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My childhood neighbor from New Jersey, recently divorced, met her Syracuse boyfriend through the phone game Wordfeud.
And one of my Ok Cupid coworkers—a quiet, 32-year-old software engineer named Jessie Walker—told me she’d met her boyfriend of 10 years through an internet forum for introverts while she was a student studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art. They messaged online for over two years before he booked a flight to meet her in Maryland and eventually moved into an apartment with her in Brooklyn.
Scruff’s founder, Eric Silverberg, told me the company added the feature when they noticed lots of users were already posting travel itineraries in their profiles; now one in four members posts a new trip every year.
But travel flings aside, I suspect most people don’t join dating apps intending to fall in love across continents, especially since it’s so easy to filter matches by distance.
Seventy years ago, the Yale sociologist John Ellsworth Jr.
was researching marriage patterns in small towns and concluded: “People will go as far as they have to to find a mate, but no farther.” This still seems to be the case in 2018.
“I was young and stupid when I made the trip,” wrote another.But then, what you say to a stranger you’d probably never meet?Freed from the pressure of a pending outcome—no question of a second drink, moving to a second bar, or going back to anyone’s place—I became immersed in these conversations that lasted, sometimes, for hours.Though the internet allows us to connect with people across the globe near-instantly, dating apps like Tinder prioritize showing us nearby matches, the assumption being the best date is the one we can meet up with as quickly as possible with little inconvenience.A year and a half ago, I was 23, single, and working as an engineer at the online-dating site Ok Cupid.
Inspired by this, Ok Cupid decided to poll users with the question, “What is the longest you’ve traveled to meet up with someone from a dating app?