickly? I know when my D1 was on Coffee Meets Bagel she was talking via the app for several exchanges before she would even agree to meet.

Well, at least the “naive” part seems to fit. He’s sharing details of his Tinder hookups with his mother and she’s posting them in public forum on the Internet.

Not sure why OP in being naive. She’s simply asking questions anonymously.

How are all the different dating sites different? I know that Tinder is swipe left or swipe right, but how do the other ones work?

At least around here, Tinder is fine and not just for hookups. It had that reputation several years ago, but not anymore. I know several young people who have found good matches on Tinder, including my daughter who is in a profession where she could not risk being on a sketchy site. My son on the east coast seems enamored with Hinge, but I haven’t had any success reports from him. My nephew in Florida has been contacted by a woman I suspected is a scammer- she was 10 years older than him and not in the same town. I told him to run. I think he is using Match.