The “But we just started talking…” Dating App Struggle

Author: Maria Pappas, The Dating Game

A couple of months ago, I was exchanging messages with a guy on Bumble. To make things easy, let’s just call him Mike. Maybe two or three days after I started the conversation, Mike and I were messaging when all of a sudden he started giving me one word answers. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but finally he apologized and told me that his family had to put their dog down that night and so he was upset.

Rightfully so, right? Yet for some reason all I could think about was how I felt about the situation. And by that, I mean that I was sincerely confused about how to feel.

I mean, I was sorry that he had to go through that. But I also thought, “I know you from Bumble.” Like, are we allowed to hit these not-so-easy topics before we’ve even met up in person? When exactly are we allowed to show that we are upset? What’s the right medium to do so? With all of the different ways that millennials communicate, it’s hard to be sure about any of this.

Fast forward a bit later, and I’m talking to another guy on Bumble. Let’s call this one Nick. Nick tells me a few short hours after beginning the conversation that his cousin was shot and is in critical condition at the hospital.

Of course I offered words of consolation for this terrible situation that he was dealing with, but what could I do? All I could offer were words of comfort via a dating app… not the most meaningful thing, ya know?

My conversations with both Mike and Nick, for the record, have fizzled out. And, although this might sound bad, I don’t think that this is in any small part due to the fact that they revealed so much so soon.

If it were a close friend going through a situation like this, I would want to help them handle it if I could, and make sure that they were okay. But I also know so much more about close friends: how they deal with tragedy, how supportive their families are, and that they’ve helped me over the years, to name a few.

The fact was, I barely knew Mike or Nick, so even my deepest words of comfort and sympathy could not mean much. They were just words. I didn’t know them well enough for the words to be any more than that because there isn’t a relationship behind them. I couldn’t provide them with the proof, the actions, or… anything really… to let them know that I meant what I said.

I also felt bad for the fact that I didn’t feel I could truly or fully sympathize with them or understand what they were going through.

Of course, we can’t control life’s circumstances, and we have to be honest with one another about what is going on — that things aren’t perfect, that we struggle, that things are happening below the surface that no one knows about. But it’s more difficult for others to deal with those situations when they don’t know you.

There is something to be said about online datingdating apps, and dating in general through these stories, though. Our conversations with one another can range from the most general small talk conversations, to these deep, meaningful ones about what you want out of life and what’s going on in yours.

There has to be discernment in what we share, though, and how we respond. Remember the medium that you are using, and think about what you choose to share.

Taking the Online Dating Plunge is Scary

Author: Nicole Chininis, The Dating Game

If you’re anything like me, your experience with dating (or lack thereof) has not been the easiest thing in the world. So much so, that people around me started to get nervous.

“Are you trying hard enough?”

“You know, all it takes is to say yes to a date.”

“Are you meeting people?”

And the inevitable…

“HAVE YOU TRIED ONLINE DATING?!”

I’ve been asked that question more times than I can count. Honestly, I know people never meant it in a negative way, but like, duh, of course I have considered online dating and apps. Who on God’s green earth hasn’t either heard of online dating or tried it? I understand people’s concern, but there were a couple reasons why I was hesitant about it until recently. 

I wasn’t ready
Up until about a year ago, I wasn’t ready to put myself out there like that. I have been burned by the dating world in dramatic and tremendously hurtful ways. That proverbial rug had been ripped from underneath me too many times right when I had made my heart ready and open to someone. The thought of freely putting my heart on the market to potentially get ripped apart did not seem appealing. I was scared and I wasn’t ready.

I knew of no success
Yes, my friends were telling me all of these stories of people they knew who had met people online, but I had not personally known anyone to have a successful relationship due to online dating and apps. I didn’t trust the process. I had no confirmation. And I had nothing positive to entice me to want to join the online dating world.  

I wanted a real life meet
I think the idea of being able to potentially just meet someone by chance in real life made it seem less scary, and I would be able to read them a little bit more. Obviously, that was not necessarily the case because I had never successfully done that, as evidenced by my experiences. I never judged anyone for doing online dating or for meeting someone that way. I never really understood why people lied if they met their partner online and said that they met in the grocery store (seriously, what is that?) However, I couldn’t let go of this idea of the real life “meet cute.” I just wasn’t ready to give that up. 

I’m stubborn
If people tell me to do something, I most likely won’t want to do it. Even if they mean well, I really just have to come into things on my own most of the time. I truly value people’s opinions and I like to talk things through if I’m having an issue, but the more that people asked me if I wanted to do online, the more I did not want to do it. What did they know anyway? I was tired of talking about it and tired of people pushing me to do something I wasn’t interested in. Everyone just didn’t understand.

When I joined, I kept it from everyone
I got to a point when I decided to just dip my toes in, see what was out there. It felt great to get there on my own. I didn’t tell anyone though, because I thought that if people knew I would get even more pressure from people to tell them what was going on, or who knows. By keeping it to myself, I wasn’t setting any expectations for myself or for others, and I could stop at any point if I was uncomfortable. I did something very non-committal and downloaded an app instead of diving right into Match.com, and it was a great decision.

And of course, I learned from all of this
I learned a lot about myself. Primarily, I learned what it meant to do something for myself. I generally am open and truly willing to go out of my way to do things for other people. You need help moving? I’m your girl. You need to talk about something? I’m here for you. You need someone to pick you up? I’m so happy to do so. I love helping and caring for others, but with something like this I needed to do it on my own time. I realized, even though the pain of my experiences hasn’t gone away, what it felt like to have my heart open for experiences.

 

Baby steps can feel like climbing a mountain. Some people believe that online dating may not be a big deal because everyone is doing it, for others that’s not the case. While you may value encouragement, until you feel ready to take the plunge — keep on climbing that mountain on your own time.

I’ve Never Dated Before, and Here is My Admission

Author: Emmanuel Pepis, The Dating Game

I’m about to admit something that may or may not be surprising: I’ve never been on an actual date in my adult life.

I can sit here and fill the page with stories of failed dating attempts in my past, but I won’t travel down that road. Sure, there are girls I’ve really liked. Sure, I’ve tried to set up something. Every time, though, either plans fell through or something seemingly out of the ordinary happened.

Because of this, for the last few years, I haven’t even tried to ask a girl out at all.

I don’t want to make it sound like I absolutely need to have a relationship to make me feel complete. You don’t. But I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t suck to be lonely sometimes. To not have someone to share your heart with and to not have companionship is not a fun feeling.

It can also bring good old-fashioned doubt into your mind. I’ve questioned myself, my personality, if I’m doing something wrong. I’ve blamed myself for far too long, and that’s a big reason I’m making this admission and writing to anybody who may be feeling the same way I am.

Trust me on this, though — continue to be the best version of yourself you can be. Continue to put yourself out there and let others see who you really are.

You’ll get frustrated. There will be moments where things won’t work out when you want them to. That’s okay. Don’t blame yourself when someone turns you down or when someone cancels on a date in the eleventh hour. I know the last sentence is easier said than done and dating can make the heart fragile.

I’ve put myself through that in the past. I have doubted my own personality when I shouldn’t. And learning from all this (admittedly the hard way) has put me in a better place now. Sure, I still have days when those negative thoughts creep in but for the most part, I can deal with it better now.

This may sound cliché, but love sometimes happens when and where we least expect it. Though it may be easy to get frustrated, continue to live your life each day. Continue to strive for your goals while keeping your eyes open. These are things I have had to repeat to myself and things that some great friends have helped me out with over time.

Not everyone desires to find a partner and I fully understand. And if you’ve never been on a date, either, that’s truly okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s nothing wrong with you. And you’re not the only one. However, I will say to all of you, that you deserve true love. Don’t settle for anything less.

We all deserve to look at ourselves in the best light possible and appreciate the little things that make us who we are. And it’s those things that will lead to the right person coming into your life: whether that’s tomorrow, next week, next year, or five years from now.

What I Learned After I Changed Myself for a Guy

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, The Dating Game

If I’d had the benefit of hindsight at 16 years old, I never would have tried to change to become more of who he wanted.

You know the type of person I’m talking about, too. The person you thought you could never live without. The one who was your whole world. The first person who you thought of as soon as you woke up. The person you saw behind your eyelids as you fell asleep.

It’s possible you were together, and it’s possible you thought that you were, and it’s possible that you weren’t at all, and you knew it. But that didn’t matter. Not then. Even if you weren’t “official,” you wanted to be. Even if that happened five years down the road, you’d wait.

Of course, none of us have the benefit of hindsight before a situation eventually terminates… or, when the person you love turns out not to love you at all. When you face the harsh reality that the years of waiting and wanting and pining was all a lie.

All of the clothes that you bought to “make him like you” were for nothing. All of the time you spent educating yourself on his favorite things was time wasted. The crash diet was stupid, the way you cut your hair just wasn’t “you,” and you even managed to alienate some of your friends who, rightfully so, were tired of the whole act.

What’s important following any of those situations is that you learn from it, and learn not to do it again. You understand your mistakes. And you figure out some… “stuff.”

You learn that if you were truly his whole world, he’d never want you to change
“You should wear that sweater more often.”

“I don’t like your hair that color, why would you dye it that way?” 

“What were you doing talking to so-and-so?” 

You get the picture, right? If he loves you, he’ll accept you for who you are, not who he wants you to be. He won’t care what type of sweater you’re wearing, or judge the style of your hair. He’ll love you, and all of you.

You learn to love your own sense of style
You celebrate the moment that you can toss those neon floral skirts that were great in theory, but just so awful in practice. You trade them in for the studded jean shorts you love so dearly and finally, finally feel comfortable in your own skin again.

You’re on high alert for the same types of people
You know the signs. You know the warnings. And you’ll listen to them this time, you won’t just shrug them off. You’ll never make the same mistake twice, because you’re done being anyone but yourself.

You rediscover your personality, and your true interests
No, you really don’t like eating lunch at that fancy restaurant. You had no interest in watching him play golf with his fancy friends. And probably most importantly, you realized that you were letting your voice become quiet, because of him. You ignored your own beliefs, because they weren’t his beliefs. You ignored the things you truly enjoyed, the music you loved, the subjects you loved talking about, to focus on the things he enjoyed. You tended not to share your opinions, because you knew he wouldn’t like them or just make fun of them. And you even ignored the friends he didn’t like.

You finally understand that no one is worth changing for 
You’re the only you in the world. And you know what? No one can — or should try to — take that away from you. The right person, who will love you for you, is worth waiting for. And don’t settle for anything less.

The Life of a Hopeless Romantic, As Told By Memes

Author: Kerrin Frappier, The Dating Game

For hopeless romantics out there, dating and relationships can be overwhelming experiences.

Hopeless romantics see life through adorable, rose-hued glasses. They love the ideas and practices of cuddling, planning romantic getaways and late night conversations about the future. But life can also be tough for hopeless romantics, as the dating pool may not live up to their expectations (not that it lives up to any of our expectations to be honest).

Whether you are a hopeless romantic living in your own version of your favorite rom com or you’re single and sick of mingling amongst people who do not appreciate grand gestures and sweet talk — these memes are here to comfort you and above all else, make you laugh… maybe even at yourself. Because if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

 

Being single as a hopeless romantic just sucks. How can you be romantic if you have no one to be romantic with?

 

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of doing this! Hopeless romantics long for companionship and partnership but are more likely to be surrounded by a desire for hook-ups and “hanging out,” which makes dating even harder. Which is why many nights are spent watching other people’s romance, like Jack and Rose’s, and screaming at the television at Rose for not moving over on the raft.

 


Dating is even more difficult when you tend to fall fast and hard for the first person that makes significant eye contact with you. This, in turn, can scare away potential suitors. Family and friends of hopeless romantics may fear that they will get their oversized hearts crushed by someone not worthy of their deepest affections. 

 

Hopeless romantics are realists though. A true hopeless romantic will save their devotion and thoughtfulness for true love. That is truly what is means to be a hopeless romantic — to believe in the existence of a soulmate and long-lasting love and not settling for anything less magical and wonderful. Hopeless romantics may be many things, but even lovers will stick up for themselves.

 

Hopeless romantics reveal their truest feelings in all the little things they do — picking up a treat you enjoy, watching your favorite TV show without complaint, learning to cook a favorite meal, allowing you to vent after a rough day… the love is in the details. They don’t care if you go through the drive-thru at McDonald’s or if you dine at a five-star restaurant. It is truly about the quality of time you spend with one another.

 

You know when hopeless romantics discuss their feelings for you that it is an honest expression and one that comes with no strings attached. You can be sure they hear your voice in every love song and think about you endlessly throughout the day. For a hopeless romantic, the greatest gift is to be committed to someone and to share everyday life with them. You truly will be perfect for them. 

 

No matter how difficult it is being a hopeless romantic in the days of Tinder and Snapchat, some people simply refuse to let go of images of kissing in a rainstorm or nights spent by a crackling fire. As it should be! Shouldn’t that give everyone some hope? That there’s still people out there wanting romance, and striving for it? We can all use some romance, can’t we?