Sex + Dating

My Boyfriend And I Actually Enjoyed The Hell Out Of This Couples Dating App

dating app couple
Oren Aks/Thrillist

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.

"Each match reveals new relationship tips and challenges to engage in together or surprise each other with."

Bound to happen eventually, a "mismatch" opens the table up for interesting discussion. And Happy Couple actually provides you with a messaging platform on which to chat about such discrepancies, but Jeremy and I preferred to do so in person or over the phone: "Good to know you're all about zip-lining on vacation!" or "I got the religion question wrong -- what's the main difference you see between 'somewhat religious' and 'spiritual'?" or "What the hell is your blood type?"

I've got a blank space, baby

There was one struggle, however: we took different approaches when none of the answers to a specific question reflected reality -- he'd choose the closest option, while I'd write the real answer in the blank space. (Again, detail-oriented.)

For example, this inquiry: "The alarm goes off -- Jeremy yawns and heads to the kitchen. What does he reach for?"

The choices were: coffee, tea, milk, or OJ. But not only does he not keep any of those in his apartment, I knew exactly what he'd reach for: water out of a recycled Powerade bottle flavored with five drops of Orange Passion Fruit MiO. But Jeremy mindlessly ticked OJ and gave this explanation: "I don't know -- I would never drink milk, coffee, or tea and I didn't feel like writing something in."

… And none for Gretchen Wieners. (Points, that is.)

Come on, get "happy"

After the two-week mark hit, Jeremy and I actually decided to keep on playing Happy Couple -- we've now answered more than 100 questions. And no, I didn't have to bribe him with sweet talk or homemade Buffalo chicken or phone sex. "The app definitely sparks some interesting conversations," he told me. "You think you know your partner, but there is always more to learn -- it uncovers little things that wouldn't normally come up, which has only proved to be a good thing."

So if you're a couple looking to work on your communication -- whether you met online or IRL; are six months in or six years married -- the app definitely acts as a springboard for starting relationship-building dialogue about feelings, values, and aspirations. It touches on some bold, albeit relevant topics, like "city versus suburbs?" and "do you want kids?" -- so if you've been anxious about bringing them up, Happy Couple is the mediator at your fingertips doing it for you and taking some pressure off.

"The app definitely acts as a springboard for starting relationship-building dialogue about feelings, values, and aspirations."

If you're a couple like Jeremy and me who considers good communication "your thing," try it out anyway. Playful trivia facts and challenges (we plan to take on more of those moving forward) make for friendly competition and good discussions. Plus, let's be real: there's always room for improvement when it comes to communicating with bae.

And in case you're wondering: Jeremy's "how well do you know her?" score is currently 11 points higher than mine. I blame those fill-in-the-blank spaces.

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Brooke Sager is an NYC-based contributing writer for Thrillist who was “challenged” to leave Jeremy a cute love note -- she hopes he finds it before selling his car. Follow her misadventures on Instagram and Twitter @HIHEELZbrooke.