I’ve been banned from my accounts a couple of times because people have reported me, although on what grounds I still don’t know. That’s annoying, but perhaps what’s worse is the amount of ghosting we experience. One time, I hooked up with a guy and he unmatched with me the minute we finished having sex and left my house. Another time, I matched with a guy when I was in Hawaii.
The sex was great and we had a lovely connection but after a long day of messaging backwards and forwards the following day, he said he “couldn’t do this” and immediately blocked me across all the apps mid-conversation.
I think a lot of guys like the idea of sleeping with a trans woman but when push comes to shove, they just can’t deal with the fact that there’s a real person at the other end. It’s almost as though they’re ashamed of their behaviour.”
“My marriage is proof you can find love on Tinder”
Carla Cloud, 35, an accounts manager, was looking to meet people in a new city when she signed up to the popular app. What she found was the man she’d marry three years later.
“Like a lot of people who are dating online, I don’t know that either [now husband] Khedra or I were looking for our future life partners when we met. As a young man, he was on Tinder for fun. And since I had recently moved to Sydney from Queensland, I was more interested in branching out and getting to know a few new people.
We matched in June 2016 and although we had an awkward start to our date (within the first 15 minutes it could have gone either way), by the end of the night we connected on such a deep level that I knew I’d met the guy I was going to one day marry.
Pre-Khedra, I had dated both online and “in real life” and found the former to be preferable. Sydneysiders can be quite cliquey and often people don’t feel courageous enough to approach others they find interesting or attractive because no one really knows what the reaction will be any more.
I think it’s beautiful that you can meet a wide range of receptive people online while you’re home, hanging out on your couch in your pyjamas. In fact, that’s what I was doing the day I met Khedra. I was ready for a quiet night of pizza and a movie but he convinced me to get dressed and come out and meet him. I’m a big believer in jumping at opportunities and I couldn’t ignore this gut feeling I had, a sense that something big was about to happen.
The best advice I could give people considering online dating is to have fun with it and to take all expectations out of the equation. Sure, I met a few players who were only up for some fun, and others who were nice enough but we just weren’t really vibing on that next level, but I remained unaffected by it. I think if you do all the right things – meet in a public place and let friends or family members know where you’re going – things will be fine.
It’s been my experience that you can usually pick up any red flags in your online conversations before you ever agree to meet them for a coffee. We just have to stop expecting every date to potentially be “The One”.
Within three weeks of our first date, Khedra and I deleted our apps. And within six weeks, he introduced me to his parents. Everyone could see the magic between us, so no one was surprised when we got married in August 2019.
I believe joy is infectious, no matter what. But I also believe our story – a marriage made through Tinder – buoys people’s spirits and encourages them to continue to search. We’re proof you can find the love of your life online.”
“More than ever, people are searching for connection”
Erica (surname withheld), a 27-year-old communications professional, has enjoyed five years of online dating but says COVID-19 has changed everything.
“In my five years of online dating, if there’s anything I can say with absolute certainty, it’s that underneath our confident facades, we’re all as anxious and awkward as one another, and I find that reassuring.
At my age, I’m dating for fun, rather than searching for that big love, so I enjoy the psychology of trying to read between the lines of someone’s profile bio and I like the convenience of getting to know someone through conversations online before committing to meeting them in person. At a time in our lives when we’re all rushed off our feet studying, working or both, it certainly makes dating that much more convenient.
Different apps suit different people and although I’ve tried Tinder and Bumble, they weren’t quite right for me (on Bumble the pressure is on women to approach the men and I’m far too relaxed for that approach). Right now I’m on Hinge and I probably go on three or four dates a month, with varying success.
Some dates have been what you might call interesting – one guy turning up covered in clay, with a head injury. He was keen to soldier on but I convinced him to go to hospital instead. With others I found there to be zero sexual chemistry but we’ve gone on to become close friends, so I consider that a win.
There have been times when the apps felt too much like hard work and I’ve sworn off them – for a period. If you’re having a hard day, a not-so-positive message from someone online can make you feel worse. But they’ve been few and far between.
On the whole, I’d say dating online has boosted my confidence, introduced me to some great people and encouraged me to take more chances in life. That’s not to say I’m casual with my approach to dating; I usually insist on drinks at a bar for a first date (coffee dates can be jarring, and eating dinner with someone you don’t know can be awkward) and I always let someone know where I’m headed. Perhaps I’m fortunate but I’ve never had a seriously negative experience.
Since COVID-19, I’ve noticed a resurgence in old-school dating. Suddenly, I’m being approached when I’m out and about and that’s certainly a new experience. Online dating might be here to stay but I think now, more than ever, people are searching for connection with others and meaning.”
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale August 8. To read more from Sunday Life, visit The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
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