People Are Dating Via Discord, Venmo, And Other Non-Dating Apps

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Spring has begun to melt away the last of cuffing season, and the dating game is now afoot. But between Tinder swindling and West Elm Caleb, cynical online flirtations might have you wondering if it’s possible to meet someone at all.

Finding love is not limited to dating apps, as people are meeting their partners all over the World Wide Web. From Twitch channels to the Target customer support chat, digital platforms not designed for dating have been hotbeds for falling in love, too (or making friends, as the Cut previously reported).

Ray Russo, 23, met her current boyfriend in 2019, on a Discord server for tarot-based dating simulation app The Arcana. They discussed the characters from the romance-based interactive role-play, bonding over their mutual interest for the story.

“A few friends started to make a separate, smaller server and asked if we wanted to join,” she told BuzzFeed News. “Eventually one day he asked if I wanted to date him. So I said sure, and he sent me a DM later confirming that we were now partners. And I said yes.”

Though it’s not explicitly a dating app, Discord has increasingly become a platform for people to make romantic connections. Sydney Hoang, 19, said it’s partly because of the pandemic. “It’s been hard to meet people, considering school is online and everything is closed,” Hoang, who said her friends have met people on Discord, told BuzzFeed News.

Getting to know each other online meant lots of messaging and watching movies over screen share, and for months they texted back and forth on Discord. “Babe what if we kissed and we were neopets,” they would write to each other. Finally in 2020, Russo’s boyfriend flew from North Carolina to Los Angeles for their first IRL date at Universal Studios. “He’d never been before, so it was fun to show him around,” she said. They hit it off, but soon after, the COVID pandemic began.

Because of the pandemic, most of their relationship has been on Discord, but it’s evolved over the DMs. “I feel like this will be us when we get married,” Russo wrote, sending a meme from The Big Bang Theory. They even met their third partner on the same Arcana Discord server, and the three of them met in person in November last year. “It was the best thing ever,” Russo said.

The throuple hopes to move in together someday, though Russo said their plans are up in the air until they can live closer in proximity and make a little more money. “It felt nice to meet online, because we didn’t know what the other looked like, so we got to know each other’s personalities,” she said.

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