In September 16, 2020, Dennis Hefter was talking about dating apps with his two sons when he brought up a common pattern seen among Generation Z – a refusal to date outside their political party.
After hearing that so many women on dating apps said in their profiles that they wouldn’t date conservatives, Hefter, 61, of Niwot, thought about creating an app focused on people’s social views.
On September 5, Trubble, a dating app for progressive people, was launched across the state and has since signed up more than 50,000 users.
When a user signs up for the first time, they will be asked to fill out some general personal information, including their name, birthday, location, preferred pronouns, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. The user is then asked to rank their level of passion on six social issues, including; Support pro-choice, better climate laws, expanded LGBTQIA+ rights, universal healthcare, stronger gun control, and easier immigration laws.
Hefter said the app is designed for people who want long-term relationships and, despite what some people think, it is open to all political views.
“Honestly, we try to stay away from politics,” Hefter said. “Being progressive is not a political stance. It’s about being concerned about social issues that affect people. It doesn’t mean you’re a Democrat or a Republican.”
Despite this, Hefter said he understands that social issues have become politicized in recent years and said that relationships also last longer when partners’ political views align.
“I don’t see these issues as political issues but as social issues,” Hefter said. “Unfortunately, our leaders have done a good job of politicizing them. In fact, one’s stance on these issues has become the fourth-highest priority for prospective daters.”
A 2018 national survey by the Pew Research Center found that 77% of married and cohabiting partners reported that their partner was from the same political party.
During onboarding, users are also asked about their gender and ethnicity preferences before being able to add six photos to their profile. Hefter said users are paired with others with the same level of passion for each social issue.
“If you unite on big social issues, your chances of having good, strong, solid relationships are good,” Hefter said. “If you don’t do that, the odds are against you.”
Brett King, a professor of social psychology at the University of Colorado Boulder, said that relationships can be viewed in two ways; Initial attraction, which is primarily related to someone’s looks and personality, and long-term compatibility, which is more dependent on a person’s values and beliefs.
“Political beliefs, more than personality, will be one of the highest value-based things in a long-term relationship,” King said.
King said that people who are looking for short-term relationships or hookups tend to place less emphasis on their partner’s social or political views, while those who prioritize the other’s progressive beliefs may lead to longer relationships.
“If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, research has shown that personality is not the strongest predictor of a relationship,” King said. “Some other factors that people may not consider are similarity in terms of lifestyle or beliefs and values, which are more important in the long-term health of a relationship.”
Hefter said the app is not intended to contribute to an increasingly polarizing political environment, but rather to provide single people an opportunity to find a partner with their same passions and values.
“It’s not really meant to alienate people in any way,” Hefter said. “What I’m saying is that these things are extremely important and if they’re not extremely important to you, you probably shouldn’t be on this app.” “
Hefter said that unlike other apps, TrueBlue uses AI to help singles meet their matches. Users’ interactions and profiles will be analyzed to determine how they interact and with whom they would best interact. Users will also have the opportunity to pay more for a subscription that will allow access to AI coaching and five other AI features.
Currently the app is only accessible to Coloradans, but there are plans to expand the app’s coverage later as more users sign up. After 5,000 signups, the app will officially launch and users will be able to connect with others.
During the soft launch phase, anyone who signs up can invite friends with a chance to win $1,000.