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.

Your Teenage “Dates” Are Still Fun as Adults

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, The Dating Game

In June, I will have graduated from high school 10 years ago. High school was not the greatest time of my life so in some ways I’m happy to be that far removed from it. On the other hand, that timeline makes me feel old –- and slightly nostalgic for some of the weird things that our millennial generation did as teenagers – like putting up emo away messages and updating our MySpace profiles and watching TRL after school, just to name a few.

We had a few interesting ideas for dates as teenagers as well. But, we don’t necessarily have to kiss those dating standbys good-bye just because we’ve reached adulthood. Here’s a few “adultier” twists on old standbys.

Ice Skating/Roller Skating
Yes, we’ve already talked about ice-skating, but let’s elaborate a bit more. There’s no age limit for ice-skating or roller-skating, even if you’re just not good at it. In fact, that’s kind of what makes it fun. Plus, you can wear comfortable clothes when you go, and who doesn’t like that?! Unlike your teenage years, comfort is welcomed at the ice rink or the roller rink in adulthood –- for both you and your significant other.

The Carnival
Do you remember what it felt like to go to the carnival as a couple? You were on top of the world, and you still can be. If you really want to remember what it felt like, don your favorite ‘00s trendy summer fashions when you go.

Friday Night Lights
Did you ever go to the big game on a Friday night with your high school boyfriend or girlfriend? Local high school games are usually open to anyone. Pack your school mascot blanket, warm up a thermos of hot apple cider (but the spiked version you couldn’t bring along when you were under age 21) and prepare to relive the glory days.

Mall Rats
Come on, you know you were a mall rat as a teenager. There’s no stopping you now –- and, believe it or not, both you and your significant other can wander around the mall without buying anything. Take it a step further and create a mall scavenger hunt to do together.

There’s Always the Diner
If you live in an area where diners are plentiful, you know where we’re going with this. We spent our high school years with the running joke that no matter what you’d do, you’d end up at the diner –- whether with your friends or your significant other. Head to the diner and take no prisoners… order the milkshake, the waffles and the black and white cookie.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few of the best places to go on a date as a teenager. What were some of your old standbys?

Best Group Activities to Do With Your Significant Other

Author: Kristin Frappier, The Dating Game

We know, group outings are really awkward.

Choruses of “what do you want to do?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” are commonplace. Now, try throwing your significant other – and the significant others of your friends – into this type of situation.

What are you going to do? How am I going to make everyone happy? Can we save the evening? 

While we can’t guarantee that they will keep everyone happy, we have a few ideas for some out of the ordinary group outings right here that will bring new meaning to the group date.

A dinner party- with a funky drink of choice and a fun meal.
A cool twist on getting together at a restaurant. This could bring a level of individuality to your next event, because every group like something a little bit different.

A game night- get away from the devices and go old-school – play a selection of your favorite board games!
This keeps everyone on their toes with a combination of strategy and teamwork. You know that Monopoly game will go on for hours, but will create even bigger memories.

Hibachi- meal and entertainment all wrapped up into one.
Visit the ever-popular Benihana, or a local favorite – just be prepared to make a reservation!

A movie night, because after all, who doesn’t love popcorn and snacks!
With so many services like Netflix and Hulu who needs to wait in a long line at the movies! Of course, check out our lists of movies from before we were born, Bollywood movies and sports movies to get some more ideas.

Bowling, as a way to introduce friendly competition into your social group.

Go on a road trip!
You don’t have to drive far. Take a day trip to a local attraction- as a way to add adventure, new place and chance to make new memories. And don’t forget to plug in your phone for some tunes – our list of best classic rock playlists even includes one called “Classic Rock Road Trip.”

Dinner theater adds diversity to everything.

Paint and Vino
Ah, the ever-popular paint night! You can do it as a group, but everyone’s painting comes out a little different. Everyone takes home a one-of-a-kind piece. Paint nights are easier to find, too – just check out Muse Paintbar.