Tinder: The Real Dating Experience

Tinder: The Real Dating Experience

Because I had absolutely nothing to lose.
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Okay ladies, let’s talk Tinder.

I was first introduced to Tinder my senior year of high school. At my small, private boarding school the pool of guys to choose from was more or less the same for four years straight, so I’m not surprised my peers decided to broaden their horizons. None of my friends really used Tinder for dating, but rather to see what hot guys they could match with, or to get a laugh from the ridiculous messages sent by immature high schoolers (asking ‘DTF’ is sooo last year).

Me, being the romantic that I am, still believed in the genuineness of meeting someone in person, so I refused to download the app. Gradually though, the allure of Tinder started growing on me after spending weeks watching my friends match with man after man, and reading message after message. So, come senior spring I downloaded the app and decided to try it out for myself. After finding the selection of men to be rather sparse in the rural setting I was swiping in, the app lay dormant on my phone for four months.

Fast forward to September of my first year in college, where I traded the suburbs for bright lights and the big city. Here, I found that almost everyone I knew used Tinder and (shockingly) went on dates. My preconception of online dating was that it was mainly for lonely adults aged 30 and over (thanks eHarmony). I was shocked to find that an entire generation was changing social norms of online dating. After deciding to reopen the Tinder app, I found myself becoming slowly addicted. My matches were piling up, and the date requests were pouring in. Still, I was too embarrassed of Tinder to go on an actual Tinder date.

I spent so long swiping left that my thumbs would cramp, and my virtual standards for Tinder were obnoxiously higher than in real life (it is the internet, after all though). After turning down copious amounts of men, I finally found a guy that seemed perfect. He was a fellow science major from ENGLAND (hello British accent) interning at Harvard (husband material) for the summer. After some witty lines and generic "getting to know you" questions, we ended up texting on a daily basis for a few weeks. By coincidence, I found out that we attended the same concert at symphony hall the day we matched on Tinder. I took this as a sign, and when he asked to go on a date I gladly accepted.

Since he was new to the city, I ended up having to plan our date. This was fine by me because I could plan for a worst case scenario, along with planning to my comfort zone. Our busy schedules only allotted for a casual Friday night dinner, which was later changed to a stroll through a local museum. This made my Tinder guy seem even more perfect because, shockingly, drinks, clubbing, and "Netflix and chill" hold little appeal for me.

On the day of our date I was more tired than nervous, but that was mostly due to the 47 hours I had spent in class or at work that week. This combined with the fact that I was going on an essentially blind date made me decide early on that I wasn't going out of my way for looks. I donned a casual dress, sandals, a cardigan, and did my makeup the same as always. I wasn't planning on trying too hard for my Tinder man. While walking to our date, my biggest fear toggled between him looking vastly different from his pictures, and me being catfished.

I decided to get to the museum early to settle my nerves and observe my surroundings in case I had to find a way to escape our date, should things turn sour. While inventing a code word with my friend to let her know that I made it home safely, the moment we had all been waiting for happened: my date showed up.

Meeting him face to face for the first time made me realize how tall he truly was (roughly 6'3" to my 5'2" stature), and how he was the spitting image of his profile pictures (hallelujah). After getting past the initial awkwardness, our conversation started flowing naturally. He was really sweet and definitely interesting to talk to. I also loved the museum as a first date because any awkward silences could easily be masked as admiring the artwork.

While talking to him was nice, I wasn't feeling a connection beyond possible friendship. We stayed in the museum for about two hours, and then after he asked if I wanted to go for coffee or dessert. I knew he wanted to spend more time together but something was lacking for me, so I instead suggested that we start walking back.

On our nighttime stroll, I made the mistake of mentioning that his T station was very close to my dorm. From there, he started a train of thought that I quickly shut down with a few friendly words. But, in hindsight, I feel as if telling him my favorite exhibit was 'Art of the Ancient World' was a mistake because of all the phallic references found in their art, and the copious amounts of naked statues. I probably set myself up for that.

From there our walk back seemed slightly more uncomfortable, and I was glad the date was almost over. We stopped at an intersection to say goodbye and he went in for a hug, which I was thankful for.

I didn't text him after our date, and he hasn't texted me.

Reflecting on my experience, I can finally understand why my friends go through phases of installing and uninstalling Tinder, and I’m tempted to follow suit. While Tinder doesn’t deserve the bad rep it has, it originally started as a hookup app, so be aware and know what could be in store for you. With technology’s constant evolution, apps like Tinder will continue to pop up and change the way we meet new people. It is becoming more and more socially acceptable to go on online dates, regardless of your age demographic, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes life and work gets in the way, impeding us from finding guys on our own time. While I won't be going on anymore Tinder dates anytime soon, I won’t say that I’ll never do again.

Cover Image Credit: Wired.com

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Just Because I Check My Boyfriend's Location Every Hour Doesn't Make Me A 'Psycho Girlfriend'

No, checking his location every hour does not make me psycho.
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My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for a few months now. He has come up with describing my actions sometimes as “psycho girlfriend.” As much as this bothered me at first I started to realize there is nothing wrong with my “psycho” actions.

I don’t monitor who my boyfriend hangs out with and I don’t care who he texts, I trust him, but I do watch other things he does.

I probably check his location about once an hour, maybe more if he isn’t texting me back.

This isn’t some way for me to find out if he is with another girl, it’s so I can ensure he isn’t dead in a ditch somewhere. If he was on Snapchat five minutes ago but hasn’t texted me back in 45 minutes, yeah I’ll call him out on it but I'm not actually mad. If he is with friends and not answering me, it’s cool. I just want to be able to make sure I know where he is and that he is alive on a regular basis.

I make him keep his read receipts on for me.

I don’t care if he leaves me on read, I just need to know he is seeing what I’m saying. Half the time, I text him random facts or thoughts I have throughout my day, those don’t always need a response back. However, I do want to know he is acknowledging me through reading my texts.

Yes, from time to time I will spam him and make him respond to my messages so we can make plans or I can know what he is doing with his day but it’s not like I plan out his every move for him or care if he is getting drunk with the boys on a Wednesday, not my issue.

I don’t ask for all of his time or anything. I know he is a busy person. All I ask for him to text me back on a regular basis (once an hour to be exact), for him to allow for me to know where he is at all times and to get one night a week with him.

I don’t plan to show up where he is or anything, I simply just like to know information and get a weekly time with him. I don’t care if I only see him that one night a week, I just want one night with a movie or dinner or snuggles so I can get my boyfriend time.

The rest of the time he is his own person, and I couldn’t really care less about what he does in that time.

Cover Image Credit: Grace Wilkowski

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How Dating Yourself Can Help You Regain Your Personal Strength

You don't have to let traumatic events redefine who you are.
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Traumatic events are unfortunate things that will happen to all of us in our lives, and some circumstances can be particularly life-changing.

Such events can have massive impacts on our personalities, moods and behaviors, and it’s possible that one could begin to feel lost or unlike themselves as they cope with the trauma’s aftermath.

So what is one supposed to do when they feel they’ve lost sight of who they are?

I’m not a therapist, so I can’t give you a treatment plan or psychological consult. But, I can give you a general outline of how I got to a better place after my own recent trauma.

If you feel you’ve lost sight of who you are, the best way to get that back is to date yourself.

Now, you might be thinking, what does it mean to date yourself?

Well, let’s think about it. What is the purpose of going on a date with another person? To get to know them better and understand who they are as a person. If you’re dating yourself, you’re doing the same thing, just with your own psyche.

And what would be the benefit of dating yourself, or what could you expect to get out of it?

If you’ve lost touch with who you are, taking time for yourself to be alone and to do specific activities lets you process.

If you force yourself to do the activities that once made you happy, you might find that they produce that same level of happiness again.

If you take yourself out to eat, to a movie or a long hike by yourself, you can take time to appreciate your company and think as opposed to feeling social pressures that might exist in group activities or on a regular date.

Dating yourself will force you to consider what your expectations are in the situations, and you’ll develop better insight into what settings you’re comfortable in and what your actual beliefs are.

Since you’re not on a romantic date, you don’t need to worry about impressing anyone else.

Since you won’t be with a group, you don’t have to worry about participating in group activities.

All you have is you and the surrounding environment, which allows you to be authentically you.

In psychology, there exists a concept called post-traumatic growth, or PTG. PTG represents the positive psyche and life changes one makes and experiences after a traumatic event or crisis. If you’ve suffered from any sort of personal trauma, taking the time to re-find who you are can ensure you make the right steps to recovering and living life as you desire.

Learn to love your time alone. Learn how to be comfortable in your own thoughts and silence. Know what your likes and dislikes are, and what situations feel OK to you. Make an effort to date yourself as apart of your PTG.

Collectively, taking the time to find yourself will ensure that you won’t lose sight of who you are as a person. The more you date yourself, the more secure you’ll be, which will ultimately lead to a more positive life outcome and sense of security you need to live life to its fullest.

Cover Image Credit: Gianna Valoe

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