My experiences during my time of online dating were, i would say, adequate. On the advice of a good friend, I joined Tinder after a bad break-up, when my self-confidence was not so high. As it happens, I did get a boost – at least in the beginning. The countless matches and signs of interest helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel and each day I got closer. However, after a few weeks, the initial high had faded and, for the most part, paled in comparison. I didn’t have the patience for smalltalk via text or random meet-ups, which were either awkward or ended in a one-night stand that also eventually became awkward. The new style of dating is virtual and everyone does it, or claims to at least. Why didn’t I fit in?
Swipe, Swipe, Go – In search of the lost match
The older generation often share well-meaning consolations, telling us after a heartbreak, “there are plenty more fish in the sea.” What sounds like a mocking joke after a separation could have been instead my motto for online dating. Always unsure as to what lay beyond the next swipe, I was the complete opposite of easy-going. Okay, yes, it was generally quite nice and there was always the chance to get to know each other better – but what would happen if it were a total waste of time, because the next match was actually the right one. Don’t get me wrong, I love deep conversation and I am only superficial once a week at most – when I watch the Bachelor. My online dating history feels a bit like weird performance art, in which the agenda is to get to know the most people in the least amount of time.
He loves me, he loves me not – Online dating is like an audition process
I love to get to know new people. I especially like when I can take time and focus on a person. It sounds totally obvious, but Tinder seemed to me to be like an audition process. As if I had made a waiting list of my pre-selected matches. From an infinite sea of potential partners, people were called up with a swipe, just on the basis of limited information. Sometimes, I had the feeling that everything just repeated and merged amidst the homogeneity of the app’s design. Individuality? Not here. I found that a bit off-putting. Even the actual face-to-face meetings stressed me out. Two people sitting across from each other, who both have their own waiting lists in the back of their minds. If they don’t hit it off immediately, why would they bother meeting again? They would instead try someone new.
My online dating experience – or why Generation Y struggles with virtual romance
I feel like I missed the boat with online dating. I belong to Generation Y, or “Generation Why”, “Generation Maybe” or “Generation Commitment-phobe.” My generation works mostly with media, is especially critical and rarely settles down. So far the label fits the definition. We are the children of the 1980s and 90s, who loved Knight Rider and Mila Superstar, and still know the Happy Meal better as the Junior Meal. But above all else, we can remember life before the internet, or at least before it was so widespread. Maybe it is because we went to school without WhatsApp and Facebook, and online bullying didn’t yet exist. I still own a shoe box full of handwritten teenage love letters. We experienced the digital transformation of our lives in the truest sense of the phrase. A lot of what we once knew doesn’t exist anymore. At the very least, it does not exist in the same form. Online dating belongs in this category. For the generations after us, it might seem like the most natural thing in the world. But I think about the courtship stories of my parents (a classic love at first sight scenario) and I wish that I could still have the same.
Autorin: Marie von der Heydt