Them: So how did you & your husband meet?
Me: Oh, we met through a dating app.
Them: Really? Are you for real? Which one? Weren’t you scared?
Generally, how the conversation goes when I tell people that my marriage is a result of internet dating. So, to answer the questions, yes really. I’m very for real. Plenty of Fish. And I had no reason to be scared.
I think we should take a little step back here. I first tried out a dating app in 2015, Tinder being the first app I used with little success. Well, actually that depends on what you judge as success. I probably had a couple of dates from Tinder which didn’t lead to much so I gave up on the app life and hoped the traditional route would work out. You know, meet someone at the gym or in the supermarket… I go for the last carton of milk and so do they… anyone actually have that happen in real life or is it just in the movies?
Yeah well, that wasn’t my story. After being single for 4yrs the traditional route wasn’t working. Enter 2016 still single and after a little misadventure I thought let me try the app life again.
I was a little hesitant about it, but my very good friend encouraged me to try Plenty of Fish as Tinder had evolved a little by then and Bumble didn’t exist (I don’t think). We agreed to both sign up and give it a try for 4weeks. That’s all I was willing to do. If nothing was to come of it then I was leaving the matter to the man upstairs. That was the deal.
Now I’ll be honest I understand people’s reservations when it comes to online dating, I used to receive the wildest messages and sometimes it really did make me wonder “Wow! Have I stooped this low that a grown man could message me something so absurd and think it was appropriate. A whole me?!” My first bit of advice if you are considering online dating à Have an open mind and expect anything! It is the internet after all, there are some very weird people out there but unlike seeing them in real life if you don’t like what they send or what you read, simply delete and move on.
My second bit advice, just because you are on a dating app it is no reflection of you being desperate, sad, damaged or any other negative nonsense you or anyone tells you.
There is always some stigma with meeting people online – less now than 6yrs ago – but I remember when I met my husband we’d joke and say whether we should come up with an alternative story of how we met instead of saying a dating app. And I’m very glad that ended as just a joke.
Anyways, 2 weeks into my deal with my friend. I received a message that simply said “Hey”. Now, normally that would not have been enough to catch my attention but after receiving a few odd and rather descriptive messages here and there seeing a simple greeting was nice. I responded.
We conversated on the app for a few days and then we exchanged numbers. That was normally the “rule” you didn’t just give out your number straight away. That led to a 2hour long call that turned into a first date at Frankie & Benny’s fast-forward to 4 years later and we’re now married.
Would I recommend online dating? Yes, why not? And I can hear someone out there saying “oh it’s not for me blah blah”. I look at this way, I would not say I recommend you to online date and do that alone. Just in the same way that if you were looking for a new job you would try different routes – apply to jobs online, apply through a recruiter or from applying directly on a company’s site. When it comes to your career it’s called ambitious or focussed. But when it comes to finding your future husband or wife, someone you’re going to share literally everything with, putting yourself out there like that is called desperate.
But how? You’re on your phone anyway, so what have you got to lose? And don’t get me wrong, it’s not guaranteed to bring you a partner, but I bet you it will get you closer to understanding the kind of person you would like and the person you definitely have no interest in.
So, here is some advice for those who might consider online dating or are already doing so but having no luck:
- A reminder – Be open minded & expect anything.
Like I said I did have a few run ins with weird people in my DMs but I never entertained them or met them, simply because I didn’t have to. But that just meant I was never too shocked whenever I received a notification. It’s the internet! People have the freedom to say absolutely anything. Not that they should but sadly with the growing rate of trolls and hate we know this to be true.
So, if you go in with an open mind it will save you on the shock element.
- Another reminder – Online dating is not some sort of negative reflection on you or where you are in your life.
So, what Sarah met Jacob in church?! You are not Sarah. Plain and simple. Our paths are all different. My decision to try online dating stemmed from meeting Jacob’s who really had no good intentions for my life. I had been single for a while and had come to the realisation that a lot of my pain had been a result of self-inflicted bad decisions, that usually had to do with people in my past who rightfully just needed to stay in the past. At that point the best thing for me was to try something new and out of my comfort zone because I ultimately made a decision about the kind of person I needed and was VERY aware that the Jacob’s I knew were not meeting the mark. And don’t worry I did always keep my eyes open when at the church or the gym too just in case 😉
- Find the app that works best for you.
There is a whole host of dating apps out there. I could not list them all. Plenty of Fish may not be the one for you and Tinder is more your thing, then try that out. Also, do your research some online sites already have a clear agenda, make sure it’s the same as yours. Your agenda might be you want to have fun and just meet people, then that’s your plan. But if you’re thinking I want something serious and meet my husband or wife and have children by this time next year then find an app that is better suited for that. The likes of eHarmony or apps you pay to use might get you a more serious outcome. There are also apps that will do some work for you e.g. Christian only, working professionals, someone in the services etc. But to know which one is best then the next point is important.
- Be clear about what your standard is. It’s your decision.
The online world is very new and you will mix with a bunch of people who are very different. Decide what you’re open to, up for, looking for and what you will not by any standard accept. Like I said, depending on the app you choose to use you can be met with all sorts of messages.
This kind of mixes with my first point somewhat. But if you know you’re particular about certain things then try make your life easier as much as possible.
- Yes, there are psychos out there so be safe!
Okay, you’ve decided to meet with this person. Suggest somewhere you know and where you will feel safe. So, first dates at their house IS A NO from me! I remember my first date with my husband I went to a friend’s house first on my way to Frankie & Benny’s. One, so she could check out my outfit – obviously! Two. She could see what I looked like beforehand as one intact individual. Three. So she knew where I was going, I told her where we were meeting, the time and we agreed if I didn’t message her by X time she should call me.
In my case all these precautions weren’t necessary, and I hope the same for you but please do consider it when you step out for your first dates.
Also, chivalry and all is great, but I would always opt to drive myself or find my own way to a first date. You can pick me up and find out where I live at a later stage, thanks! Not just a precaution but also a clear message that I could survive and hold my own before you came into my life. And for the sceptical man who says, “oh but I want to prove I’m a gentleman and pick you up”, well if you really want to be chivalrous then open the door for me when I get there, stand up when I go to the ladies and pay the bill. Simples.
There you have it. Just a few tips that may help you in the dating world if you venture to online platforms. It’s not for everyone and not one size fits all. Dating whether in the traditional or new ways is hard either way but for all the singletons, enjoy your time whilst it’s just you. Get to know yourself, make your own memories and love yourself sincerely. And when the time is right I pray you find the right person to share your life with.