Tinder, OkCupid, Match.com — by now everyone knows where to go online to find human companionship. But what if things actually … work out?
It turns out that there’s plenty of technology to keep monogamy alive, as The New York Times’ Jenna Wortham recently noted. Developers have started carving out romantic nooks in the App Store and Google Play for couples who are looking for a venue of communication more intimate than Twitter or Facebook. Because sometimes it’s nice to filter out your Aunt Selma’s status updates when you just want to talk to your partner and no one else.
Here’s a brief survey of apps designed to help couples communicate. (A gracious hat-tip to my colleague Daniel Bean, who promised that he wouldn’t sic Human Resources on me for forcing him to test these out.)
The blissed-out lover’s den of messaging apps, Avocado allows you to ping your romantic partner on a private chat, coordinate dates on a shared calendar, create lists, and set reminders for important days like birthdays and anniversaries.
As you share photos or doodles, your images are automatically loaded into an album — a sort of digital scrapbook of your relationship. It’s admittedly a bit cheesy unless you’re one for chronicling every date dinner receipt, but it might come in handy when you’re looking for a photo to frame.
The app’s strengths are buried in the chatroom’s bonus features. Avocado has a mechanism that creates the illusion of intimate displays of affection.
To hug someone, you’re instructed to bring your smartphone close to your heart. Your device’s light sensor picks up when things go dark, it vibrates, and then it sends a message to your lover that informs him of this recent embrace.
Similarly, you have the option to kiss your significant other. Avocado manages this by presenting you with his photo. Wherever you choose to tap your lips on your smartphone screen, a set of pink lips will drop, like an X on a treasure map. The lip-smacked photo is sent to your lover (as you can see above).
It sounds bizarre, yes, but in practice it’s actually kind of heartwarming? Or at least it might be for any long-distance couple who can’t find a moment to Skype.
Between also focuses on making the day-to-day chatting between couples more romantic with cute animated stickers and the ability to share voice clips. Unlike Avocado, however, it’s structured to act as a constantly updated monument to your closeness.
Its home screen is organized like a romantic Google Now page. It displays today’s date, and behind it you can add your own customized photo of you and your partner. On each side of the screen lies a little bubble that displays the last location of each member of the relationship (so you can basically know each other’s whereabouts at any time). Below that, there’s a box that displays your next upcoming date, whether it’s a recurring Wednesday night dinner or one of your birthdays. At any time, it’ll also filter in a small photo of your most recent “Moment,” which is what the app calls the collection of notes and photos that you’ve shared with each other.
A little suffocating? Yes. But if you’re both intense planners who love being attached at the hip, it could be for you.
Couple emphasizes the importance of a special chat space. You can’t send virtual hugs and kisses, but you are able to share voice clips, photos, your location, and doodles with your boo. And when you have nothing left to communicate but your undying obsession with the person, you can simply send a thought bubble icon that indicates that you’re thinking of him. Not to mention — there’s a pretty extensive list of custom-made emoji/image grams that you can draw from.
Probably my favorite part of this app is the ability to see if the other person has your chat minimized or open — that way you’re not blubbering away into the silence, only to get a response three hours later. And if you want to have a particularly private conversation, you can avoid saying anything embarrassing that might show up in a push notification.
This one is best for anyone who wants to be in constant warm and fuzzy chat with her partner throughout the day. You’ll know exactly whether you have your partner’s attention or not.
Though 2life does the least of these dating apps to “set the mood,” it’s definitely the most pragmatic communication tool of the bunch. Its shopping lists and calendar can help two working parents coordinate who’s picking up the kids from soccer, or what they need at the grocery store. And on a more intimate level, it allows you to share interesting links or write quick “journal” notes to each other.
In other words, 2life probably isn’t designed for young, enamored lovers who will spend all night with their glowing screen, chatting about nothing. But it’s probably a great way to cut out any wasted time spent coordinating schedules. That way, you can spend less time staring at your calendars over dinner, and more time having a conversation over a bottle of wine.
Free on iPhone.