Tinder: The Real Dating Experience

Tinder: The Real Dating Experience

Because I had absolutely nothing to lose.

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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It Took A While, But I Finally Understand That My Life Isn't Just About My Relationship

Long distance doesn't mean I have to only think about my boyfriend 24/7.

Recently I have had a bit of a realization. Throughout my one year relationship, my boyfriend and I have had to be apart for a couple weeks at a time, sometimes a couple of months due to vacations or internship opportunities. During those times, I had a really hard time dealing with the distance. I would be sad and constantly want to talk to him.

If we went a couple days without talking consistently, it would bother me the whole time. My mind was preoccupied and even when I would try to keep busy or hang out with some of my other friends, I would still want to talk about him and the distance a lot.

At this point, even I started to recognize that I was handling the distance poorly. But I didn’t know how else to deal with it; I missed him and because of the time difference or our schedules, talking to him to make myself feel better wasn’t possible. So, for the first couple times that we had to be apart, this is how I would handle it. I would be sad and miss him a lot and honestly be only semi-productive.

Then, something changed.

During this current winter break, my boyfriend and I were apart again due to both of our vacations overlapping. Thus, when I got back from mine, I did what any college kid does on break. I texted all my friends to see when they are free to hang out and started to make plans with all of them. I started reading a book I have been wanting to finish for a while and just spent time relaxing from what was a hectic semester. I even started watching the "Harry Potter" series for the hundredth time!

I found myself relatively busy, but also very happy because I was around people I loved and having a lot of fun. Of course, I still greatly missed my boyfriend and would rather him be here than thousands of miles away in a different time zone.

However, I have finally realized something that may seem fundamental, but took me a while to understand.

I have finally understood that my whole life isn’t just about my relationship.

There is so much more to me and my life then my partnership with my boyfriend.

I know it sounds like the most obvious thing that I have written because most people know this fact, but I think for a lot of people it’s more difficult to actually do. I have written about in previous articles that my parents have had a rough relationship. Thus, I think in the back of my mind I felt that if I didn’t put all my time and energy into my relationship, it may turn out unsuccessful.

However, now I have come to the understanding that a relationship, especially a long distance one needs to be formed with two people who have their own ambitions and goals and ways they find happiness on their own. I am not saying to be selfish but rather to maintain one’s independence and aspirations.

When you know you are going to be okay even if your partner is away, it allows you to be happy and live your best life. This feeling of being okay even if your partner is away can coexist with the feeling of still missing them and wanting them with you. This is one thing that I think took me the longest to fully understood.

I felt that if I was happy and doing my own thing, I was in a way making it seem that I didn’t genuinely miss my partner; which of course was not the case.

I am really proud that I have finally gotten to this place because I find that I am so much less stressed out and happier now that I have begun focusing more on myself. I know not everyone will be able to relate to the sentiment I have expressed in this article, but I hope that if you can relate, you can come to this realization one day too.

It's definitely not easy and takes time, but it can be done!

Cover Image Credit: @couplegoals

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Thoughts To Prepare For A Change From A Normal Relationship Into A Long Distance One

A couple of things to think about if you're loving someone far away.

Long-distance relationships often receive a lot of speculation about not being successful and being painful for all parties involved. However, I personally believe any relationship, given the right mindset and set of tools can be successful, even ones that involve long periods of separation.

I met my love on a cool fall afternoon, in a gym where I had never expected to find someone I'd love as much as I to her. She was outgoing and beautiful, and I felt I was shy and awkward. Over time, our love bloomed into something more beautiful than a sunset over the ocean on the most beautiful day of the year, and a time came in our relationship where we decided it was worth pursuing long term. With this in mind, we also came to face a truth that we had to consider and prepare for if we wanted our love to last: she would be leaving to join the Navy, and be gone for several months at a time.

At first, it was something we both had to come to terms with in our relationship, and establish that even though it would be extremely difficult and cause us both some hurt, that if we could survive that, our love was true and that nothing could keep us apart for the rest of eternity. These are some things I thought about and still continue to remember as her time of departure approaches.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder. There has always been different sayings along these lines, and anyone who has ever missed someone they love or loved knows this to be true. If you love something, let it go; if it comes back to you, it's yours forever. You don't know what you have until it's gone. Both of these sayings go hand in hand with the idea that once something you love and appreciate is gone from you, you learn to appreciate it more, and in ways you never imagined. Simple things that you used to take for granted become things you wish you would've wished had never left you, and this makes you appreciate it so much more once it comes back to you.

Find appreciation in everything, even the bad stuff. Every couple fights, it's a part of being in a relationship and finding what's different about you and the person you're with. Sometimes, you feel like you can't stand to be with the person, but when all is said and done and the smoke clears, you still stand with them at the end of the day and everything that stood between you becomes meaningless. You learn to find that if it wasn't for things like disagreements or pissing someone off, you wouldn't fully understand how much you mean to each other and what it means to work things out and have a feeling of growth. Once everything is taken away from you in the context of a long distance relationship, you miss everything about that person, including the fights.

Know that if the love is real, you're not alone. One thing about really feeling reciprocated love is knowing that if you hurt, they hurt and if they hurt, you can feel their pain and hurt too. Going into a long distance relationship brings about many fears, but the other person will most likely have the same fears as you; the best thing for both of you to do is to trust in each other and your relationship, and push those fears away because the more you help quell the fears of the other person, the more your fears will calm as well.

Don't let fear and doubt ruin something that's perfectly good. As I've said before, long-distance relationships can cause a lot of fears arise: What if we grow apart? What if they find someone else? What if they come back and things aren't the same? It's completely normal to feel these questions, but you cannot let that fear be what drives you apart. If you grow apart, then it was never meant to be because true love knows no distance. As for things not being the same when they return, the fact of the matter is they most likely won't. Time will have passed, and time changes all things. What's important is for you and your partner to be able to adapt and grow with this change, and still find what it is that keeps you together and keeps your love so strong from the beginning.

As we all know, everyone's relationship is different. People love each other in different ways, and no one person can tell someone else how to fix or keep their relationship. My hope with this article isn't to guide every long distance relationship to success, it is simply to give some insight as to what has calmed my mind and heart about the fears and worries and given me confidence about my own relationship. True love conquers all, including distance, and that is the best advice I could give anyone.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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