Dating Apps and Websites-What can you expect?
For those that have never explored the world of online dating it can appear like a cattle market and certain online dating sites seem to hold more Kudos as ‘better’ than others.
After the break up of the relationship with my children’s father and after waiting over 2 years before feeling in a better place to try again with someone new, I thought I’d give online dating a try. I was a single mum with 2 children, the youngest less than 2 years old and I was back at work part time as a teacher, which has a lot more hours than most think.
It seemed like an ideal way to start communicating with the other sex again. It would afford me the opportunity to have 10 minutes here and there to scan over a few profiles and see if anyone sparked an interest, whilst not investing too much of my valuable free time and limited funds on dates with people I could have nothing in common with (should I magically find someone to go on a date with, being a single mum with 2 kids, 100% of the time the ordinary way that is). This way, I could interact with others myself, or chat with those that messaged me and this phase could last for as short or long as I wanted, dependent on how the banter was flowing and how our interests/views/values/morals matched. This bit was very important to me. I absolutely wanted to know that there was potential longevity through having a fairly lengthy communication period before I took the step to meet someone in person.
I know what I’m like as a person. I haven’t fallen in love many times in my life but, when I do, I fall fast and I fall hard-my relationships have all been long term. I have the opposite of an Attachment Disorder; I get attached to people very quickly-there is nothing I can do about this and it’s not just in romantic situations. New friends too, if I get on with someone, I will do anything I can to help them out. My close friends know they can rely on me. I believe there are some that I don’t know that well that will say the same. I have a strange and overwhelming sense of loyalty to people I’m ‘in a relationship with’. I’ll always give 100%. Do I let this show in romantic relationships from the get go? No, not at all. I would nearly always wait for the other person to show their hand first before I would reciprocate that knowledge.
Having a slightly detached way of getting to know someone in the first instance was good for me. It allowed me to be less attached before taking the next step.
The first dating website I tried was Guardian Soulmates. It seemed to have the most credibility. Each month I tried a new one. I wanted to get a feel of them and the kind of people using them. E Harmony, Match, Elite Singles, I tried them all and very quickly realised that, most of the faces were the same, on every site. A neighbour was also looking to date again so together, we tried a new website attached to Facebook-this one was Zoosk. It was the first website that seemed to make sense. I paid a month subscription and quickly started chatting with some nice guys. A few weeks in and A LOT of cheesy chat-up lines later, someone was pushing to meet up. I have to say I wasn’t feeling it from his pictures, nor his profile really. I’m not a looks person but there has to be ‘something’. Eight weeks later and after laughing a lot over jokes and shared stories I gave myself a kick and said ‘if he makes you laugh that much, it’s got to be worth meeting up’. It was the first date I ever agreed to. A few weeks later, he drove from Sussex to Kent and I met him for lunch. As I walked down the high street, I chanted to myself ‘please let there be a spark’. I walked up behind him as he stood outside our agreed meeting place, tapped him on the shoulder and said ‘Hello Mr P’. He turned around and instantly I knew the spark was there. We talked for over two hours before ordering lunch and it was over two and half years later that we said goodbye due to circumstances beyond our control. We still chat from time to time though.
A year on, I thought it was time to venture into something new. I went straight back to Zoosk. There were some new faces, A LOT of old faces and I quickly had lots of messages. I never went on any dates arranged from that month’s subscription but I am still friends with three guys I got on really well with.
Tinder had just hit my radar. I was hearing mixed reviews. Some said it was a Hook-Up app, others said it had moved past these initial reviews. There were also friends and friends-of-friends that were in long term relationships, or even married, from this website. I decided to take a look. It was easy to set up on my mobile through Facebook. I set some parameters-distance and age then started to swipe. I quickly noticed the same old faces from all the other websites! Also there were people I know that work in the police and friends from FB, and the profiles also showed if you had mutual friends on FB so you could go and ask questions about what they were really like first. The guys I had made friends with from Zoosk were also on there and so was Mr P. There was plenty of space for a decent sized written profile and many people specified what it was they were looking for. Some men with a headless profile picture or poster picture, admitted to being married and only looking for fun. Other profiles stated they were only looking for friendship being new in the area and others that were looking for something more meaningful.
I went back and ensured this too was really clear on my profile.
I didn’t match with many on Tinder. I wasn’t a serial swiper, and very picky about who I swiped right on. I only matched with probably 15/20 people over the period of four months. I stayed chatting with around five of them-the others, the banter wasn’t there or it was very quickly apparent that we had nothing in common. I went on three dates-one was grim. The other two were lovely and I had, as always got to know them for a while before we met in person. I’m still in touch with one. Then I matched with ‘Antony Ray’ my Catfish, BUT, there are some really nice people on Tinder. It gets a bad rap.
The understanding of what a real Hook-Up App is, is very misunderstood. Researching over the last few months I’ve seen some that would count as real ones and pornographic isn’t the word.
I was sacked from my job when I went public with my story to promote my petition. You can sign here . I was told I had “bought the school into disrepute”. The Head Teacher sat there and looked at me in disgust as she said “It said you met on Tinder. It mentioned the word sex”. She was one of those that judged without knowing anything. But don’t take my word for it -read this great article about Tinder by Antonio Borrello, PhD. I couldn’t have said it better myself!