I’m Back On Dating Apps, And I Have Thoughts

by Dale Arden Chong


I’m Back On Dating Apps, And I Have Thoughts

A lot has changed since March (a massive understatement, I know). I’ll spare you details on how every part of this year has rocked the world, especially on a larger scale. But allow me to tell you about something a little more personal: romance. You may already know a little about my recent history. I dated someone until I didn’t, swore off dating apps for half a year, and not long after, met someone new. The early days of 2020 put me into a rhythm with said someone, but then 2020 lost the rhythm of its own. Before I knew it, I was single again. Now? There’s a whole new set of dating challenges.

During a global pandemic, the opportunities to meet new people — romantic or otherwise — are slim to none. And living a socially distanced life isn’t exactly making it easier. When month four of quarantine rolled into month five, I realized that finding love isn’t just about waiting for it to happen to you. And to me, that meant no holding back (well, within reason). I agreed to a blind phone date (still waiting on that one). I considered letting my parents set me up. And after mulling over it, I decided to jump onto a dating app. To my surprise, I don’t hate it.

It’s no secret that dating apps are rough. For me, juggling multiple prospects and conversations is mentally draining. But something inside me was convinced that this time might be worth a genuine try. So, on a Friday night, with the moral support of my roommate and two glasses of wine, I downloaded the app.

l know that they’ll be talking to me — the real me.

Naturally, my anxieties rolled in: How do I keep a conversation going? Am I saying the right thing? Asking the right questions? Is this flirting? I approached conversations the way I thought they should be done — give a little, leave more to the imagination — in hopes it would reel in the ones I thought I wanted to talk to. Soon, however, I abandoned that approach in favor of my regular habits (i.e. long-winded tangents about literally anything). And perhaps that’s what I should’ve been looking for the entire time.

When I gave up dating altogether, I learned more about who I am and what I want in a partner. Now, I’m discovering who I am with potential partners. And ultimately, I just want to be me. It seems so obvious now.

Dating apps widen the pool to include people you might not have otherwise encountered. It also makes it easy to control how we want to be perceived. Behind the screen, it’s so easy to slip into who we think we want to be. The night I created my profile my roommate asked me why I wouldn’t use a certain photo. I justified my choice, saying, “It’s not something I would put on my Instagram. It’s not me.” But at some point, someone will know who I am — beyond my Instagram posts and the answers on my dating profile. Why not show them that up front? 

I have no idea where any of these conversations will go, if they go anywhere at all. I’m taking it really slow with no rush to meet anyone. But if or when I do decide to get together (or at least FaceTime) with someone, I know that they’ll be talking to me — the real me. And right now, that’s all I can ask for.

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