I have a confession to make. I lied. To all of you. See, I was adamant about how I was not going to go on a dating app. Nope. Not gonna do it. Not me. Well, guess what? I did. And I am. Now, before you become upset with me, I told the truth. Everything I said about not wanting to be on a dating app is true. I still feel every single thing I spoke about. But I am on Bumble anyway. I was curious, slightly drunk, and really wanting to try something new. So on Easter Sunday (yes, judge all you want, my boys were gone, I was missing them, and having a really hard time with it all), a friend and I sat outside with some cocktails and I took the dating app plunge. I had no idea what I was in for. I have learned a lot in a few short months. Not all bad. Not all good.
Rule #1: Don’t become too excited
Hello, Bumble! Hello, Tinder! Hello, single men! I mean all of a sudden I had dozens of men just sliding left and right scrolling by with my thumb. The alcohol was making me giggly and boy did I get excited to just think of the many possibilities I now had. I was matching again and again right off the bat. Man, I still got it (I think to myself). I jumped right in. I started chatting with someone and I knew this was it. I am going to luck out with my first match. Bahahahaha. Silly, silly me. We messaged for a week or two. We scheduled some dates. And life happens. Plans cancelled. Then when I finally did met him, nothing. No spark. Ugh. Awkward. I threw my whole self into my first match and had ice cold water thrown on me. Unfortunately dating apps don’t work out the way you think they might.
Now I am five months into that dating app world and I don’t get excited anymore. Because I now know that until I hear his voice and meet him in person, everything that happens through messaging and texting is nothing. It is so easy to imagine what a person would sound like or act like through texting. But you miss out on so much. The tone of voice, the sarcasm level, the twinkle in his eye.
However, the messaging is a great starter to see if I would want to meet in person. I have chatted with more men in the app then actually met in person. Several at one time. A few have gotten my phone number and we texted or tried to talk on the phone (what am I saying, no one talks on the phone anymore!) Most of the time, nothing comes about. So I am more level headed about it. The excitement of attention only lasts so long. Disappoint can eat you up. Therefore, I stay calm, keep a level head, and be patient with the process.
Rule #2: Be upfront and honest about why you are here
Dating apps have the reputation for easy hook ups. There are some, but not everyone is looking for that quick fix. However, my naive nature got a big lesson on sex. I have come across married men looking for something on the side, couples looking to add to the mix, a man who is in a relationship but doesn’t believe in monogamy, a guy who wants a woman to be comfortable with his bi-curiousness, couples looking for couples, a guy said all women are sluts for being on a dating app, and the all around just looking for a hookup guy. Then you have me. Not looking for a hookup, doesn’t sleep with someone on the first date, and can be too modest at time. So basically, I am looking for someone similar. And there are some.
Yes, I have had to google some of the lingo I find on a person’s profile. And when I am asked what I am looking for on this site, I say not a hook up. Either they will be okay with that or not. I will not send a nudie, half nudie, talk dirty, or attempt any of the above because I DON’T WANT TO. And I don’t have to. I only do what I am comfortable doing. I also have standards and am pretty vocal about them.
Rule #3: Get out of the comfort zone
I could have not signed up for a dating app. I could have let it all happen organically. I could have stayed where I was. But I didn’t. Being on this dating app has pushed me outside of my comfort zone. It has made me put myself out there. It has shown me what I really am wanting in a relationship. It has made me laugh, cry, cringe, and hope. I see that I can’t let something drag on with no spark just because I am lonely. I see myself being more bold, more honest, and more fun. I have gained a lot of confidence back that was lost.
So, it isn’t all bad. I really have grown as a person and woman.
Rule #4: Laugh and just have fun
Because it really is. I am not taking it too seriously. I don’t believe I will find a relationship from being on Bumble or Tinder. Or maybe I will. And be pleasantly surprised. Therefore, I am enjoying the flirting, the smiling, and the attention. My girlfriend is on it too which makes it even more enjoyable. It is no hardship to look at dozens of shirtless, gym selfies or a man and his dog photo. We even have to double check with each other that we aren’t talking to the same man. Some of my male co-workers have helped me pick out my profile pictures and wording. I tell them my latest Bumble adventures around the water cooler. I am able to laugh at myself when I get corny or awkward. I am enjoying it for now.
Since being on the dating app, I have found that at one time or another a single adult in today’s society will most likely join a dating app. I am not the only person to try it out. It is a great way to meet other single adults that I wouldn’t meet within my own inner circle. Yet, it can be dangerous. Some people are just looking for casual sex. Some people might take it all too serious. And that is where I am becoming more confident at vocalizing my boundaries and my limits.
I have experienced some healing in these past months. In addition, I have experienced more cynicism about dating in general. Yet, I will keep being on it. For a while. I don’t know when I will stop. And I am okay with that.