I've been on and off dating apps since my freshman year of college. And each time I've re-downloaded them, it's been for different reasons.
Sometimes it's because I'm bored and swiping is an easy way to pass the time as you fall asleep at night. Sometimes it's because I want an ego boost. One time it was because I was in Florida visiting a friend and we wanted to mess with people she went to high school with.
In my most recent case of downloading, I was really set on finding a boyfriend. I've spent the past year of my life focusing on getting to know myself, learning how to successfully manage my mental health, and finding success in both my academic and professional lives.
I'm pretty damn proud of the person I've become. I've reached a point where I can look at the choices I've made to find success and say, "Yeah, what I do is pretty damn cool."
Because I know who I am, at least what my role in this world is, for the time being, I'm in a place where I am so damn ready to share that with another person. So yeah, I walk into a first date with the intention of laying it out there that I'm not here to play games. I want the real damn thing.
Tinder. Bumble. Hinge. I've done a lot of swiping. But I realized it was getting exhausting. Telling your story, even the basics, over and over again, can take a toll on you. Add in, "Hey, I manage some real shit with my mental health on a daily basis," and there's an extra layer of fear that people will judge and run in the opposite direction.
"Hey" does absolutely nothing for me. You're an adult. Learn how to start a real conversation. Don't just ask for my Snapchat. That doesn't show me that you're interested in getting to know me; that just makes me think you have an agenda to get me to send you the kind of pictures I have no intention of sending.
And then there's the ghosting. Days will go by and you'll hear nothing. All of a sudden, someone needs attention and that's all you're good for.
It's not that I wasn't getting asked on dates either, because I certainly was. But then my anxiety kicked in, and the thought of spending a couple of hours trying to keep a conversation going while you can feel awkward in the air was not appealing at all.
The worst thing about it all? I would get to a third date. I would think things were going well. And then all of a sudden: "You're great. You're so different than anyone I've seen in a while. I really enjoy spending time with you. But I just don't have time." And this happened again and again.
DUDE. You were making time. All of a sudden you don't feel like doing that anymore? Thank u, next.
I realized I wasn't going to find what I wanted swiping through life. It wasn't until I found myself on the couch on a Friday night in my Victoria's Secret pajama set sipping tequila that I realized this was seriously affecting my mental health.
It's a generalization, but not a lot of people on dating apps are necessarily looking for a relationship. So why was I wasting my time, chatting it up with guys I would never meet, as a way to numb the pain of being single? Why was I exhausting my emotional energy on these guys who only texted me after 10 PM in the hopes that I would come over to their apartments? Why was I repeatedly letting myself feel let down by the fact that I couldn't find "success" on these apps?
I was tired. I was starting to feel a little depressed. I was feeling like I wasn't enough.
Delete. Delete. Delete.
Tinder. Bumble. Hinge. All gone.
And suddenly I felt the weight lifted off of my shoulders. I stopped worrying if that cute guy I swiped right on would think I was hot enough. I stopped worrying if I wouldn't meet the expectations of the person I was meeting for a date who only knew me through the best pictures of myself that I was putting on a profile.
I made a commitment to myself that I would be honest and transparent on my social media. And I couldn't do that if I kept these profiles.
So here I am. Still single. But I know that I won't change that by swiping left or right. Because I can't find what I want, need, and deserve based on an algorithm.