In my two months on Tinder, I have met exactly 3 types of men. I'd like to list them for you here:
1. The ones who are on Tinder instead of doing the real work of seeing a mental health professional... the ones who are looking for women to save them or soothe them. Either way, I am left thinking (and in several instances saying to them), "Buddy, I think you need to get yourself to a hospital," instead of the normally anticipated, "Where can we meet for coffee?"
In 8 weeks, this exact interaction happened 3 times... we would match and start texting back and forth. But, within 5 minutes this seemingly healthy individual would start to implode via text, revealing their deepest hurts and addictions. And then, just as fast, they disappear, which leaves me wondering if any of these men are still alive. While, I sincerely pray for their well-being, I cannot date them.
2. The ones who appear to be working at the nearby Air Force Base, but are actually stationed in far flung cities like Kabul or the Sudan. These men, (there have been at least 10 in 8 weeks) start texting at all hours of the night expecting instant responses and interactions. They also expect me to commit to long term, exclusive relationships with them, sight unseen. They have each said something to the effect of, "I found your blog, and God told me we are supposed to get married."
Does this scare the living daylights out of anyone else? First of all, I am not an object to be commanded into compliance. I am a human. A female human who will not make commitments to men she has never made eye contact with... even if it is in the name if God.
Side note: If this message was from God, I think God is big enough to speak to us both... this call from God would be mutual. I am not knocking God's ability to speak to anyone. I am saying that invoking God's name because this guy reads my blog does not make me stand up and listen. It does make me block him from all future contact because it feels like I'm being harassed.
3. The ones who use Tinder to fill up their social calendars instead of forming real friendships. These are the guys that I meet for first dates and realize almost instantly, this guy is bored, didn't want to be alone tonight, and I will probably not be hearing from him again. He might be fun, and successful, and live in my neighborhood, but he is clearly not here to get to know me.
While these short meetings are not terrible (compared to examples 1 and 2), they are not fruitful either, because we are not here for the same reasons. I realize, not every first date is going to be great. In fact, most will be mediocre at best. And sometimes we just don't click. I understand that. I was using Tinder to meet new people who were interested in actual real-life relationships... This dating thing feels like way too much work.
After doing a little research, I am not the only one who feels this way. I found that this phenomena of Dating App exhaustion is a real thing. According to Julie Beck in her article, The Rise of Dating-App Fatigue, she says this:
"Dating sites and apps promise to save you time. An actual date still takes pretty much the same amount of time that it always has, so where the apps cut corners is in the lead-up.
A Tinder spokesperson told me in an email that while the app doesn't lessen the time it takes to build a relationship, it has "made the first step super easy—we get you in front of someone with an efficiency and ease that you couldn't before.”
But getting as many people in front of your eyeballs as fast as possible doesn’t end up saving time at all. “I have women saying that they spend 10 to 15 hours a week online dating, because that’s how much work goes into producing one date,” Wood says.
So if there’s a fundamental problem with dating apps, one baked into their very nature, it is this: They facilitate our culture’s worst impulses for efficiency in the arena where we most need to resist those impulses. Research has shown that people who you aren’t necessarily attracted to at first sight, can become attractive to you over time, as you get to know them better. Evaluating someone’s fitness as a partner within the span of a single date—or a single swipe—eliminates this possibility."
Beck also spends a good portion of her article taking about the perception of too many options and how paralyzing this can become. I mean, apps like Tinder and others make it seem like there are always available people wanting to meet you, making a choice to meet one particular person can make us feel like we are missing out on all the others. This way of thinking stunts our ability to choose just one.
So, the reason I deleted my Tinder profile is this:
Well, first of all, I am exhausted. I need a break. Tinder was giving me a distinct Seinfeld attitude about dating. But, more than that, I feel like there has to be a better way.
While this clip makes me laugh, I don't want to be a person who walks around with this attitude... I feel like this is the attitude that makes people undateable. I was raised in a house where you weren't allowed to complain unless you could come up with ways to fix the problem... and at least one of them had to be a solution that did not cost any money.
Anyway, the thing I am learning about myself, as I interact with all these men online, is that I really like my life. I love my friends, my church, my community. I feel blessed to have people in my life that are really healthy. I am wired for relationships. We all are. But, I was using Tinder as a tool for introductions that were taking me away from my community. There has to be a better way.
In Priscilla Pine's recent article, What Comes after Tinder, she discusses this trend away from online dating... she did her research and found that most women are looking for ways to make more introductions in person. So, here again, I'm not the only one.
But what can we do?
I'm not here to transform dating. Dating can be really rough on everyone. And, don't get me started on what the Church has to say about dating... that's another blog post entirely. And it will probably get me into a whole lot of trouble so stay tuned!
Here's what I can do:
I can get over myself. It takes a certain amount of courage and risk to sign up for a dating profile, but not half as much risk as saying to my friends, "Listen, I need your help... I want you to think of at least one person you could set me up with... let's throw a game night or something." This kind of vulnerability is tough to muster up, but could be the thing that allows for relationships to bloom out of the place I already know and love, my own community.
So, if you've received a random message from me about setting me up, I wasn't joking and you should consider yourself on my team... Let's make this happen.
And, if you are reading this and feeling like you are in the same boat as me, I hope you find the courage to really put yourself out there in a healthy way. As always, I love to hear from you. So, feel free to share, comment, email...
Over the past 2 months, while not reading Tinder messages, I've heard from so many of you, from all over the world. It just brightens my day!
This is Not the End,