Ever since I began dating, I have always been a relationship girl. Too sensitive and heavily influenced by Hallmark, the casual dating scene wasn’t one I wanted to be in. Throughout my ten years of dating, I have been in two serious relationships, and have tried to find a tandem with dating in between. In 2017, not having ever been on a dating app, I wrote how I despised the idea of them.
After my last relationship, and the precedence of my biological father, whom I’ve never met, dying I realized I need to intentionally allow myself to sit with myself. I was in therapy and trying to build a foundation within myself. I knew that if I was to be in a relationship again, I had to have a solid one with myself first.
Through countless hours of silence and sitting on my therapist’s couch I realized I tired to shove people into places they didn’t belong. Whether it was at distance or in relationships. I needed to put people in boxes so I knew who would leave who first. I kept people at a distance so that one day they wouldn’t wake up and realize they didn’t want to love me. Like my father chose twenty-five years ago.
If I put people in their boxes, then I felt I was in control. All because I had this gaping wound of a biological father who had abandoned me — without even knowing me. I used alcohol and relationships to fill what I felt like I was missing. When the truth is, nothing ever was missing; that’s the lie we tell ourselves when certain people just can’t serve us and we feel like it’s our fault.
About a year into my deep rooted, self work, I told my therapist that I felt like I was ready to date again. I felt fulfilled in many aspects of my life and I loved myself enough to bear rejection in a graceful manner. Right away my therapist suggested trying Bumble. At first I was hesitant as she pleaded her case, and ultimately I decided to try it. After all, if you weren’t in college how do you meet people anyway?
My biggest fear was that I would be rejected.
At the end of the day, I realized that I wouldn’t want to spend time with someone who I had to convince to like me. And the truth was, I would be rejecting people too. So, I downloaded Bumble holding my breath but excited for the prospects.
The next morning, I had found that I matched with about a half dozen guys, but I knew myself enough to know that I didn’t feel comfortable talking to all of them and trying to juggle so many conversations. Instead, I revisited their profiles and chose the ones who had similar interests and accomplishments as me, but ultimately the deciding factor was which bio made me laugh.
As I took a chance on Bumble, it became obvious as to what I was looking for in someone thanks to the help of different tags you can add to your profile. As I reflected on my past relationships, I realized how the differences of our interests and values showed up in different spaces.
The tags also allowed me to stay true to myself; no matter how good looking someone was, I knew as an act of good faith that I couldn’t try and connect with someone who was “looking for something casual,” because I knew I was not. Since Bumble allows you to play by your own rules, I knew I had to follow my heart and ideals by not trying to date more than one person at a time; it was a compromise I felt comfortable with if I was going to throw myself into the online dating app world.
Within the first week, I was on my first date. We ended up seeing each other for about two months in which I was able to find my confidence and optimism about relationships again. He was kind and matched me intellectually.
Then, I fell hard for someone off of one glass of wine as we swapped travel stories. He was an amazing kisser and matched my adventurous soul. Within a week, the fire-blazing serotonin came to a crashing halt.
Not wanting to feel foolish again, I deleted Bumble for a few weeks. Despite how well things went with the first guy, I was exhausted over the idea that I would continue to meet men who were already tied up. Although I would never admit it to my therapist, she was right I wasn’t just bummed out, I was disappointed. And the lingering pieces of my wounds had me question — was it me? Am I lovable?
Turning inwards, I reviewed what I had learned: I had learned that there are kind men out there who care about you, even if it doesn’t work out. And how cool is it that I was able to get giddy and excited over someone again? Even if it did end in a crash. Besides, wasn’t this part of the risk of putting yourself out there? After consulting my guru Carrie Bradshaw, I took one more chance.
Recently, I met someone who shares my values, can challenge me intellectually and fuels the adventurous side of my soul. There are no guarantees, but as an act of good faith, I deactivated my Bumble account.
Also published on Medium.