I didn’t start dating until college. For the first two years, it was with people from school. I was taken on proper dinner or movie dates. Most of my friends have never been on an actual date, or their significant other was their friend first and then they transitioned into being in a relationship.
For my last two summers in college, I tried out online dating on okcupid.com, mainly out of sheer boredom. I met some interesting people but nothing ever lasted past the season. I dated casually and monogamously, but the problem with online dating is that you don’t know how many people the person you are dating were talking to when they first contacted you. Or if they kept their profile active while you were dating. I would cut off contact and stay off of the website when I was dating someone. When I returned and one guy asked me why I waited so long to get back to him, I said it was because I was dating someone else. He asked me why I didn’t date both of them simultaneously. But isn’t the point of dating, even if it’s casual, to see how long you can last with them, to give them your undivided attention? The year of the second summer, I actually saw everyone I talked to online in person, whether it was planned or by chance; whether I wanted to see them again or never wanted to see them again in my life.
I didn’t date at all during my senior year of college because I was overcome with grief from two friends passing away at the beginning of the school year. My friends were getting more serious in their relationships. I remember spending many Saturday nights calling my friends and having no one pick up. That’s when I would’ve liked anyone’s company, but I guess I needed to spend that year of my life alone in order to grieve properly and work on myself.
Last summer, I moved home after graduation. I would download free dating apps, make my profile, scroll through profiles without communicating with anyone, and delete the app later that night. It’s hard to meet new people when you move back to your hometown of eighteen years. I reconnected with a friend and former crush from high school and without intending on it we started dating. At least when we were dating, he was a hyperactive Tumblr user. I was a hyperactive Facebook user. We were never “Facebook official.” The only time we interacted on Facebook was when he invited me to a house party. We exchanged Tumblr URLs but never followed each other. Except I unofficially followed his Tumblr because my intuition told me not to trust him and it was another way of getting to know what makes him tick. I only got Snapchat because of that reason, too. Otherwise, I find it fucking stupid. While dating in this day and age, are you supposed to acknowledge each other’s online activity?
The digital age has taught me not to trust anyone because of his or her online presence.
When it comes down to it, I’d rather date someone the old fashioned way, without the nonsense of an online identity. I want to meet the next person I date in a completely random, organic way. The most successful relationships I’ve witnessed are the ones where the couple was good friends first. Friends who could trust each other without having to keep tabs on each other’s online activity. I know there are more options outside of my hometown. Even so, I envy my friends who’ve been with their significant others long enough to move with them. They have an excuse to uproot with someone else as well as have another person to cut down the rent. I’m terrified of moving somewhere where I don’t know anybody.