Whether you’ve come across your very own West Elm Caleb (a serial Hinge dater who went viral after multiple women realised he had ghosted them all simultaneously), or had a close brush with a Tinder Swindler (the mysterious conman who posed as a billionaire’s son to scam unsuspecting women on the app), you’ve likely had your own harrowing adventure if you use dating apps.
When it comes to people we meet on apps, we often have no idea who or what we’re dealing with. Sure, they might seem all amiable, dreamy or charming at first, but it's almost impossible to determine whether the person you’re vibing with on an app can pass the vibe check IRL. Sometimes, this could just be a connection that falls flat when you actually make it to the date. If your luck is rotten, though, you can find yourself in a creepy and questionable setting, like this woman whose Tinder date thought it would be a great idea to take her to a hospital morgue.
So, we asked a bunch of people to recount their creepiest, weirdest and worst dating app nightmares. May their experiences serve as a reminder that while social media is a toxic, troll-filled space, dating apps may sometimes just be worse.
Or, you know, reassure you that it’s okay to run into a couple of weirdos as you swipe your way to true love. Some of the names have been changed upon request because these folks requested privacy while delving into their sex lives and their weird, weird dates.
“She had knives hidden in different corners of her house.”
I matched with this girl a few years ago and we got along very well. We spoke for several weeks on text and then decided to get a drink together to get to know each other. Her family was out of town so she asked if I wanted to come over for a drink. I went to her house late at night, around 10PM. She lived in one of those very sophisticated buildings with a lot of security, so I figured that was probably why she was okay inviting a total stranger home. Things were a little awkward at the start, but as we drank, I started to open up more. Later in the night, I asked her how come she was so comfortable calling a stranger over. She said she had something to show me, and pulled out a knife hidden under the sofa we were sitting on. She then began taking out knives from different corners of her house including from behind framed paintings and the television. She had at least five knives hidden away. I freaked out but tried to play it cool and left soon after. But later, I realised that though it freaked me out, it was probably something she had to do to ensure her own safety. – Sameer, 25, marketing manager
“He almost choked me to death.”
In 2019, I started seeing this guy I met through Grindr. He was a few years older but seemed super sweet and amazing. He lived in a huge 12-room mansion on the outskirts of my hometown, so I would drive out there every weekend to meet him. The sex was so much fun, and he also treated me like I was the only person he cared for. But gradually, around the third date or so, I began noticing weird things about him. When we would fuck, he would start crying and making these weird noises and faces, like he was suffocating. He would also do weird things like take showers at 3 AM and then do puja (a worship ritual). I tried to brush it off, but it reached a point where he would make these weird sounds every time we had sex, and sometimes he would even randomly start hitting me just as I was about to orgasm, without discussing it with me. I confronted him about it, and he told me that he had been abused in the past. By that point, I had gotten so attached to meeting him every weekend that I justified his actions in my mind. But one day, shit got way too real. We were having sex on the couch when he suddenly grabbed my neck and started choking me. At first, I thought it was his kink or fantasy and tried to brush it off. But suddenly, he got so rough and choked me so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I told him to stop but he wouldn’t. That’s when my survival instinct kicked in. I grabbed a pan, hit him on the head and ran for my life. He chased me but I managed to get myself out of there.
I feel that for queer people in small cities, our options are often limited, and so we fall for these things without realising how dangerous they can be. Especially because people like me came out at a time when homosexuality was still criminalised, and so we still think it’s normal when people ask to meet secretly or whatever. But in this case, I could have almost died because, even when I was screaming for help, there was no one around. – Aditya, 23, student
“He dumped me in the middle of a music festival in a different city.”
I matched with this guy on Hinge, and we hit it off immediately. We had very similar music tastes and even made each other special playlists. After a week or so, he asked me out on a date. He was a perfect gentleman and didn’t try to hook up with me, so I felt like maybe this could be more than something casual. We had two more great dates, after which I slept with him. I had to go out of town for work for a few days after that, and we didn’t really keep in touch. When I got back and hit him up, he answered enthusiastically and asked if I was down to go to a music festival that was five hours away, because an artist we both loved was playing. At the fest, things seemed a little off, but I tried to brush it off. About an hour before our favourite artist was to go on, I was tipsy and leaned in for a kiss. He stopped me, looked into my eyes and then broke the news: He’d met someone else while I was away and didn’t want to be with me anymore. Which would have been fine, except when I asked him why he didn’t just tell me this before we travelled to an entirely different city, he simply said, “Oh I couldn’t find anyone else to go to the festival with, and I didn’t want to come alone.” – Claire, 23, copywriter
“He stole all my stuff while I was asleep”
After a breakup, I was yeeting myself all over dating apps. After meeting lots of assholes, I finally met this guy on Grindr who was super polite, decently hot and could hold a good conversation, which was tough to come by. I was getting desperate at this point, and so I probably ignored the red flags when he asked me about my job, where I lived, the kind of holidays I went for, where I shopped – basically everything, short of how much money I had in my bank account. After chatting for a couple of days, I called him over. I got way more drunk than him, but we had banging sex and he slept over. The next morning, I woke up to find my wallet and my laptop missing. I couldn’t find my car keys either, and rushed out. Luckily, my driver had come early that day and told me he was washing the car when this guy came over and asked for the keys so he could get breakfast for us. The driver insisted on driving him, after which my date sweetly refused and said he’d changed his mind. Later, I found some small objects missing too, like an ashtray, a candle, a pair of expensive shoes and even a vinyl. I tried to track him down but I couldn't find him anywhere, and had no good photos or any other concrete info. I thought about going to the police, but as a gay guy, you’re always worried about being harassed by them, so I decided to drop it. – Sam, 33, entrepreneur
“She asked me to pretend I was her dead husband.”
I matched with this super hot MILF about two years ago, and she invited me to her fancy house in this posh area. We were having a nice date, drinking rum and chatting, but there was no real sexual tension in the air. After a while, she asked if I wanted to go to the bedroom. I was hesitant, but followed her in. Then she opened her closet, took out a formal shirt and trousers, and asked if I would wear them for her. I thought maybe she’s into having sex in formal clothes, so I agreed. Then she asked me to leave the room and pretend like I was coming back from work. At that point, I didn’t understand what roleplaying she was trying to do and asked her about it. That’s when she told me that exactly a year ago, on that day, her husband had passed away in a car accident while returning home from work. I didn’t know what to do, and apologised to her, telling her I wasn’t comfortable with it. It was just too sad. – Ali, 24, writer
“He refused to wear a condom even after agreeing to it earlier.”
When I hook up with a person I match with on a dating app, I always meet them at a coffee shop or a public place first to see if we vibe and feel similarly about consent and boundaries. I met a guy on an app and we clearly had sexual chemistry. But in the middle of our date, he told me how he has had unprotected sex with most people he’s hooked up with. I’m someone who always uses condoms and gets tested for STIs regularly, so I wasn’t okay with it and told him that clearly. He then said he would wear a condom for me. So, I booked a hotel room and we were getting it on. But just as he was about to insert his penis, I realised he wasn’t wearing a condom like he’d promised. I asked him about it and he replied, “Oh, I thought we could do one round without it.” It just pisses me off when people think your boundaries are negotiable, which has happened to me a lot on dating apps. – Ridhima, 23, journalist
“He told me he had a serious girlfriend… while we were on a date.”
Recently, I matched with this guy on Bumble. We spoke everyday for a month, which was a big deal for me because I usually don’t like texting. Finally, around Christmas time, he asked if I wanted to meet in person. I went over to his house, and we had a great time. I even met his parents. We spent a few hours together, and just when I was about to leave, he told me that he had a girlfriend who lived abroad. He said he wanted to “be honest” with me because I had “been so kind,” then told me his girlfriend would be coming back to India the next week, so he wouldn’t be able to stay in touch.
Dating apps have given me trust issues. I’ve also come across the worst pick-up lines. I’m a Kashmiri Pandit, and someone once told me, “You’re a Pandit, so you already know how to blow things up,” and thought it was cool. — Shrea, 22, musician
“She used me as a human dildo.”
This girl I matched with on Hinge told me straight-up that she wanted to bang me. We had been sexting for a few weeks, so I thought, “Why not?” She asked me to meet her at a hotel room. The first thing I thought was that she looked nothing like her profile pictures, but I decided to let it go. We got high together and started hooking up. It was really hot until, all of a sudden, she told me she didn’t want me to do anything. She made me lie down with my arms and legs splayed out in a starfish-like shape, then proceeded to use me like a human dildo. I wish I could erase this memory completely. – Lakshay, 26, business manager