Carrie – I was watching an episode of Chelsea Handler’s new Netflix Series, Chelsea Does Marriage, where she features testimonials from her friends, family and complete strangers (ie. BDSM threesomes) on marriage, love, and relationships. One of the couples says, “We met online like everyone these days.”
I looked over at my sister, who recently met her boyfriend on Bumble (you’re welcome for forcing you to get it one drunken night). I thought of all the couples getting together and it was one of three things: a) work/school, b) mutual friends, or c) online. When you live in a city as isolating as Toronto can be, dating apps might be your best option.
It got me thinking that everyone IS online these days. Obviously, this isn’t a revolutionary thought but hear me out. Whenever I want something to happen in my life, I go online. I check my phone for messages from friends; I check Facebook to see cool events I’m invited to; I creep people on Instagram to see their photos in Thailand; I open Snapchat to screenshot people’s ugly–selfies for future blackmail; the list goes on and on. I go online to connect with others and dating apps were no exception to this.
For a while from August to October, my morning routine consisted of checking the weather followed by my Tinder messages. Aggressive for 7 in the morning but I was addicted to the thought of making a connection and feeling in control of my own romantic fate. It was an addiction and got to a point where I could barely decipher my Mikes from the Michaels. It’s fine when you’re on the app because you’ve got the photos but when you’ve progressed to Stage Two: Giving Out Your Number, it’s a tougher challenge. (Tip: my sister used emojis.)
After being broken up with for the first time by the only Tinder boy I’d liked, I deleted my accounts. Mr. 3 Chances and Mr. Blind Spot were the last guys I had been talking to on Tinder and when those didn’t work out, I came to the realization that I already hate people, but I hate people online even more. Of course this is my personal, completely biased view but here are some reasons why I am happier without dating apps.
- You feel less pressure to force something that isn’t there.
Meeting someone online feels like a McDonald’s burger that’s been left out under a heat lamp for 7 hours. It’s faster gratification than an artisan burger, but it starts to feel stale after a while.
To elaborate, I had been talking to so many guys at one point I couldn’t remember which conversations were which because it was all indistinguishable small-talk. Maybe it was my conversational skills, maybe it was the guys I was talking to, but it felt like repeating the same inorganic process. Admittedly, we do go through this process dating in real life, such as finding out details of people’s jobs and favourite colours, but at least there’s some kind of in-person reaction to work off of. When I was online, I kept using the same lines for different guys because I knew it had worked before. It became a game and these connections started to lose meaning to me, especially since these relationships started off with a screen.
- People are 100 times more unreliable.
This goes back to the screen thing. Emotions can be volatile and when you’re over it or not feeling someone, it’s easier to do the cowardly thing of just ignoring someone. You have no mutual friends, no reasons why your paths will cross again, and no way of being held accountable so why not? When you don’t have to see that you’re hurting people, it seems more reasonable to unmatch them, ignore their texts, and send them the hint to go away. Eventually things that are out-of-sight become out-of-mind.
- If you’re competitive like me, it always becomes a challenge among your friends or even yourself.
If you’re on Tinder and you’re not talking to someone, you kind of feel bad for yourself. Like I have all of these options at my fingertips and I still can’t find someone?!? If I was bored enough, I would force a conversation with someone I wasn’t as into, just to be talking to someone. Tinder was my catnip: a distraction when I was bored. The worst version of myself came out when the guy wanted to meet up and I would be faced with the decision to ghost or send a non-breakup breakup text.
Then if I talked to friends who were talking to some amazing guy from Tinder, I would almost get this jealous urgency to find someone so I could have a story to tell too. It’s the competitor in me, kinda like when my best friend and I got boyfriends at the same time in high school and we would use an intense point system to score whose relationship was going faster physically. 10 points for the V card! (It was fucked up, not gonna lie.)
- It’s nice to be off technology.
I was at the bank and the teller was taking a long time. She could tell I was growing impatient so she asked me “You don’t have a phone?” I did, but I didn’t see a point of mindlessly scrolling through a newsfeed when there was a human being to interact with right in front of me. She obviously didn’t feel the same about me.
Which brings me to my last point: if you keep looking at your phone looking for connections or waiting for something to happen, sometimes you’re cutting yourself off from the real life opportunities that are happening around you. The possibility of meeting someone that you cross paths with on a daily basis is often more viable than someone 30 km away from you talking to you through a phone. But I guess there’s a dating app for this now too…
In essence, I’m much happier with my mental health having taken a break from dating apps. I quite like not being attached to my phone, expectantly waiting for a message back and being devastated if it didn’t come. It was taking a toll on the way I perceived myself and my self-confidence, even though it often is more of a reflection of the other person than me (that’s what I tell myself to sleep at night, okay?)
Sure, my life is much more boring nowadays. It seems more difficult to find platforms for romantic interests in real life than online. The cute guy on the subway is married, the guy in the kale aisle is gay, and you have to humiliate yourself to find out these details. But it makes you be social, take that chance to ask that person out, and make them see your excitement. In my humble opinion, it has been a much more valuable lesson to learn patience, how to be content with myself on my own, and find my self-worth external to the number of matches I have. Firm believer of when the time comes, it’ll happen.
That being said, if it #happns for you on a dating app, go get em tiger!