Thoughts on: My Changing Views on Online Dating
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a very tumultuous relationship with online dating. I was first introduced to the existence of online dating when I was about 15 and still in high school. Keep in mind that this was pre smartphone days- I still had a hot pink flip phone, and no one even had a personal laptop. But my mom was telling me about how one of my cousins had met someone on a dating website, and that they were in a pretty serious relationship. The first thing that popped into my head was “OMG, he must be a serial killer.” I was confused as to why my cousin was going on dating websites because she was beautiful, fun, and seemed great overall. She was really a pioneer of online dating at a time where the stereotype of people who found love online was quite unflattering. But it worked out well for her because they soon after got married, got a dog, and had twin girls. It was just very shocking to hear about online dating back in 2006.
Fast forward 5 years later and I am now a junior at NYU. At this point in 2011, online dating really became more of a thing that people were doing. It was still nowhere near as prevalent as it is today in 2020, but you wouldn’t gasp if someone had a date via an app. However, I clearly remember myself going on rants about how much I hated online dating and how I would never download an app. I guess in retrospect, I was more so questioning why my friends would swipe on an app when we were going out all the time and constantly meeting new guys at school, at parties, and randomly elsewhere. It seemed silly to me and I honestly couldn’t ever fathom using dating apps.
Fast forward 4 years later and now I am a 24 year old member of corporate America, and things have changed. For the first few years post college, I did not have any issues meeting new guys IRL, and getting dates. I would go to parties and bars and meet guys through friends or friends of friends. However, at 24 all of that suddenly stopped as I was going out less, not meeting new people, and had a firmly established circle. My roommate and best friend at the time was on the apps, and I would always see her clicking around and would peep over her shoulder. I eventually got so bored and curious that summer that I finally downloaded Bumble and found myself mindlessly swiping for hours with her.
I went on many dates that summer (some really great and fun, some a 3 hour long nightmare,) and eventually met my ex BF on Bumble- let’s call him Andrew. My relationship with Andrew started off like a whirlwind fairytale, but unfortunately dragged on for three and a half anxiety filled years, and came crashing to a fiery halt before this past summer. And because of how badly it ended and how horrible Andrew made me feel throughout the last- let’s call it two years of our relationship, I once again HATED online dating with a passion for leading me to him.
So here I am now at 28, and back on the apps in full swing. Returning to the apps sadly reminds me that the age of meeting people IRL has passed, and that the much romanticized meet cute is not in the cards for 99.99% of us. There is no magic wand, no fairy godmother that will bring you to the man of your dreams, but the apps help widen your pool of potential interests. Some girls have an unrealistic expectation that a guy will just walk up to them in the streets or supermarket and say “you’re the one for me.” But I have yet to hear of that happening, and I think that most times men and women need to try and put in effort to meet someone.
I hope that some of my resentment towards the apps goes away, and that I can approach apps from the eyes of my optimistic and open hearted 24 year old self. I have heard plenty of success stories from apps, such as my cousin, and definitely want to manifest positive vibes into the app world. I will of course get further into the pros and cons of online dating, why my relationship was so traumatizing, and my post breakup experiences in later posts, so stay tuned and subscribe!