Perhaps you were in one of those just-fine-but-not-quite-right relationships for a year too many—and you finally cut the cord. Or, unexpectedly, the person you were crazy about decided they weren’t so mad over you. Whatever the reason or the situation around a breakup, the process of putting yourself back out there is just that: a process. And as the ole’ riddle goes, there’s no better way to overcome a heartache than to introduce yourself to a new flame. Even if you aren’t quite ready for the relationship or even anything remotely serious, swiping in dating apps can help build your confidence, teach you about what you want (and what you don’t), and allow you to nurse your wounds.
The only issue is in selecting the most effective dating apps for your newly single self. As relationship expert and founder of Cupid’s Pulse, Lori Bizzoco explains, right after you exit a relationship, you may need to ease back into the scene gradually. “If you have been in a monogamous relationship for a long time, the dating process may have changed since the last time you were single, or maybe you are just not accustomed to dating as a single person anymore and need a refresher,” she explains. This is why dating apps can be a more laid-back, hands-off—but thumbs on!—approach to exploring your new bachelor or bachelorette title.
Here, the experts recommend the best dating sites for the newly single—from Tinder to Hinge and beyond.
Coffee Meets Bagel
Also known as CMB, Coffee Meet Bagel isn’t your typical swiping app. You won’t be flooded with an endless pool of options, but rather, receive a limited amount of customized matches based on your profile, preferences and feedback. Bizzoco explains it’s a little different than other dating apps/sites because it adds an immediacy or sense of serious to the experience of meeting someone. “For new singles, one of the biggest complaints they have is that they don’t understand why they are dragged along in the online dating experience and can’t seem to get someone to go on a date offline,” she explains. For women who are feeling down on themselves after the demise of a love affair, CMB might be particularly helpful, since their daily six matches have already said ‘yes’ to them. This takes some of the guesswork out of dating, and makes it a bit easier to nudge into a conversation.
Is there anything that’s easier—or more common—to chat about than music? Universal and accessible, it’s what we sway to at watering holes, what gets us jiving at clubs and what inspires us at coffee shops. Since there is never really a right way to break the ice or strike up a conversation without feeling at least a little bit awkward, founder of The Professional Wingman, Thomas Edwards, suggest Tastebuds as a starting point for the newly single. “This is a fun app that allows you to find people with who you share a similar music interest. Instead of swiping, it’s more like Spotify or Pandora in the sense that you either like a profile or ‘skip a track’ and see the next one,” he explains. “Then if there’s a match, you can actually send songs to each other. It’s different enough to see the online dating experience with a fresh perspective.”
If the last thing you want right now is something intense, there’s no better destination for you than Tinder. While relationships—and marriages!—have resulted off of this popular app, it’s mostly meant for fun, exploration, flirting, and at times, hook-ups. Not only is it very easy to download, go and get started, but you’re almost instantly paired up with people, given the large pool of eligibles worldwide. “Tinder is effective because it doesn’t require a long series of answers to provide you with matches. All you really have to do is link your Facebook account, add some pictures and optional bio and you’re well on your way to meeting other singles,” Bizzoco shares. “Even though having a biography is optional, I would advise adding one so that you can let potential matches know what you’re looking for—no strings or something more.”
If you’re a lady who felt as if she lost herself in her relationship, you are now building yourself back up, learning about your own opinions and becoming more self-aware every single day. It can be scary to date again—and to risk becoming so engulfed within a duo that you forget who you are. For women who want take dating at their own pace and on their own terms, Bizzoco recommends Bumble. “Women are the ones who make the first move, so that can give them a sense of control over the situation, especially if they are newly single and don’t want anything moving too quickly,” she explains. If your ex made you hesitant about your personality or put you down, Bumble puts the power in your court to keep the chit-chat going. Because you only have 24 hours to send a message, you are forced to step out into the unknown and see what’s out there, instead of being fearful of it.
When you consider yourself fresh off the market, it’s more like you were always technically available, but emotionally stunted. Being in one of those relationships where you never know if you’re together or not is frustrating, infuriating and at times, demoralizing. If you’re ready to have a real, committed, loving and absolutely serious relationship, your best bet is Hinge. Dating and relationship coach Daniella Bloom, LMFT chooses this as her go-to recommendation because it is meant to foster a deeper connection, and requires participation and interaction. “It requires six pictures as well as three prompts that need answering in order for a user’s profile to be complete. With the Hinge app, people have more of an opportunity to reveal a little bit about their personalities and life perspectives,” she explains. “Users have an opportunity to like someone’s answer instead of just their picture. Plus, there are great options to filter down to like height, location, politics and religion, if you so choose.”