Reflections of an online dater

I am an avid user of online dating apps. I’ve tried them all, but the ones I stick to are Tinder and Bumble. A very naïve Maria started with Tinder a few years back, yet I never really fancied going any further than the casual conversation because #MenAreTrash.

Yet I am happy to say that after trying and failing, and trying, and semi-succeeding, they are not all bad.

I’ve been on many dates, well, “drinks”, the number one meeting choice for online daters, that turn into hook-ups. Some were bad… really bad, but there were others that were pretty amazing. And I don’t mean just the sex. My habit (because it is definitely a habit by now) of online dating has taught me so much. Not only about the world, but most importantly about myself.

The first guy I matched with that wanted to meet, let’s call him Ben, was looking for a quick hook-up but I didn’t want that at the time. And I didn’t know how to communicate that to him. So I did the classic ignore-until-he-eventually-stops-messaging. His last message to me was:

“You know if you don’t want this is fine, but don’t leave me hanging like this”.

Fast forward to a few months ago when a similar situation happened. I was looking for a one-night thing and he, let’s call him Riley, had the place to himself. I can’t remember if it was good or not, mostly because I was in a vulnerable emotional state at the time. But maybe there’s my answer.

What’s important is, though, that he wanted to see me again and I didn’t feel the same way. This time I sent Riley a “lovely” message explaining myself, which he ultimately understood and we both moved on. What I am trying to say is that you shouldn’t hide from how you feel. If he doesn’t take it well then it is his issue, you were honest with him and with yourself.

And this is a crucial lesson I have learned from online dating – it applies to pretty much everything in life.

The one thing that bothers me the most, and it is why most of my ‘things’ haven’t gone past a few encounters, is when that honesty is not reciprocated. And it usually happens because that other person can’t even be honest with themselves. If that is the case, my best advice is to walk away. Give them space. And give yourself some of that as well, because chances are, you are messing your head trying to figure out what those mixed signals mean. As selfish living beings, we humans tend to trace everything back to us when most of the time it isn’t us.

It’s funny. Before I met Will (whom I was with in one of those ‘situationships’ until recently), I would have probably said that online dating is great for the very sought after, casual, no-strings-attached kind of thing. And that if you wanted to be emotionally invested in someone then go and look somewhere else.

I still sort of believe that, but things with him were so clear from the beginning that it was easy to put emotions in the way. Until it wasn’t, however that isn’t Bumble’s doing, it is ours as sensible beings. That doesn’t mean it is the end of the world, even though it might feel like it is.

If your Will needs space to sort himself out, give it to him, just like I did. Just know that you might not be there waiting when he does. Because there are plenty of fish in the sea of dating, of online dating at least.

By Maria Campuzano