When you hear the words "dating app," you probably envision Boomerang-style snippets of endless profile reels and swiping right (ehhh, left) until you score a date or turn your phone off in defeat. That's because dating apps have only ever been known to facilitate meetings with strangers -- and because 15% of American adults today online date -- numbers that have nearly tripled since 2013.
I'm among you -- I met my boyfriend Jeremy on Match a year and three months ago (definitely not counting), "matching" thanks to our shared affinity for country music, running, and ill-humored television. And while I underwent cringe-worthy dates with other dudes prior, I do believe online apps have a knack for at least starting relationships between compatible people.
Except now there's a new app called Happy Couple, which is actually designed to strengthen existing bonds between people in established relationships. And though I was skeptical, it couldn't hurt to try. So I put on my most convincing face and promised Jeremy Happy Couple would probably be just like Pokémon Go. And with that, we both hit download (it's free!), and put the app to the test for two weeks.
Phone sex, suburbs, and beyond
First we had to enter basic info about our relationship, like whether we're long distance (no), live together (also no), have kids, (no), and so on. Adding photos was optional, but I'm detail-oriented and uploaded a pic that showcased a good hair and butt day… for me.
Happy Couple presented us each day with five multiple-choice questions exploring six categories: communication, emotion, sex, responsibility, recreation, and information. It's like a quiz you'd take in Cosmo, but virtual and geared toward men, too -- and only takes about three minutes to complete. As we answered the same queries -- ranging from small and specific (what's his/her cuisine of choice?) to big and broad (where does he/she see him/herself living in 10 years?) to fun and sexy (what's his/her attitude toward phone sex?) -- we'd learn if our answers were a "perfect match" or a "mismatch."
A "perfect match" awarded us both points, even on little victories like knowing what kind of chocolate the other prefers (dark for me, none for him). Points are good -- they increased our score and helped us move up levels as a team, just like in every other game ever invented except for Whose Line Is It Anyway?. And hey, if nothing else, matching was a mutual ego boost; proving that he and I really DO pay attention to each other's wants, needs, and idiosyncrasies.
Additionally, each match reveals new relationship tips and challenges to engage in together or surprise each other with. One day, the app "challenged" Jeremy to bring me flowers, which he (very wisely) accepted and trotted up my fourth-floor walk-up. If you think flowers are cliché, that's fine (but really, though?) -- there are plenty other trials for your lover to unlock.