There was a time in my life when I looked around and realized that almost everyone around me was in a relationship. It was at that time that I stopped thinking of myself as an independent person and started to think of myself as someone who was not whole. I was missing a piece of me that I believed should be there. No one told me otherwise, so I thought that in order to be whole and to find the happiness that I believed I was missing, I needed to find a relationship.
I had only been kissed once, only had a handful of crushes and only admitted my feelings to one of those boys. It didn’t go anywhere after that, so I figured something must be wrong with me. It was this thought that drove me to sign myself up for my first dating app during my sophomore year of college. If I couldn’t find love in the real world, then maybe I could find it in the virtual world.
As luck would have it, the second person I matched with ended up being the first person I made a connection with. We had a lot in common and after speaking for around a month, we met in person and had clicked even more from that night on. A couple months into knowing each other, we made things official and a month after that, we officially ended things. It was my first heartbreak, but it certainly wasn’t my last.
For the next year or so, I continued to turn to these dating apps to find what I thought I was missing. It came to a point when I was swiping my finger across my screen almost every night, mindlessly looking through profiles of guys that I found myself judging harsher than I think was really necessary. Too tall. Too scrawny. Too many tattoos. Too boring. Too this. Too that.
Even though I was a tough critic, I found a few dates from the bunch. I’m not going to lie, I had fun on every one of them. It was nice getting dolled up, being taken out and getting to know new people. But after each new connection came a new disappointment somewhere down the line, some more brutal than others.
When I was swiping through profiles, it really took a swing at my confidence. Sure it felt great when someone I swiped right on swiped right for me too, but the times when I was rejected didn’t make me feel too confident. Sometimes I even found myself purposefully swiping left on people I liked just because I didn’t think they’d like me back.
Recently I looked back at these experiences and really evaluated the quality of them. I think I only really found two worth-while connections. The first one being that first connection that, after a few months of radio silence, found its way into a newly budding friendship. The second being my most recent connection, which can’t be something serious now but maybe with the right timing can be something in the future. I do not regret any of the experiences I’ve had but I do think it’s time for me to log off and try my luck in the real world.
Online dating introduced me to parts of myself that I didn’t realize existed. I am more adventurous than I give myself credit for and I find myself excited at the potential to meet new people. I’m not nervous like I once was before I started swiping. However, it did show me enough negativity that I do not wish to further explore. I’m not one for hookup culture and I hate the idea of sharing my thoughts with someone as if it were a routine, a conveyor belt of guys that I tell the same things to over and over again. I get that that’s just part of dating, but the online world just makes it seem more impersonal than I think it should be. The downer on my confidence doesn’t help either.
I’m no longer letting dating apps run my life and I’m excited to see what this new chapter has in store.