Lonely and alone on a Saturday night, I started scrolling through Ok Cupid and, out of boredom and curiosity, expanded my search options to include users anywhere in the world.
Last year, Tinder launched a paid feature called Passport that lets people swipe on members anywhere in the world.
And Scruff, a dating app for gay men, has a section called Scruff Venture that helps users coordinate travel plans and connect with host members in foreign countries.
Reading through them, I noticed something odd: Many of Ok Cupid’s successful users first met when they were living across the country—or the world—from each other.
I read stories of couples who chatted online for months before flying from California to Georgia, Michigan to Washington, Ohio to Peru, Cyprus to Lebanon to see each other for the first time.
“I guess people on online-dating sites know what they’re looking for, but these younger people in nevermet relationships aren’t really looking for love online,” the /r/Long Distance moderator, a 20-year-old college student who goes by Bliss online, tells me.
(As a female gamer, she’s asked me not to use her name for fear of being harassed or doxed.) “Then one day they realize they love the person they’ve been talking to online.But sometimes people meet through internet communities that aren’t intended to be for dating.On Reddit, I discover a community of around 50,000 in a group called /r/Long Distance.That was the second long-distance relationship she’d had through the forum: Her first, with a guy from Florida, lasted two years.Online-dating companies are privy to the fact that people use them for travel.Here I learn there’s a word for digital couples who’ve never met in person: They’re called “nevermets.” “Three years in and we’ve finally closed the distance!! “[f/22][m/28],” she clarified, meaning she was a 22-year-old female and her partner a 28-year-old male.