Why are we using online dating?
Online dating used to carry a certain connotation – and those that were using it, usually didn’t admit to it. Those that admitted to it were usually in the 30+ crowd. However, with the rise of apps like Tinder and the growing popularity of websites like OKCupid, more young people are turning to online dating as a means of meeting people.
A lot of people groan at the mention of “Tinder” – yet so many people have the app.
Why the sudden change?
With the huge increase in use of handheld devices, we spend more time looking at a screen than the person across from us. Aside from that, everyone is busier, as technology has created pathways for new jobs, assignments, and various other time-consuming opportunities . Most people are just trying to get through their day, and thus – there’s not much opportunity to meet anyone outside of your existing circle.
So I decided to do a little sleuthing. A lot of people groan at the mention of “Tinder” – yet so many people have the app. So I posted a Facebook status asking if any of my friends would tell me about their online dating experiences. I expected to get a couple of responses, but I was beyond surprised at the number of people who came forward to tell me about their experiences – and their stories were great. I’m going to tell a couple of my favorites here.
He now plays for the Giants, which is like, kind of a bitter pill. He was a nice guy, but not a lot of depth.
Me: So why did you decide to use Tinder?
K: I was on Tinder after my last serious breakup.
Me: It’s the rebound machine.
K: I basically did it because I felt like I had met everyone I could possibly meet through my current circles and was uncomfortable with the idea of “putting myself out there” (whatever that means).
Me: Did you go on any dates?
K: So I met a guy that was in town with the Rivercats, we went to lunch, hit it off, spent all weekend together, but it didn’t really work out because of the distance and he was very detailed about his exes which made me feel weird. He now plays for the Giants, which is like, kind of a bitter pill. He was a nice guy, but not a lot of depth. The guy I was messaging on Tinder right after that though is my current boyfriend.
Me: Do you ever find it harder to trust in a relationship because of the fact that you met on Tinder?
K: Not at all. But I think of it had been the baseball player I was currently dating I would feel more uncomfortable. The guy I’m dating now was really upfront about how right after we met and started really seeing each other he stopped going on Tinder because it shows you when the person was last on, and he didn’t want me to go on Tinder and see that he’d been on it.
I think if I had been with the baseball player though I would be nervous that he was still scanning the roster, so to speak, in other cities he travelled to. We only talked for a few weeks but it subconsciously bugged me a little for sure because I teased him about his other “road baes” that he met on Tinder. These weren’t real, but I wouldn’t have brought it up if I wasn’t at least a little insecure about it. But let me be real: I went on Tinder not expecting anything serious. I don’t know if anyone goes on Tinder expecting the love of their life. My goal was to meet new people, maybe have some good sex, and to learn more about myself in the process. What ended up happening was totally outside the realm of my imagination, but I’m really, really happy that I gave this guy a chance because he has turned out to be one of the most incredible people I have ever met. It kind of sucks that we met on Tinder because there’s a total stigma against it. We made up a few different stories about how we met to tell his friends (we’re seeing if they figure out that we told them each different stories) and everyone else we say we just met through mutual friends. But honestly I wouldn’t change it.
I ran across his ad.. and it was so down to earth and I was single at that time, so I figured, well why the heck shouldn’t I respond?
S: Hey I met Clark on Craigslist personals. Does that count?
Me: Totally. I haven’t heard any of those yet.
S: I was browsing CL for shits and giggles. I decided to click on the personals tab and started reading through all the posts. Some were sooooo ridiculous! I probably peed my pants laughing at the insane ones. However, I ran across his ad.. and it was so down to earth and I was single at that time, so I figured, well why the heck shouldn’t I respond? So I did. And now he’s my fiancé!
Me: That’s crazy. I love it. How was your first meeting?
S: We met at a Starbucks on my break from school. I was super nervous and talked so fast. Faster than I already do. I’m surprised he could understand what I was saying. We sat there and talked for about an hour, then I went a drive with him. We had been texting/emailing/talking on the phone for a few weeks prior to meeting. We drove around tower looking at all the cute houses. Clark tells the story that he knew I was THE ONE when he met me. I wasn’t as quickly set as he was.
Me: Were you ever scared to meet someone you had found on CL?
S: Absolutely. I’ve heard horror stories. That’s why I picked a public place to meet.
Most of the Tinder dates that I go on either end after the first date, become friendships, or friends with benefits for a time.
Me: So did you meet your current boyfriend on Tinder?
O: No, actually. We met in high school, but we’re in an open relationship, so my Tinder experience is a bit different than single life.
Me: How do you fit Tinder into the open relationship aspect? Do you set boundaries or is it completely open?
O: So we put in our “About Me” that we’re in an open relationship. That way, it’s clear to anyone who matches with him or me that we aren’t looking for a long term relationship. All open relationships have their own boundaries, but my partner and I are fairly relaxed about what we’re comfortable with. So Tinder matches usually go on dates with me to hang out. Then we go from there. A big component of our relationship is communication, so my partner and I let each other know when we’re going on a date to ensure that we’re both still comfortable with our arrangement.
Me: Have you had any crazy experiences?
O: Hahaha I haven’t had any wild experiences, to be honest. Most of the Tinder dates that I go on either end after the first date, become friendships, or friends with benefits for a time. I did spend the night at someone’s house across the Bay, though! But he was very nice and it was a good experience.
Me: How do you decide whether or not you want to meet someone?
O: Well, it’s weird because you would figure that matching people would lead to meeting up, but I don’t know! Most of the time, I wait for first messages. If I’m really attracted to someone and think that we would get along well based off of their profile (it’s all pretty shallow, I suppose) then I’ll message first. If I like the conversation, I’ll suggest we meet up. Or vice versa.
Things officially got serious when we went out and bought a 1,000 piece puzzle together.
Me: So you met your current girlfriend online – which platform did you use?
L: OK Cupid.
Me: Were you at all hesitant to meet in person?
L: Yeah I guess. Never super excited to go on internet dates. They tend to feel like job interviews.
Me: So I’m guessing you were pleasantly surprised?
L: I mean, she was a funny and spontaneous conversationalist, who didn’t rely on the suggested talking points: What’s your job? Where do you live? Where are you from? etc etc.
Me: So how many dates until you made it official?
L: Um, we moved pretty quick. We hung out like four times in the first week. Then I went to Italy and she watched my cat. Things officially got serious when we went out and bought a 1,000 piece puzzle together. I think that was like week four.
Those first three dates went okay in the beginning, but eventually we just kind of stopped talking.
E: I’ve been on three Tinder dates, then the person I’m kinda exclusively dating now I did technically meet on Tinder! Those first three dates went okay in the beginning, but eventually we just kind of stopped talking. First two dates were pretty awkward and the last one was good but we just didn’t click as well.
Me: So if the three dates you went on didn’t end well, how did you meet your current boyfriend?
E: I met him on Tinder and we talked for a while, but ended up not going on a date or anything, but then we actually met in person at a training session for work!
Me: Wow! Do you guys have any mutual friends? Or was it a complete coincidence?
E: I didn’t know we had mutual friends at the time but his roommate actually went to my high school! So I found out later we had a mutual friend!
Me: Do you think people have a certain connotation with online dating? Or do you think Tinder has become so mainstream that almost everyone our age has had experiences with it?
E: Definitely, people definitely think of online dating as far as apps go as just for hook ups. And if someone our age went on a real dating site it would probably be considered weird. Tinder I think is so mainstream that yes, almost everyone in our generation has used it.
If there’s anything I learned from talking to people about online dating, it’s that it may not be such the joke that people make it out to be. Apparently, you might just find your future spouse.
Do you have any online dating experiences? Have you met your boyfriend or girlfriend online?