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Dating on Tinder

The 1 Thing I Wish I'd Known Before Using Tinder

In 2015, my New Year's resolution was to find love. I was turning 23 years old and it dawned on me that I'd never been in a serious relationship. I couldn't figure out why I hadn't been able to settle down with anyone, but for the sake of not wasting time dwelling on it, I decided to be proactive about my situation and push myself into the dating scene. Little did I know, I was about to receive way more than I bargained for.

As with a majority of millennial singles, I turned to Tinder to help me out. I quickly realized that if I was going to be successful at this, I had to put my best foot forward. I tweaked my profile with a witty yet approachable introduction and uploaded the best selfies I could find in my iPhone photo gallery. I just knew potential suitors would be lined up at my home screen . . . except they weren't.

Which leads me to another point: I don't think people give dating apps enough credit. There's a true commitment you have to give in order to make connections online. It's not as easy or glamorous as those commercials make it look. Most times I would meet guys who were only interested in sex (not surprising), and occasionally I'd meet guys who genuinely seemed interested in LTR, an acronym for long-term relationships in the online dating world.

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In June, I finally received a message from Mr. Right. He had everything that I thought I wanted in a guy. He was tall, dark, and handsome. He was educated and had a great job as a high school coach, his own place, and his own car. He was big on family, super kind, and did I mention he was looking for love? We had many hours-long phone calls that ended only once the sun came up. He even cooked for me on our first date. He was perfect.

But I didn't want to date him. Even with all of his amazing qualities, I still felt like something was not right. I always had this Disney fairy-tale idea in my head of what would happen once I met my prince charming. He would sweep me off my feet and everything would feel complete. And yet that didn't happen. There was still a void I felt in my heart. And I finally discovered what the missing piece to the puzzle was.

Dating him raised insecurities in me that I hadn't properly addressed before. I found myself so caught up in his perfection that I started to question if I was good enough. The truth was, before Mr. Right came along, I had lost confidence in myself. How could I be open to the idea of someone loving me if I did not believe I was worthy enough to be loved? With that mindset, I pushed Mr. Right away. Don't feel bad for me, though. That experience led to the best crash course I've ever taken:

How to Fall in Love With Myself 101

People often speak of self-love as this mystic thing you learn over time, but I believe self-love is innate from birth. It is only once we begin to learn the world and believe the things we are taught, such as societal standards of beauty or what it means to be successful and/or how to fit in with the norm, that we start to gain self-doubt and lose self-esteem. After acknowledging this, I started practicing self-love by telling myself these daily affirmations in the mirror that made me feel good:

  1. "You are good enough just as you are."
  2. "You deserve to love and be loved."
  3. "Your value as a human being does not increase nor decrease based on whether someone sees your greatness. What matters most is what you think of you."

Slowly but surely I understood that in order to truly fall in love myself, I'd have to embrace every aspect of me: the good, the bad, and the ugly. And it was scary. If Instagram has taught us anything, it is easier to admire the filtered part of ourselves, but that is not the whole image of who we are. I had to face my insecurities and alter the way I thought of my flaws because, frankly, those are the things that make me who I am. This was the beginning of me becoming my biggest fan. I wanted to like me, again. This time, I'd be my own knight in shining armor.

"I am not looking for my other half because I am not a half — I am whole"

That quote sums up the essence of my journey to self-love. It underlines the importance of being completely satisfied with myself before I seek relationships in others. My new goal is to be so full with self-love that I won't need anyone to complete me. I hope to meet someone who is also filled to capacity with self-love so that when our love is combined, it will spill over in abundance.

As I enter 2016, single and eager to see what this new year has to offer me in the dating department, I'll always look back on 2015 with sweet memories knowing that I did achieve my resolution of finding love; I found love within me.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne
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