Everyone I knew was talking about Tinder, so to conquer my extreme FOMO, I downloaded it. At first I wasn’t all that into it, but over time I started using it as an easy and shallow way of feeling validated by guys—and it actually worked.
I started to see Tinder as a game.
How many matches could I get in 50 swipes? 100 swipes? How many matches could I get in a night? Every match I received gave me this intense rush of satisfaction and confidence that I never experienced before I downloaded Tinder. Sure, I’m confident without Tinder. I have my bursts of extreme self-confidence and days where I walk with my head held high, but the app gave me validation on things I already liked about myself and things I had a little trouble appreciating. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and acceptance through the simple task of swiping right.
The more I matched with guys, the more beautiful I felt.
The continuous conversation I had with myself regarding my looks sounded like this: “I’m beautiful, right? I know I’m beautiful…right?” With Tinder, that question was immediately answered by the ding of a new match—especially if the match had professional photos, a high-end job, or the word “entrepreneur” on his profile. I would think, “Of course I’m beautiful. This kind of man wouldn’t have swiped right on me if I wasn’t!” and promptly move on to the next match.
I loved to see what type of men liked me.
It was fascinating to see what kind of men saw my profile full of perfectly posed photos and witty remarks and considered me someone they would want to get to know. I was always interested in the type of men who liked me. If they liked me, I could find something attractive about them. Still, I used those men to validate myself. The more traditionally attractive, professional, and doting the men were, the better I felt about myself. If I attracted a certain kind of man, I saw myself as a certain kind of woman—the kind of woman who made a place for herself anywhere, even on dating apps.
I never replied to messages.
Very soon after I downloaded Tinder, I completely stopped replying to messages. I’d have a string of messages from multiple men wondering where I’d gone and if I was still around, but I didn’t care. Swiping left or right was the only part of Tinder I participated in. I didn’t ask for numbers, favorite foods, or movie dates. I swiped and raised the amount of matches I had from double to triple digits. My self-confidence skyrocketed with every new addition.
I never considered going out with my matches.
I told myself I didn’t want to go on dates with my matches simply because of the risk. So many women go missing after online dates and I was terrified of that. Still, deep down I never considered going out with any of my matches simply because that wasn’t what I felt I needed at that point in my life. I needed someone to validate my beauty, my personality, my humor, and my attractiveness.
My location preference was set to the max: 100 miles.
Let’s be honest, does anyone ever actually end up dating someone who lives 100 miles away? Does anyone drive two or three hours just for dinner with someone they find attractive but have never met? Setting my Tinder location preference as high as it would go was the most unrealistic thing I could have done. That’s how I knew I was never planning to go on dates or even meet the men I matched with. I didn’t want anything to escalate past the safety and validation the app gave me.
I took my need for validation too far.
I didn’t need to be wined and dined by a man to feel good about myself, I needed validation that feeling good about myself was allowed and/or expected. When women that society considers “ugly” feel good about themselves, the world finds it unsolicited or abnormal. I took care of my hair and skin, I read poetry every morning, I was working on eating cleaner. But I still needed validation that the confidence I often had was earned.
I wanted to be a goddess.
While using Tinder, I didn’t care if a man on the street or a waiter at my favorite restaurant found me attractive. I wanted to be a goddess in the eyes of men. I wanted to be a sex symbol, an alluring, interesting, magnetic, drop-dead-gorgeous potential partner. With my perfectly chosen Tinder profile photos, I could be that for a somewhat significant amount of Tinder users, even if the woman in the photos wasn’t the woman I was every day.
Loving everything about yourself is hard.
I love myself, but that doesn’t always come easy. Still, hearing that my body looks great in a certain pair of jeans or that I have pretty skin from a match on Tinder boosts that self-love to an all-time high. Compliments from my matches, or just receiving a match in the first place, made me love myself even more. Using Tinder was a placebo for loving myself. As much as I enjoyed popping that pill, I needed to take a big dose of reality.
So, I deleted Tinder.
The app was becoming an unhealthy obsession that mirrored my lack of self-respect and assuredness. Finally, I learned how to make myself feel good without the assistance of a dating app or men in general. If I think I’m beautiful, I am beautiful! I don’t need a man, or an app, telling me so. There have been moments, of course, when I’ve wanted to re-download out of sheer boredom or a bad day, but I’ve resisted. There are much better things to do with my time and energy.
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