Say what you will about Tinder, but there’s a reason a lot of us are still using the dating app, and why new people are trying it everyday. For me, two years into my Tindering tryst, I’ve had my own highs and lows, love affairs and breakups with the addictive swiping game. It’s been deleted and restarted at least three times. Like a lover itself, sometimes you want to spoon the thing. Sometimes you want it to crawl away, never to show its tindering face again.
Back on the app after a few months away I realized some of the mistakes I’d made when playing it before. Had hindsight not been available, it would have been so easy to jump back into the typical bad habits of Tinder dating aka the cycle of instant relationships.
Tinder is the breeding ground for instant relationships.
We’ve gotten so wrapped up in the game of swiping (swipe right if you like, and left if you pass) and the instant thrill that a match and subsequent texts with a stranger bring. We type, type, type for three days straight sure that this perfect person is the one! We imagine all the ways our happiness could be compounded exponentially. We think about this person’s life, and romanticized how they might look waking up on a lazy Sunday morning.
Sometimes we meet these people and we find that there’s no chemistry right off. Sometime we learn that maybe they aren’t ready for any kind of relationship, but would rather be dating all of Raleigh because they’ve been married for the last twenty years. Sometimes we find out that they don’t really like kids or that they’re still married or that they work so much that between your schedules you’d never see each other. Sometimes we find out that they work weekends, so just scratch lazy, Sunday morning canoodling.
Just like that the instant relationship is over and we’re left irritated by the letdown, and peeved by the wasted time.
Social media dating, and Tinder in particular, has made it a lot easier to meet people. But between the speed, the swiping ease, the numbers of matches and the instant relationships… your mind can get taken for a ride.
Please note… I’m writing from my perspective as a woman dating men. I do think all of this applies to both genders.
1. Do NOT ‘project!’
The dating definition of projecting is when your imagination gets ahead of reality and you begin to daydream your plans, your life, dare I say “your future” with Mr. Wonderful. It’s the number one killer to all new relationships and the reason for all of those web seminars and entrepreneurial business ventures set up to help us “catch” a mate. Fairytale thinking at its finest (thanks again, Disney).
STOP IT NOW!
The truth is that projecting happens because we’re yearning for someone to love. And that’s a wonderful thing. But you don’t really know this person you’re messaging, and if we asked the Universe for her opinion… actually… just give her a minute and she’ll tell you herself.
We don’t have control of anything but our own choices.
Stop the projecting and getting busy with your own life helps, which is what we all should be doing anyway.
2. My purpose on this planet is not to find a man.
It’s just not. My purpose is to be the best mom I can be. My purpose is to find joy in the things that make me happy, so that when life throws its bag of rotten eggs at me (or the Universe giggles), I can be balanced, handling what comes with some sort of strength and grace.
Everyone’s purpose is different. Focusing on it makes for a happier individual more ready to share something big, when and if it comes. Finding your purpose makes you a person who understands their worth. You have so much to give someone who wants to appreciate it. In the meantime, be busy doing what you love so that your worth comes from inside you and not from the guy or girl you have a date with next Tuesday.
2. Just because we had an awesome night, doesn’t mean I need to go all “How dare he still be on Tinder???!!!!” the next day.
Tinder is fun. Tinder is a game. If you want to play it then accept that it’s not all about you!
If the date is still tindering the morning after a most excellent meet up?
Maybe he’s talking to three other women that are really interesting, whom he might like to meet. Or maybe he has met them and they are still talking through the app. Maybe he really likes you, but after one date he isn’t projecting, rather living his own life!
This is good!
It’s exciting to meet someone new that we find attractive and want to spend our time with, but go back and look at number 1.
3. Zexy time does not equal a relationship.
There’re all kinds of rules about how we should or should not act when we meet someone new. Depending on who you go to for your dating advice, some think it’s an absolute no-no to get sexual in any way shape or form until some time has passed (three dates? five dates? marriage?).
The general question, then, is how can two people get to know each other if they jump into bed before they’ve given themselves the time?
The answer is they can’t!
Getting to know someone happens over time.
And sex does not equal a relationship.
What sex is, though, is one of our basic human needs, which shouldn’t be looked upon as a negative if it happens without a big courtship.
Going to bed with a person you just met means nothing more than (if you were lucky) having those needs met.
If you put the cart before the horse you have to understand that the next morning the horse might find himself more concerned with his other needs like getting horse food or going to work or getting to the gym. That has nothing to do with you. It doesn’t mean last night wasn’t great. It doesn’t mean he is making assumptions about the kind of person you are. It doesn’t mean more than you met (or tried to meet) a need together.
Horses need to be friends before they can ride off into the sunset.
Of course, if you feel badly about it or find yourself more emotionally invested when you get naked with a man, stop doing it.
You are responsible for you. This is your journey.
4. Women can be crazy, but men can be stupid (mars, venus, etc., etc.).
At a yoga class I attended a while back my teacher mentioned how she’d gone to a workshop with one of the great female yoga gurus today. She told a story of how her guru was full of light and joy, but at the moment she needed to face a hard situation (aka a room full of people who wouldn’t quiet down), she flared, quickly showing the side to herself that didn’t have time for the nonsense.
“The Goddess of many faces!” was the punchline to the story. And an example of how even the most enlightened have sides that sometimes seem to oppose their usual, overall amazingness.
We’re all human, and capable of anything. I don’t know why married people sign up for dating websites or why others lie about their intentions. As I say to my kids, “It’s our job to use our powers for good over evil.” Making choices that represent our best selves is always the best way to go.
5. Keep perspective.
There are lots of fish in the sea and with an app like Tinder it seems the sea is large. There might be a swiping fishy who’d make a really great addition to your life, but it doesn’t really concern you. You have stop thinking about it and go about your own business.
Some of the bottom feeders aren’t on Tinder for the same reason as those of us who’d one day like to find a partner. And so navigating can seem a little rough at the start.
Some basic rules of thumb are…
a. If they ask for pictures of your body they might be trying to determine if you really are who you seem to be in your pictures. But keep in mind that a lot are looking for the “hook up” that’s become so rampant on Tinder it’s now a standard issue description (and the butt of many jokes) on profiles.
b. If they message you a hundred times a day it might be that they are still in instant relationship mode (it can be fun for a minute, but keep it in perspective).
c. If you don’t feel comfortable about something trust your intuition.
d. If something doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be. As long as no harm was done, it shouldn’t be a big deal.
e. Karma is a bitch.
A lot of us want something more and that’s why we keep the social media dating doors open. The idea that there’s someone out there who thinks we’re great and makes a nice addition to an already full life is terrific. The point of having a partner is to share and love each other and this life. When there are burdens, having a partner makes them a little easier to handle. But it’s when the joys happen that we find the magic. And in this mad, crazy world we all could use a little magic.