I just got out of a long-term relationship a little over a month ago, and I am definitely not ready to dating anyone else seriously. However, I am getting to the point where I am lonely and curious about what’s out there, and frankly, could use an ego boost. I recently downloaded Tinder and wow! Talk about an ego boost! But now I have been chatting with a few guys on there who have expressed interest in me. I am feeling guilty about not wanting to take any of them seriously, but Tinder isn’t really where people go to meet the love of their life. Am I doing something wrong, as long as I’m not making profiles on any serious dating sites yet?
Single and (Almost) Ready to Mingle
Dear Single and (Almost) Ready to Mingle,
Isn’t dating just the worst? I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are beautiful parts of it, like when you really connect with someone and you feel a little less alone in this world, or when they buy you food. But it is also very complicated in this day and age when we have way more options than ever before when it comes to relationship status. When you’re on a dating app, you could be looking for a permanent monogamous partnership, you could be looking for someone to tickle your toes and never call you again, or more likely, something in between the two. There is nothing wrong with wanting any of these things; the important thing is that you clearly communicate what you want.
I think you are right in that Tinder isn’t the most serious dating app; it definitely has had a reputation for being a “hookup” app in the past. However, you would probably be surprised by how many long-term relationships and even marriages have come out of Tinder now that it has been around for a couple years. If I could shoot a reading recommendation your way, Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari has a lot of interesting information about the revolution of Tinder, as well as dating trends in the modern world in general. You might find some intriguing information for yourself there as you navigate back into the dating world. But before you run out to your local bookstore for some great advice from Aziz, let me just make it clear that you being on Tinder as opposed to a dating site that is marketed as more for long-term love doesn’t get you off the hook for clearly communicating your needs. Of course, there will be plenty of gents who are more interested in the hook up side of Tinder, but there will be others who genuinely want to meet a cool person they can connect with on a romantic level.
In many cases, it will be easy to differentiate between the two. A guy who messages you and asks for pictures of your genitalia is probably not looking for much more than a picture of your genitalia, for example. But if you start talking to someone and find that the conversation flows easily between you and a deeper connection could be made, don’t let it get too deep before you have the good old, “So what are you looking for?” conversation. Contrary to what some people might think, this isn’t going to dose the emerging flame of your romance. Clear communication is extremely sexy to most adults trying to make a real romantic connection.
As far as what you say you are looking for yourself, you don’t have to feel pressured to get into the nitty gritty of your breakup. And you probably shouldn’t say anything like, “Just trying to get an ego boost from the schlongs on this app!” I would go with brief but honest: “I just got out of a relationship so I am not looking for anything serious, but I downloaded Tinder to dip a toe in and see what’s out there.” If you are not ready to go on dates yet, say that. One very freeing part of your situation is that you don’t have to worry about “scaring people off” by being “too honest.” If you aren’t ready to date, be upfront about it; you don’t need these guys to stick around to feed your ego because in the age of online dating, there is always another ego boost around the corner. And really, if they aren’t willing to have an honest conversation about what they want, they probably aren’t worth much more than ego boost anyway.
In summary, Tinder away, but don’t deceive anyone about your intentions. Congrats for taking the first step towards moving on, and I hope you ultimately find whatever it is you’re looking for, on or off line.