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Swipe Right: Couple’s reconnection shows change in dating culture

Swipe left, swipe left, wait…is that John?

It was a day that started out regularly enough for Kayleigh Jones, until she opened the Tinder app, which she’d been using for about a year. Her previous dates had never really worked out, but she still opened Tinder from time-to-time.

“[I had] a few dates every now and then, but nothing serious,” she said.

That was until she saw John’s face and swiped right.

Relying on Tinder to meet potential dates or hookups isn’t uncommon in today’s society. According to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, “about one-in-five 18- to 24-year olds (22 percent) now report using mobile dating apps.” And, according to The Huffington Post, the typical Tinder user spends 77 minutes on the app a day.

But Kayleigh and John’s relationship started before dating apps were a smart phone staple for singles.

Kayleigh and John first met when they were 19, but it was surprising they took that long to cross paths. Their families attended the same church, and one night at youth group they finally got to know each other. After dating on and off for two years, they parted ways.

“It didn’t work out—we weren’t in the same place at that time,” Kayleigh said.

John eventually married someone else, but he and his then wife divorced in 2014. Kayleigh came across his Tinder profile in early November, and they decided to meet up.

“We were both on Tinder, and I saw him. I swiped right, and he messaged me and was like ‘Oh my God, how have you been?’”

The two met up at Coffee Call, and “have been inseparable ever since,” Kayleigh said.

In an age when dating via apps like Tinder and online dating sites such as OK Cupid and Match.com, meeting someone is as easy as a swipe or click. Just a few years ago, Kayleigh and John’s reconnection may not have been possible. According to Katie, the two wouldn’t have gotten back together had it not been for Tinder.

“No, definitely not,” she said. “He probably would have moved to Texas and had a life there. We would’ve never crossed paths.”

Kayleigh and John aren’t alone. According to the same Pew study, the amount of 18-24 year-olds who use online dating platforms has tripled since 2013.

Kayleigh and John who, before Tinder, hadn’t seen each other since June 2010, were married in June 2015.

“I would say probably even five years ago, the only way to meet people was to go out to a bar and party, and if you’re not in that scene, you’re not really gonna meet anybody,” Kayleigh said. “[Tinder has] completely changed dating.”

*image does not depict couple featured in story

Photo by Desireé Watkins.

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