I Met My Partner on Tinder and I'm Not Ashamed Of It
The silly stigma surrounding online dating
'Wow, it's brave of you to admit that you and your partner met on Tinder,' someone said to me recently.
I don't think there is anything special or courageous about telling the truth that doesn't - or at least shouldn't - make my relationship any less valid or real.
But to some people, there apparently is.
That's because there seems to be a stigma surrounding dating apps and meeting people online. And some couples don't want to admit that's how they met their significant other. But I'm not embarrassed or ashamed to say if it wasn't for Tinder's little elves, we'd probably never run into each other.
And I happen to think that dating apps are a wonderful invention if used with caution and good intentions.
So what's the reason behind this stigma, then? And are Tinder relationships just as 'real' as those initiated outside of the online world?
Online dating has been around for a while now
The most frequent lies I've heard people use instead of admitting they met online are 'Oh, we met through friends' or 'We met in a party or a gym.' So basically choosing more conventional and socially acceptable 'how we met' scenarios.
Why meeting someone in the digital dating world is still considered something out of the ordinary?
It's not like online dating was just invented last year, and it's a complete novelty. We've been using online websites and apps for a while now. The oldest dating site, kiss.com, was created in 1995. It's true that it wasn't until 2013 that Tinder completely revolutionized the online dating experience, but still - it's been almost ten years since then.
According to recent research, 30% of US adults have used online dating, and 12% found a committed relationship from it. And seeing how the number of dating apps users grows from one year to another, it's safe to assume that soon most people will be using them.
Online dating websites and apps are a great way to meet and connect with people, especially given everything going on in the world over the last year. For several months when we were all locked up in our homes, it was probably the only way to meet someone.
But even as we're slowly getting out of the pandemic mess, in our busy and often isolated world, seeking love in cyberspace makes a lot of sense.
And it is no longer a last-ditch effort to find someone to connect with.
Using Tinder or other apps isn't pathetic
When I started using Tinder, I wasn't necessarily looking for anything serious; I just wanted to have fun and meet new people. But I remember telling my friends about it, and some said that using dating apps is pathetic and makes you seem like a desperate loser who can't find anyone in real life.
Before downloading the app, I went on plenty of dates with people I met in a 'traditional' way - at parties, via mutual friends, etc.
I preferred the 'Tinder way.'
It just made it easier for me to understand whether the person I'm chatting with via an app is worth my time or not. In a way, it makes it efficient. And if you have their social media details, you can do a bit of snooping around to make sure that person isn't bad news.
When it comes to my partner, who is a bit of an introvert nerd, dating apps are a real blessing. I know he probably wouldn't have the easiest time just to approach someone at a party and ask them out. And that's fine. I love his introvertedness and the way he is. I wouldn't change that for the world.
And honestly, I think it's just as - if not more - romantic to meet someone via an app as it is in the 'real' world. Because both people need to put in the effort to want to meet someone, and it's not as easy as it seems to build that sort of connection only via messages or phone calls. It takes days, sometimes weeks of talking to get to the point of asking each other out.
But none of this is embarrassing, shameful, or pathetic.
Craving human connection and romantic relationships are possibly the most natural feelings of them all. And if there is no better way to meet someone, why not try the magic of the online world?
Tinder relationships are just like any other relationships
In addition to the stigma surrounding dating apps, there is also this perception that relationships that start there won't last or are more casual than serious. Almost half of the people interviewed in a recent survey think these relationships are less successful than 'traditional' ones.
Different people might have different - and not always good - intentions when it comes to why and how they use dating apps, but they aren't made for meaningless hook-ups only. There are plenty of people who use Tinder or other apps to form a genuine relationship. Sometimes it does take a lot of swiping and scrolling to find them, but it's not impossible.
As I write this piece, It's been exactly three years, one month, and one day since me and my partner met for the first time. And it was actually his first Tinder date ever. It turns out it was his last, too.
We haven't started dating straight away, as we both lived in two different countries back then, but after a few months since our first date, he moved to London, and we've been together ever since.
What started in a perhaps less conventional way ended up in a real, genuine, and loving relationship.
We won the digital love lottery.
And sure, online dating might not be everyone's cup of tea, but people who decide to go for it and find someone they like shouldn't be ashamed to admit that's how they've met. Love doesn't have to happen organically. Not everyone will meet the love of their life while shopping at a farmers market, picking up dry cleaning, or going out for drinks with their coworkers.
We shouldn't let the stereotypical and often unrealistic rom-com ideas of how things should unfold get the best of us.
Love can happen anytime, anywhere - including the online world.
Normalizing anything takes time. And as online dating will surely become more and more common and permeate popular culture, this stigma surrounding it will eventually disappear.
But even before it does, I won't be ashamed to say I met my partner 'on an app.'
Because without Tinder, I would never have met my Italian introvert nerd who is strangely worse at cooking pasta than I am.
I'm so, so very happy I did swipe right on him.
Thanks, Tinder. You don't suck nearly as much as many people believe.
This story was originally published on Medium.