Warning: This post has nothing to do with travel, sorry, but I like to share other aspects of my life too!
Swipe left, right, left, left, right, it’s a match! If you’re from my generation, you already know what I’m talking about. Today, this is our version of “The Notebook” romance, sitting on our phones, swiping, in hopes that we’ll swipe our next soulmate, or at least someone who will give us a “night to remember”.
As many as 40% of Americans are on dating apps. Today, this is how we meet people. Gone are the days of seeing someone cute on the street, or at a restaurant and going up and talking to them face-to-face. In fact, I can count on one hand the amount of people who have done this to me in my 28 years of life, at least while sober.
Dating has drastically changed over the last decade. Dating apps have popped up everywhere, from Bumble, to the OG, Tinder, it appears that the only way to find love is through our phones.
My dating life
I have been single for far too long to even remember now. After a few dramatic break-ups in college, I gave myself a year to get back to myself, and before I knew it, a year turned into an embarrassing amount of years spending Christmas alone, being asked constantly how I haven’t met someone yet, and patiently waiting for my fairytale ending, as I attend all my friends weddings without a plus one.
Now I swear, I’m not depressed, lonely, or dramatic. I’m independent, career-driven, and I actually love my time I spend alone. However, having a companion, a constant plus one, someone to lounge around all day on a Sunday with, sounds pretty nice at this point in my life. I’ve had my fun, and now I’m ready for my prince charming, but where is he?
I have been on dating apps since the beginning. I was an original user of Tinder when it launched in 2012, and when people my age were still ashamed to admit they were even on it. To be fair, I did take multiple breaks through those years, and had a lot of short-lived relationships with some great (and not so great) guys. Plus, It wasn’t until 2017 that I actually decided to seriously put effort into this whole online dating thing.
I finally hit a point where I realized what I was doing, and the quality of men I was meeting (mainly at the bar after one too many gin and tonics) we’re just not cutting it as the relationship-type. Even though the thought of having to meet-up with complete strangers, and sober, horrified my millennial introverted self, I knew that I couldn’t complain about being single if I was actively putting myself out there, and checking all the boxes. So off I went, fully ready to swipe away, Bumble being my app of choice.
About a year and a half later of consistently scheduling dates with potential suitors, I’m still single. This year alone I went on over 30 first dates. And no, this wasn’t some sort of game to me, and I definitely didn’t do it as a social experiment to write this article, or launch my podcast that’s coming out in January. In fact, I had no idea I had even been on this many dates until I thought back to all the men I had met in 2018, and thought back to all the ups, downs, tears, broken hearts, and times that I wish I could fake a heart attack to get out of a date.
Looking back at a year in dates
Despite the fact that it can be easy to feel defeated and think, “I’m going to be alone forever” at this point, I’m shockingly somehow still optimistic, hopeful, and still swiping. But I think it’s interesting to take a look back at a year, what has changed, and what I learned.
2018 started off with a bang. Everyone feels refreshed after the new year, myself included, and I was ready to meet new people and put myself out there.
The guy who gave me butterflies
In the beginning of the year I had a handful of very meh dates. I met some cool guys, some of them got second dates, but nothing really clicked or got me excited until I met who we will call J. Do you know that feeling you get when you first meet someone and there is an instant connection? It definitely doesn’t happen often. J gave me butterflies the moment I met him on a snowy night in a bar on Dundas Street West (Toronto). When you’re consistently dating new people, it can be so refreshing to meet someone that gives you this feeling. Mainly because you start to question if you’re dead inside, and are even capable of still having this feeling (hey, it happened to the Grinch).
J and I only went on a couple dates, then he got really weird about what he wanted, and dating multiple people at once (which news alert, everyone on dating apps is doing), and I basically put him in his place. I didn’t want to waste my time with someone who didn’t know what they were looking for, when I very obviously knew what I wanted. Some may say this comes off too strong, but I’m 28, if a guy can’t handle a girl knowing what they want in 2018, and at our age, then it’s not someone I want to date anyway.
Fast forward to almost a year later and J still watches and likes every single post I post on Instagram. Hi J, I see you.
Around this time I had also been laid off from my job. Feeling like I had lost my one constant in my life was a whole other challenge, but the one plus is I had a ton more time to date, even though I hated admitting I wasn’t working to the career driven men I’m attracted to.
After J, I had another series of meeting great, friendly guys, but guys that I’d want to be just friends with and didn’t feel that connection we all long for (and those butterflies). So let’s give a quick shout-out to some of those guys….
To the guy who was like talking to a wall, actually, there was a few of these
To the one who lived too far away for it to work
To the guy who got way too drunk on our second date
Cheers to all of you!
As I continued to date, I quickly learned that as I met more and more men that there were a ton of guys out there that “checked all my boxes” but I had no spark or connection with. I had always thought that when I met a guy who was career driven, didn’t live in his parents house, respected me, could make me laugh, etc. etc. that that would be it. Let’s get married. But the truth is, when you date, you learn a lot in terms of what you thought you wanted and what you actually need in relationships.
The guy who taught me something I needed
This is where my next lesson of the year came in, when I met a guy named JB (no, not Justin Bieber, this is just his nickname for this article). JB and I had so much fun together. On one of our first dates we ended up extending it and spending 12 hours together just talking. How rare is it to find someone that you don’t get sick of after a few drinks? We instantly hit it off. Again, a rare commodity. We had a whirlwind two month (ish) romance where we went on adventures, did all the fun things in the city that you’ve always wanted to do with a significant other, and it just felt right. It was that kind of feeling where I felt like, I could get used to this, this could be it, something real, something I’ve wanted and been waiting for.
I never thought I was a girl that needed to go on fun dates and do things all the time with my significant other. I always thought I’d be happy to just sit at home and do nothing (which by the way, I still am), but it was so nice having someone who wanted to take you out, flaunt you around town, and most importantly that you could have fun together, and experience things together. I realized how close doing things like that brought us together.
Then it happened, out of nowhere I got a text from JB saying he just wasn’t feeling it, and thought we should end things. What happened? How could someone just change their mind? Why should I even be surprised at this point. Literally been the story of my life for 28 years. Anyway, goodbye JB, and best of luck. Thanks for teaching me that I do need adventure and spontaneity in a relationship, just not with you.
Feeling defeated, yet again, I hopped right back on the Bumble train and started to swipe. I went on a ton of mediocre dates, with mediocre people…
To the ones I had nothing in common with
To the one I spent four hours talking with and never heard from again
To the guy whose breath just always had a slight off smell that turned me off
…. eventually, I met my next potential suitor, we’ll call him A.
The guy who came so close to being the one (or so I thought)
Ah ha! I had finally found (another) one I connected with. Immediately A stated his intentions, we were looking for the same things, and I admired his confidence, along with the fact he had a good head on his shoulders. We both were in between jobs, and instantly connected. We spent hours, and days together at a time. We’d leave each others side for a few hours, only to meet up again a few hours later, even if it was just to both work on our computers across from each other in a coffee shop.
To me, A had it all, and we grew close quickly given the amount of time we spent together. A was the first guy in a long time that I didn’t feel scared to say my feelings too, or invite to important things happening in my life without being afraid I’d scare him off. I could seriously see a future with this guy. He checked all the boxes, and there was a deeper connection. He could easily fit seamlessly into my life. Cue the wedding bells!
Then out of nowhere, he began to push me away. He got a demanding job, but instead of balancing both the job and me, he only focused on one, and unfortunately for me, I wasn’t that one. After weeks of wondering what’s going on? Do I give him the benefit of the doubt? That there’s no possible way something so good could just end, out of nowhere, for no reason other than being busy, I finally faced the cold hard truth, I guess this means it’s over.
This one I took hard. It was hard to not get knocked down by it, mainly because there’s nothing worse for something to just suddenly stop working. For someone who you admired and thought respected you, to not give you an explanation. No matter how or when something ends, it never gets easier, but again, I hoped back on the Bumble train in hopes that I could a) forget about it, and b) find someone who actually wanted to commit to me and wouldn’t just waste my time for months.
Swipe, swipe, swipe, and date, date, date.
To the entitled rich city boy who I couldn’t stand the minute you opened your mouth
To the one who awkwardly comforted me on our first date after I had been mugged on the street on my way to our date (actually though, you were so kind)
To the one I got heart-eyed over the minute I saw him, but never put any effort in to make plans
To the couple guys who I loved talking about work with, but that’s all we talked about
To the one I hit it off with but was too busy working on himself to commit (which by the way I respect, but also, this WOULD happen to me at this point)
Cheers to all of you. Even if it didn’t work out, I think that you never really know until you meet someone. I’ve never been on a date where the person was an absolute horrible human, just not the human for me.
Maybe you think I’m too picky, but at 28 I’m independent, I pay my own bills, I’m completely content with being alone. If a guy doesn’t compliment my life, my passions, and everything in between, I’m not going to settle just to be with someone. I want to marry someone, I want to have kids, but I won’t do it if it means I’ll be miserable with my significant other, or end up in the ever-growing divorce statistic.
Dating in this era can be exhausting, disappointing, and some days I hate it. However, dating can also be motivating, fun, and teach you a lot about yourself. I’ve grown as a person in the last year because of the 30+ dates I’ve been on, and I know by the time I meet the one, whether it be on an app or not, I’ll be more ready than I ever thought I needed to be.