Love and connection are two aspects of the human experience that most of us strive to find. Relationships come in many forms and meet different definitions for each individual, but the value of finding a special someone (or someones) and feeling some form of bond with them can be enriching.
But romance can feel like a tall task, and the kind of separation and isolation a global pandemic presents doesn’t make that any easier. Good thing there are a number of tools that have steadily improved both our ability to find compatible partners and stay connected with them even when screens are the only window available. Here are some of the best apps that aid both, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Locket skyrocketed in popularity in recent months thanks to a deluge of cute TikTok videos, but the app goes beyond any novelty that online virality conjures. The app places a widget on your home screen where the closest people in your life can directly share photos they’ve taken with you. Users can respond to photos with some of their own, and the app maintains a level of intimacy by limiting the number of people whose photos appear in the widget to five. The app also keeps a timeline of images shared through it, letting you wistfully scroll through a record of your relationship with ease.
Like Locket, we can thank TikTok for Noteit’s rise in profile. The app is the modern form of passing love notes in class, giving users tools to write and draw cute messages to their significant others that are shared through a secure connection. There is also an option to add a widget so that messages appear automatically on your home screen when you unlock your phone, dropping a lovely little reminder that your person is thinking about you during the day. The only drawback is that it’s only available on iOS devices.
Drumming up engaging and clever date nights can be difficult for even the most creative thinkers. Ideas can feel finite, but Cobble is here to help when those resources feel short. Combining the swipe function of dating apps with interesting date ideas, Cobble lets couples choose locations and ideas for dates in the swipe and match format made famous by Tinder. The app only populates options specific to New York City currently, but developer idk tonight is planning to launch in other cities soon.
Healthy and consensual expressions of sexual kink and desire can bring people together and provide a beautiful expression of love. But approaching those deeply held passions can come with apprehension and caution. What if your partner isn’t into the same things? Kindu aims to help couples share their desires in a destigmatizing space and foster open communication about individual sexual needs. It’s a great tool for getting to know your partner, and maybe even yourself.
Let’s talk about dating apps. They can be tiresome and downright predatory (see The Tinder Swindler), but the continued development in the dating app space has brought marked improvements. OKCupid is a great example of this. The app has implemented new sorting and messaging tools that help people better filter out harassers while seeking their specific wants in a partner. The app has also steadily improved its visibility tools for LGBTQ, gender-diverse and non-monogamous individuals.
Bumble remains a popular dating app by putting a majority of power in the hands of women. Anyone can match with another person through the app, but men cannot send messages to their female matches unless they message them first, cutting down on the unsolicited nastiness that plagues dating apps. That same tool isn’t present for same-sex couples, which is an issue, but Bumble can be a vital tool for those wanting to cut down on interactions with cringe men.
Thrust posits itself as the most inclusive and safe dating platform for LGBTQ people across the entire queer spectrum. The app takes a harsh stance against hate speech on its platform and specifically addresses the issues present for trans, gender-diverse and gender non-conforming individuals searching for romantic connection. The app itself isn’t as robust as other dating apps, but the special attention it places on these populations is a valuable addition.
Whether you are monogamous, non-monogamous or polyamorous, Feeld lets individuals and couples meet compatible matches without the heteronormative stigma present in cultural ideals of romance. Robust options for straight and LGBTQ users allow for great profile customization that openly acknowledges a wide array of relationship structures. If the word throuple has a great mouthfeel, Feeld is a great dating option.