Should She Quit Tinder & OKCupid For Good?

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Single in Scandinaviawoman-on-Tinder
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Comment: Hey Moxie,

Your blog has been very helpful in my sometimes less-than successful navigation of online dating after I split up with my boyfriend four years ago. Thank you for all your advice; a lot of it has been an eye opener and has given me more of a spine.

I’m not going to lie to you – I had hoped to meet someone a little special by now and with my 28th birthday looming, I have friends and relatives both doing what I like to call the “circle of side-eye” at my lack of a plus one. Also… I feel lonely. I see my friends with boyfriends and I can’t help but feel a little diminished when I go to bed alone at night. I am trying my hardest to not let that get to me but I am being totally frank / honest with you.

I’ve been single for 4 years. I think two international changes of location have had a small factor in this, but some or most of it must be down to me considering the time span. I know I have flaws which I work on in my spare time (insecurity, tendency to be needy) but I have a few good things too (humour, try to be kind, I’m no supermodel but not a gargoyle either, I keep fit and healthy, good career in a creative field, I like art etc). I also try not to date ‘above my level’ (I read this on your blog early on) and will always show my harshest friend images to see if they are ‘too hot for me’ etc. I’d go so far as to say that I am scared to date someone I see as ‘out of my league’. I’m doing my best but there is clearly still room for improvement.

I recently deleted my Tinder account after a guy ghosted on me after 5 dates. I know that isn’t many, but I tend to get emotionally invested after I sleep with someone and I although I can now surmise he was just looking to get laid (although it really didn’t seem that way at the time, but ho hum) Which, ok, it was fun, but it meant my self esteem really got a knock. This isn’t the first time it has happened to me, and so I am taking a break on dating to collect my thoughts on it. I was particularly sorry about this one because he seemed to have a lot of qualities I appreciated and we had views, humour and interests in common. I’ll get over it, but after years of use I doubt I’ll go back to Tinder again. There really is something about it as a platform that encourages even the most reasonable men to behave a little less kindly.

My future strategy is to meet people through friends or parties and try to foster a friendship before making a romantic move. And to hold off having sex whilst I figure someone out. (Although I feel sometimes this is an impossible thing to know – sometimes dudes through no fault of their own get turned off after sex OR they’re just pulling player moves) I really resent the fact that I can’t ‘have sex like a man’ but after years of trying, you know what? Perhaps it just isn’t something my emotions will let me do. Hopefully that doesn’t make me any less of a feminist.

What I wanted to ask you was – what advice would you give someone of my age dating? How can I plug this feeling of loneliness, it sneaks up on me at times even though I’m in an exciting new country, meeting new friends and having a great time with my other interests (drawing, writing etc) Should I go back to Tinder and online dating, or continue to foster my interests in the hope that I’ll just bump into someone special? Or am I just going about this in a horrid way – I hope it is not weak to desire a boyfriend – and it isn’t like it is on my mind 24/7, but it does catch me off guard at times.

Hopefully this wasn’t too long.
Age: 27
City: Stockholm
State: Sweden

Tinder has been a dating game changer and upended online dating as a whole. Dating apps have made all things digital dating related extremely loosey goosey and encouraged people to invest the least amount of effort possible. Many users get so caught up in the matching “game” aspect of these apps that they forget they’re supposed to be there to meet people. People are now conditioned to just swipe left or right arbitrarily with very little thought invested. That’s why the flake factor is so high. People get so caught up in seeing how many matches they get that they don’t want to stop. The end result is less engagement overall. While online dating always involved some level of struggle, Tinder has exponentially increased the degree of difficulty and made people that much less accountable.

The first order of business here is that you need to start trusting your own instincts. It’s great that you have friends who will be honest with you, but you can’t drag them around with you everywhere you go. You need to wean yourself off of asking them what they think of things and make your own decisions. And remember something else: most women have no clue what men find physically attractive. So, while your friends might mean well, they could ultimately be doing more harm than good. They are not you. You know what sort of guy typically pays attention to you. Base your choices on your experiences.

You also need to stop beating yourself up because you’re not Super Independent Single Woman 100% of the time. You’re a human being with thoughts and emotions. You are not some impenetrable super hero. Of course you’re going to be spooked when a guy ghosts after sex. But the biggest mistake we make in that situation is presuming to know why a guy did what he did. You have no idea why he dropped off the face of the earth. Maybe he got back with an ex or his life got crazy or he died.  Or maybe he just decided, after 5 dates, that things weren’t clicking. Who knows? Our default reaction is to take these rejections personally, and often times they have very little to do with us. If you keep telling yourself you were just being used for sex, then that’s going to be your narrative and you’re going to become more and more afraid and ambivalent. As hurtful as it feels to be blown off like that, you have to develop a thick skin. Nowadays dating is Brutal with a capital B. People just leave. It’s scary.

There are two things every single person of any age needs in their dating arsenal. The first is a strong sense of who they are. The second is resilience. You have to know what you bring to the table and what your limitations and flaws are so that nobody can tell you otherwise. Self-awareness and social aptitude are crucial if you want to navigate the dating scene without blowing your brains out. Being able to bounce back even though your self-esteem is smarting is also critical.  Everybody gets ghosted. Everybody gets rejected. Everybody gets blown off. These experiences are universal. That’s was dating is now. You can not internalize these experiences so deeply that you develop analysis paralysis.

As for “having sex like a man”… that’s not a thing. That’s a concept invented by women. Men and women are both capable of having no strings sex. The difference is that women are programmed from an early age not to and that there’s something wrong with her if she does. You’re not a failure or an embarrassment to feminism because casual sex isn’t your thing. Some people like it. Some people don’t. You are not defective if sleeping with someone without commitment doesn’t work for you.

Now for the tougher question. How do you stave off the loneliness? I’m not sure you can. Loneliness is a natural emotion. It’s not a sign of weakness.  Like you said, it can sneak upon you. One thing I’ve learned in therapy is to be able to talk myself through those moments. I remind myself that this feeling is temporary and just how I am feeling today. I also try to be as kind to myself as possible in those weaker moments. When that voice in my head pops up and whispers, “See? Nobody wants you” I shoo it away by reminding myself that how I’m feeling in that moment isn’t real. It’s just a momentary lapse in confidence and it will pass. You have to clap back at yourself sometimes and put the discouraging and negative side of You in her place.

My advice is to stay on Tinder and continue to use online dating as a means to meet people as well as branch out socially and try to meet people offline. You have to go where the people are, and the people in your age bracket are on Tinder and OKCupid and Match. It’s fine to take a step back here and there to regroup, but don’t sit things for too long. You’ll psyche yourself out.

How do you guys handle it when someone you really like fades on you? Have you ever taking a dating break? Has

Thoughts?

Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)

@ATWYSingle

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12 Responses to “Should She Quit Tinder & OKCupid For Good?”

  1. mxf Says:

    I definitely take periodic breaks from online dating. The dating is usually more or less the same, so I watch for changes in my own responses to things – if I feel like I’m disproportionately frustrated or irritated by weird messages or disappointed if there wasn’t a spark with someone promising, I’ll assess if I need to step away for a few weeks. I’ll usually take that time to reach out to friends I haven’t seen in awhile, maybe fix something in my place I’ve been meaning to take care, plan a weekend trip, etc. It helps keep the focus on the fact that life is generally pretty full, with dating something I do on the side, not the other way around.

    As for the dreaded fade, there was one guy where I was pretty upset by it. And, ironically, I think it’s because I met him through friends, not online, so had a false sense of security that he would let me know if he wasn’t interested in dating anymore. It stayed with me for a bit because I had let my guard down and made assumptions about how we would handle it if it didn’t work out, and his approach was to set up a couple of potential future dates and then just stop calling. I cringed a little that I had to tell people who knew we’d gone out what happened, so it felt like a public rejection, but that part was just ego sting, not a great romantic loss. Dating is nothing if not humbling.

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  2. Lisa Says:

    I’m sorry that I can’t really articulate my thoughts on this letter very well. But I guess what I want to say is something like the LW seems to be approaching this all wrong…from a position of weakness and not from a position of empowerment. So many warning bells went off when I read her letter! If I can hear them in the two minutes it took me to read thru this, then surely men can and other women (who might otherwise be willing to introduce her to male friends, etc.) can, too.

    She sounds like a very intelligent woman, leading a dynamic, adventurous life, but comes across a bit of a sad sack.

    IDK the details and origins of all this but starters, but she needs to start seeing herself as a prize and not someone put here to pick up the crumbs.

    Regarding the recent fade – understand his actions are a poor reflection on him, his character, his integrity and his communication skills. Not on you. Not your problem to worry about (assuming you practiced safe sex).

    As far as the dating sites – try different ones. And continue to be sociable IRL (and make an effort to look good).

    Best wishes!

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  3. Fyodor Says:

    It sounds like she moved to Sweden not that long ago. It may be that she’ll have an easier time when she is more established and has a larger social network.

    Rather than giving up on online dating altogether, she might try some of the less transactionally oriented services. Is there a Match or eharmony, or equivalent service where she lives?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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  4. Bill Says:

    OP, three countries (two moves) in four years is exciting. It can also mean that a LTR is a non-starter for some guys knowing that you will be leaving the country in a year or two. Therefore, they guard themselves and look at you as a “fling” to avoid being crushed when you leave. But, I think you have bigger hurdles…

    I, too, took a break for a couple months. I was getting dates, but wasn’t “excited” about the general concept of meeting new people. I had become jaded. When I re-started, with a fresh outlook and energy, I also changed sites to Match and after a few tries, met a wonderful woman. Bottom line, if you aren’t excited about meeting people, take a break. Change sites or your approach. Also, think about which site to use to meet guys open to relationships and avoid sites that are predominately for hook-ups. Meet people in real life as well.

    Finally, work on finding and building your confidence in yourself! Get yourself comfortable in your own skin. Insecurity, which manifests as neediness/clinginess, is the double-whammy. It repels the “good guys” while acting like shark-attractant for the players who use these vulnerabilities to their own end. A confident woman has a teflon shield for all of the pick up artist tricks and mind games.

    Good luck!

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  5. BostonRobin Says:

    Not to get too woo-woo on you, but they say that for the heart to be truly open to love, it has to be open to pain too. So as much as it hurts, your recent experience with this man, it does show that your heart was open at least. Don’t let that pain break you and shut you down! Take a break as needed to recharge and become resilient again.

    Moxie’s right: it’s Brutal. But you don’t have to be…

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  6. AnnieNonymous Says:

    The OP seems very sweet and intelligent. She’s asking all the right questions and is self-aware. I agree with Moxie that the traveling is probably the biggest hurdle when it comes to finding a relationship.

    I actually disagree with Moxie on one count: I’m close to the OP’s age, and people our age are NOT on OKC/Tinder/Match. At least not anyone you’d want to meet. If OP feels that online dating isn’t working for her, there’s no need to keep forcing herself to try. It’s like going back to that one bar where you already know all the regulars. You already know everyone, and the odds of meeting someone new and worthwhile are low. The people our age who lead interesting lives are out there…living those lives. They are not trolling for hookups on the internet. There’s a lot of pressure to keep active dating profiles “just in case,” but if you already feel that it’s not working for you (for whatever reason), there’s nothing wrong with stepping away.

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    • KK Says:

      Seriously? I am the same age, and pretty much everyone I know who is single has been on all those sites, plus the religious sites.I will say that I don’t know a single straight guy who is using tinder to look for a relationship, and not even really okcupid either.

      I do wonder if that’s maybe a geographic issue. I am in NYC. Who knows what it’s like in a Scandinavian country?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

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      • AnnieNonymous Says:

        There’s definitely a geographic issue at play. If I were to look at my OKC matches in my area, I would be pulling up a list of 90% guys I already knew, and I would know the exact reasons why I wouldn’t bother dating them. I live near major cities, in an area with a massive youth/post-college culture. Twenty-somethings here simply don’t bother with online stuff in a serious way anymore. They want to see what someone looks like in person before going any further.

        The fact that you mention the religious sites is interesting. I haven’t bothered with those and have no cause to. I don’t know anyone who used them who wasn’t strictly marriage-minded. Those sites pull in an older and more conservative user base, and I don’t think Moxie’s advice necessarily addresses those sites.

        Online dating is fine if you just want to get out and have fun, but if you’re ready for a long-term relationship, I think online dating can make you feel hopeless.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

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  7. Tryin' to be New Says:

    Great post and great advice, Moxie. I agree that the secret is to know oneself and have confidence- been working on that myself. Dating is Brutal (with a capital B) and takes amazing resilience and time. After my divorce, at first I would date anyone who showed interest, with a desire to just get back in the saddle and regain some balance. Now, I’m getting a little better at weeding through the ones that aren’t real matches and savsaving time. Unfortunately, I think lots of people are on Tinder just for ego & self- esteem boosting (look at all these people that want me!), without real intent to connect. Leaving people like the OP (and me) to question are own worth. But, as you point out, it’s not us- it’s probably them. And as a guy who still seems to get old- school courting I’m consistently amazed by all the crass behavior women seem to deal with online. Regardless, sounds to me like the OP has a lot going going for her but is a little shaken- some online dating version of Stockholm Syndrome, perhaps? Time to get back on that datnng bicycle and take a ride! We might fall down at times but it’s better than staying on the sidelines, regretting another lonely, boring day! Maybe, one day, we’ll find that perfect match to ride off into the sunset on our two seater. Or maybe we’ll just have fun, going out for a ride, finding ourselves along the way!

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  8. PGH_Gal Says:

    First of all, the OP sounds pretty awesome. She’s clearly adventurous and open minded. She sounds intelligent and thoughtful. I think she just needs to recognize her own greatness and not allow the frustrations to bring her down. I similarly had someone who seemed super compatible ghost for no apparent reason. I actually did consider that he may have died! But it doesn’t matter. He’s gone, it wasn’t meant to be and I’ve moved on.

    I think you also HAVE to mix up online dating with real world meets. It just keeps your momentum going to be constantly meeting people and making new connections (whether short or long term). Just keep going for your best life, honey. Believe in yourself and your ultimate happiness. Work towards it. I have a good feeling about this one!

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  9. Maria Says:

    Really great post Moxie, very thoughtful. I also believe that dating several people at the same time helps to recover after disappointments and not get attached emotionally too soon. I also get invested emotionally easily, but not focusing on one person helps. Does it mean having sexual relationships with more than one man? Yes. It can make you feel guilty but you can get over that feeling of guilt. Not being truthful with the person you are seeing? Yes. If I don’t know he is serious about me I owe him nothing. How long should it continue? Until you make up your mind, until he’s showing and voicing desire to commit. I’d say at least 6 months possibly more. Anyone who thinks that makes a woman a slut and a liar can f… off. You’ve got to think what’s best for you first. There is too much pressure on women to be this and that and dating is brutal as Moxie rightly said, so don’t be afraid to put yourself first and not feel guilty when you do.

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