Valentine’s Day is two weeks away and the supermarkets and online stores are currently flooded with pink cards and red hearts. It’s enough to make anyone who’s single feel personally attacked by Cupid’s bow.
February 14th feels even more depressing in the context of modern dating. Apps like Hinge have become cringe, with many platforms now acting as a breeding ground for ghosting, scam accounts, and – perhaps worst of all – endless bathroom selfies.
Don’t buy your TV dinner just yet, however. A select group of alt-dating apps has emerged to challenge the legacy brands. Specialising in niche romance areas, they are fixing the problems of Big Dating Tech to help you find meaningful connections beyond the algorithm.
Ready to ditch the ick and discover your perfect match? Let’s dive into the six best dating apps to land the perfect date this Valentine’s Day.
Dating is a minefield for single parents: finding love with kids in tow means playing by a different set of rules. Playdate is the UK’s first dating app exclusively for mums and dads.
Gone are the days of juggling childcare and last-minute dates. Founded by single mum Nevine Coutry, who was tired of “baggage” comments and ghostings, Playdate caters to divorced, widowed, separated, and solo parents to connect.
Aiming to become the mother of all apps in single parent dating, Playdate already has 50,000 users and ranked in our 2024 Startups 100 Index.
In a lot of ways, the Thursday business model is nothing new at all. The platform is putting a modern twist on an old classic, throwing it back to a time when asking someone for their number didn’t feel weird.
Every Thursday, the app comes online for 24 hours. Singles can check-in to see who is looking for a date that evening, and then attend a real-life weekly dating event to mingle in real life.
Thursday is open to anyone, so Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder users are all welcome. Plus, you can bring your bestie for wingman or woman support.
Tired of feeling judged on mainstream dating apps? Feeld flips the script, catering to open-minded users exploring ethical non-monogamy, kink, and alternative relationships.
Acting as a safe space for online dating, Feeld lets users express what they’re looking for aside from ‘marriage’ or ‘hookup’.
Instead, Feeld fosters connections for various relationship models, with options like ‘open to exploring’ or ‘polyamorous’ allowing for honesty up-front: no need to navigate awkward disclosures later.
Say goodbye to those awkward ‘wbu?’ messages with tbc, the revolutionary new dating app that arranges real-life dates for you.
Currently only available in Edinburgh, tbc is all about taking you off the platform and into the real-world as soon as possible, so you can start forming real connections with your dates beyond the digital realm.
Choose your availability, answer a few questions, and let the app set you up with someone compatible. tbc will then book the venue and set a time and date to be confirmed by you.
Dating apps can be challenging for the over-50s. Compared to younger age groups, the potential pool of matches is more limited. Events often take place in gimmicky bars where the bartenders are called ‘mixologists’ and the average crowd looks like they’ve just left school.
Ourtime has been specifically created with older users in mind. It’s easy to sign up to and completely free, and designed to match compatible users based on interests, not just appearances, for less superficial connections.
Unique features include the Ourtime ‘flirt’ button, which can be used to show someone you’re interested in them and build connections without needing to spend hours messaging and swiping on the app.
It’s come a long way over the decades, but dating in the UK can still be very heteronormative. Apps like Grinder broke ground by catering to gay men, lesbian and bisexual women still struggle to find inclusive spaces online.
HER is here to help you swipe left on the straightwashing. Unlike algorithms typically designed for straight couples, HER finds compatibility based on factors beyond looks, taking shared interests, values, and community preferences into account.
With over thirteen million users currently signed up to the app, connecting with like-minded people, and maybe even HER, has never been easier.