Looking For Love On Dating Apps
This is a HTHT submission from Denise Yap.
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Who would have known a pandemic would hit our shores and confine us to our homes for a good 2 months? While I’d been on dating apps before, I’d never bothered to sustain conversations and meet up with potential matches. But with so much time to kill during the Circuit Breaker, I finally decided to put some proper effort into it; because if not now, when?
Slowly, matches started coming in. Any free pockets of time I had was spent swiping and engaging in vibrant conversations with my matches. I thought to myself, dating amidst a pandemic…what a time to be alive indeed!
Meeting after the Circuit Breaker
Post-Circuit Breaker, feeling hopeful and with my interest piqued, I wandered into the first of many planned dates. Naturally, I felt a tinge of excitement.
A few first dates passed and despite some delightful conversations, I didn’t feel any attraction on my part. Feeling slightly jaded, I started putting in less effort to dress up to the nines.
That was, until I met 2 particular matches. Casually yet smartly dressed and armed with a wicked sense of humour, they were charismatic in every sense of the word. I was drawn in instantly.
My conversations with these men ranged from light-hearted topics to serious ones, interspersed with good banter. In the blink of an eye, 4 hours had passed. But how? It only felt like 30 minutes. This is it, he is the one. Sparks. Connection. Attraction. Everything was there. I was filled with glee.
Realising that the attraction was one-sided
A one-sided conversation with me, myself and I
Alas, if only that were the case. After parting ways, I did not hear from either of them. This led to a downward spiral as all sorts of questions about where or what I did wrong invaded my head. Was I too chatty? Did I not listen enough? Did I put on too much makeup?
I appreciated his honesty, at the very least
A sense of emptiness came over me as daily conversations vanished just like that with a snap of the finger. My mind constantly replayed snippets of the dates; was the connection merely one-sided?
The relentless questioning and self doubt depleted my self-esteem to its lowest level. Although peers around me encouraged me to just move on to the next person, I found the whole process of just casually doing so felt frivolous. Besides, after repeating the process of getting to know someone for a few times, I felt tired. To go through the cycle of opening up and being vulnerable but only to be left disappointed after… it is soul-crushing, to say the least. Perhaps I need to learn how not to invest too deeply at the initial stage, but who can stop what your heart feels?
Lessons I learnt from looking for love
As cliche as it sounds, time is indeed the strongest aid when it comes to healing. Thanks to this episode spent looking for love, I’ve learnt a few lessons that I hope will bring some form of comfort to anyone in the same position.
1. Slow and steady
It goes without saying that you should always put your best foot forward to leave an unforgettable impression on the other party in hopes of building a genuine and lasting connection. However, this connection does not need to be rushed. Neither should you try to dictate the direction of it (i.e friendship/romantic).
Take the analogy of your best friend, for example. Did you know right from the start that you were bound to be best friends with this person? Typically, the answer is no. Rather, you would get to know him/her slowly. By spending time together, the connection builds. Before you know it, this person is your closest confidante.
I believe the same logic applies to dating as well. Connections take time to foster. Take some time to really get to know the other party without romantically tinted lenses.
2. Ride the waves
When you take the date very seriously, it is akin to hanging out with a romantic agenda. Hence, there exists a subtle pressure because you would subconsciously assess if the person ticks the right boxes and is suited to be a life partner (or whatever it is that you are looking for).
This raises expectations, which we all know beget disappointment if they are not met. It is better to shift your mindset and go with the flow. Be your best self and have fun meeting new people. Enjoy the process. Life has its way of working things out.
3. You come first
This is the most important takeaway and something I hold very close to my heart. It is imperative that you are assured in yourself so that your self-esteem will not waver if you face rejection.
Knowing that you are complete on your own is the key to not being reliant on validation from others. I believe that when you truly love yourself, it rubs off on other people and you attract what you put out. Learn to invest in yourself. You are worthy. You are beautiful. Keep telling yourself that and soon enough, you will believe it too.
I Tried Looking For Love On Dating Apps But Realised I Need To Love Myself First
I look in the mirror and realise that the strongest form of love you should give is to the one who is looking right back at you. The journey of loving myself is one that is still ongoing, but I will get there someday, slowly but surely. I walk away from this whole experience with a smile, knowing with conviction that I am always my own before I am anyone else’s.