After ending a long term relationship, I decided to give online dating a try. This was after facing the post breakup “face first,” going to therapy and hiring a life coach to help me progress in my healing journey. Once I felt mentally ready to embark on this online dating experience, I downloaded an app and gave it a try. In this post I’m going to share my reasons behind even wanting to try this out, lessons learned and takeaways.
Alright, this is a very personal and vulnerable post. I’ve gone back and forth about even sharing my experiences with online dating but after asking you guys on my IG stories, all of you who voted wanted me to share my thoughts and takeaways from using dating apps. So here it is.
I sit here listening to a Spotify playlist sent to me by one of the guys I dated during my 3 month online dating season. So there were plenty of good things that came out of this experience. Including music recommendations (I really love music). First, I guess I should give the backstory of what even made me decide to give this whole thing a try. So here it goes.
Deciding on online dating
As mentioned previously, I did a bunch of healing after peacefully ending a long term relationship. Being alcohol-free helped me to face…everything. I decided to go to therapy and hired a life coach to help me during this time. Once I felt like I was in a good place mentally by overcoming the feeling of loneliness, I began considering giving dating apps a try. I guess I should mention that this is the first time I’ve ever been single in my adult life. So it intrigued me to experience the online dating scene that I’ve heard so much about.
After taking some time off to live with my sister in another state, I decided to dip my toe in the dating scene by downloading Hinge while I was staying in Illinois. It made me feel not as attached to the outcome being that I don’t ever plan on moving back there and I was completely transparent with my matches letting them know that off the bat. I’ll be honest and share that it felt extremely strange and awkward creating my dating profile for the first time. I never thought I would be in that position, being that just last year today I was engaged to be married.
As a First-Gen Latina, at times, I’d get thoughts about where I “should” be regarding my romantic life. Being in my mid 30s and knowing how much my Mexican parents (particularly my mom) wants me to settle down and give her grandchildren, played a major role in these thoughts. But, I did not allow them to overwhelm, rush me or pressure me to go against my intuition.
Being in this new territory felt so strange and new. (It also was exciting, to be honest). From the very beginning, I decided that I was taking all of this lightly without any expectations. Although my goal is to eventually get married, I wasn’t coming into this with that in mind. I simply wanted to meet my matches with an open mind in a lighthearted way. So when I started getting matches on the app and chatting with them, I did so from a place of curiosity more than anything.
I also have to share that I was pretty selective with the men I chose to “like” on the app. For instance, if they had multiple pictures holding an alcoholic drink in their hand, I wouldn’t “like” them. So before you even begin online dating, I suggest you take some time to decide what you’re looking for in a partner. Also decide what your non-negotiables are. Since I don’t drink, I don’t want a partner that prioritizes alcohol in their lifestyle.
When I was still in Illinois, I went on 2 first dates. I decided to be open minded and choose to date men from different backgrounds. As a First-Gen Latina, I have to say, it would be so much “easier” to date men from my same background as I have in the past but let’s be real, I wasn’t even getting those types of matches on the app to begin with lol. Therefore, I also decided to expand my horizons and see how it would feel to date different types of men. You never know until you try.
Another tip is that I chose to have coffee or low key dates especially since I don’t drink alcohol anyway. I never chose to meet in the evening either lol. So my very first date was with a nice Caucasian guy. My second first coffee date was with an Indian man. I enjoyed our conversations but I didn’t feel a connection with either of them. Then I came back home to North Carolina.
I had gone on a few more first dates (again with men from different ethnicities) and eventually went on a second date for the first time. At this point it didn’t feel as strange to date a Caucasian guy. We actually ended up seeing each other a lot for a few weeks. I really enjoyed getting to know him during that time and learned so much from that whole experience. One day he called me to let me know he didn’t see us being a long term thing, which I greatly appreciated.
He could’ve “ghosted” me or led me on but something I told all of my matches before even meeting was that I value open and honest communication more than anything. So I am thankful for that whole experience and for his honesty. I didn’t take things personally and continued moving forward. Side note: I heard stories from friends who were straight up ghosted and it’s wild to me that grown ass men (and women) do that.
Deleting the online dating apps
After that experience, I decided to download Bumble while still using Hinge this whole time. I didn’t really like the Bumble app, to be honest, even though a few friends recommended it and raved about it. I didn’t meet any of those matches in person. Eventually, I decided to delete both of the apps (just a few days ago) after realizing and recognizing that online dating was starting to feel like a distraction more than anything.
I didn’t like how it felt that there are unspoken “rules” that felt like games more than anything. It also started feeling confusing as to why some of the guys I was matching with were on the apps in the first place if their actions didn’t match their words. I gotta say I’m grateful and proud of myself for matching with decent men who seemed to have their shit together (lol) but some didn’t seem to be ready to date. The conversations would die off without effort to meet in person which didn’t make much sense to me.
So after realizing that I was starting to go on the dating apps out of boredom more than anything, I realized it was time to take a step back. When I got on them 3 months ago, it was from a lighthearted and curious space. Once I realized that energy and mentality started going away and that I was beginning to feel scarcity or an anxious attachment, I decided to delete them.
Here are a few takeaways from my online dating experience
It’s more time consuming than you think
One thing about me is that I like to face things. So instead of using dating apps to avoid feeling alone or bored, I knew it was time to face that. So I deleted both of them and to my surprise, I felt an immediate sense of relief. Since then, I’ve been feeling a new level of liberation and freedom. I feel lighter because now I get to focus all of my time and energy back on myself and on my interests.
Online dating is more time consuming than you think. There are so many things to keep in mind. It almost feels like an unspoken art that requires practice and time. So one of my takeaways is that I didn’t realize how much energy and time it would consume. From actually selecting/”liking” the people on the app, to then engaging in conversations, to then meeting in person. It all requires time and energy.
Another takeaway is that your mindset is the most important factor prior to embarking in online dating. Dating takes courage because not only are you facing rejection but meeting potential partners requires some level of vulnerability and understanding. All this to say, you can’t take things personally. If you feel a connection and the other person doesn’t, you have to accept the rejection with grace and keep it moving. If you get ghosted, remember that it has nothing to do with you. You’re better off not dealing with that person anymore anyway. They did you a favor :). Finally, please don’t be the one doing the ghosting. It’s best to send a short message (to the point) if you’re looking to end things with someone.
There’s no guarantees
With all the effort and energy required, at the end of the day, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find “your person.” I’ve met people who’ve been using online dating apps for years and have to take breaks. I hear it’s exhausting, leading to burnout. It’s also expensive for men who are (most of the time) expected to pay for dates. So if you’re thinking about trying online dating, remember that there are no guarantees. It’s best to go into it without expectations. If you do meet your person, it’ll be a pleasant surprise!
There’s another human on the other side of the screen
Another takeaway is that it’s so easy to assume. This is why communication is so important from the very beginning. There is another human on the other side of the screen. A total stranger in fact…so being as understanding and curious as possible goes a long way. I ended up forgetting all of this with my last match. I’m ashamed to say I allowed assumptions to take over instead of following my own advice of over-communicating which led to never meeting in person. I recognized that I was beginning to fall out of my healthy mental space and it was time to walk away from the dating scene. I deleted the apps that same evening.
Don’t settle, sis
My last takeaway is to never settle for less. After being on the dating apps for a few months, I was starting to feel discouraged. I began overlooking some qualities in my matches. I know no one is perfect (including me) and it’s good to be understanding but also remember to listen to the red flags. That’s why I suggest you focus on yourself and get to know yourself fully before entering the online dating scene. This way you’ll be more grounded and confident. Make a list of the qualities you’re looking for in a partner AND make another list of how you want to feel when you’re with them.
Things I learned from online dating
After publishing this post, I realized I forgot to mention a few things I learned from this experience. I’m walking away from all this with more self-acceptance and self-love. For instance, I can cook but it’s not a passion of mine so if a man is looking for a woman who loves spending time in the kitchen, I’ll be the first to tell him it’s not me. And I’m perfectly okay with that.
I also learned that I value punctuality more than I realized. I’m a punctual person myself and realized I need men to not make me wait to begin our first date(s). This dating season has also reignited my love of music (thanks to great recommendations) and I’m back to using it to elevate and enhance my life. I find myself singing out loud to music, something I realized I had stopped doing years ago. So I’m very happy about that.
Lastly, dating different types of men has clarified what I’m looking for in a partner. I also have more clarity around what I want my next relationship to consist of. I tweaked my list of qualities I want my future husband to have 😛 and added feelings I want to feel when I’m with him. All this to say, I feel more grounded and I’m choosing to trust that I don’t need to settle or rush anything for me to find love again. Everything happens in Divine timing!
As a First-Gen Latina navigating the dating scene this has been an interesting experience. I don’t think my parents know I was using dating apps to meet potential partners. As mentioned previously, I didn’t date any men from my same background, which was surprising. Going into it, I thought I would continue looking for a Latino partner but now after this online dating experience, I’m open to dating men from any background. I’ve found that yes, it’s nice to share lived experiences and your culture, but it’s even better to share values and finding a kind man no matter what his background is.
Ultimately, I decided to choose myself and I feel so happy about that. I’m choosing the single life for now and I’m here for it. I met some great guys from using the dating apps that proved to me that there will be more once I’m ready to date again. I had valuable conversations that I’ll cherish and of course, wonderful memories too. All in all, I don’t regret this experience whatsoever. It was fun while it lasted but I don’t see myself going back to using dating apps, anytime soon.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post! Have you used dating apps before? If you’re looking for support in choosing yourself or in getting mentally ready to begin navigating dating, I have space for 2 private coaching clients so book your consultation call here. Feel free to DM me on Instagram at any time with questions or feedback. Also, follow me on Tik Tok! Yes, your girl is on there now. And finally, make sure you sign up for my newsletter so you never miss a blog post or other things I’m up to! Thank you for reading!!
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