No matter how many heartbreaks and heartaches we go through, our desire to find love never changes.
No matter how many awkward dates we have, the hope that the next will be amazing and will turn out to be our soulmate never fades.
This is why we've agreed to go on dates with the kind-of-cute-if-his-hair-wasn't-the-same-length-as-mine guy from the bar, the barista who knows our morning coffee order by heart and our cat's doctor.
Dating apps have changed the game and now there's a new place for love to be found and awkward dates to be made: Tinder.
Here are the five stages of any and all Tinder dates:
Stage 1: Denial
You sit at the bar, patiently waiting for your date to arrive. You can't believe you've resorted to using Tinder to find love, but you're hopeful. Everyone you know has met their SO on Tinder!
The textual chemistry between you two is so strong you think this could be something amazing.
You check the time, kicking yourself for arriving so early. Picking up your phone, you scroll through Facebook, deleting bad selfies and returning emails from your mom -- anything to make it look like you're not waiting for a blind date.
You begin to psyche yourself out and worry you're not going to recognize them when they arrive, so you decide to take one last look at their photos. You set the contrast on your phone to low and hold it underneath the table, so no one can see. Even though half of New York City uses Tinder, there's still a stigma attached and you don't want strangers judging you.
You scroll through their photos hoping and praying they are who they say they are.
You notice they were active only four minutes ago. Um, WTF? Maybe they're doing the same and checking out your pictures as well? Or, more likely, they're still trolling the app for more matches. As you put your phone down you hear someone say your name.
Stage 2: Anger
You look up to see someone who vaguely resembles the photos you just looked at. Apparently someone recently discovered Photoshop.
They sit down across from you and begin to make small talk, but all you can think about is how you already know they graduated from Columbia with a business degree and have two brothers and a dog named Rex.
You don't dare mention any of this, otherwise they'll know you stalked them ahead of time, so you keep your mouth shut and make a mental note to write Google a thank you.
They're not as cute as their photos and something about their voice seriously irks you. Really? This was the beautiful stranger on the other end of all those late night, early morning, really drunk, text messages?
You grab your drink and try to focus on what they're saying, but you can't shake the fact the two of you already exchanged a fair share of racy texts. Your mother would be so disappointed.
Stage 3: Bargaining
As the date starts to wind down and your buzz from the drinks begin to kick in, you start to debate whether or not you want to kiss them. You've started to convince yourself that maybe the date wasn't so bad and it was endearing how much they texted the whole time you were speaking.
You walk each other to the subway, and standing atop the stairs you stare deeply into each other's eyes. You can literally feel the sexual tension building. Maybe this is the pivotal moment where you fall in love, and you finally realize what Tinder is all about? They grab you by the waist and go in for a kiss.
It's horrendous. The future you had planned for the two of you comes crashing down around you. How can someone go 25 plus years of their life not knowing how to kiss? You close your eyes and pray for it to end quickly.
Stage 4: Depression
You make your way back to your apartment, but not before raiding the bodega on the corner for a sufficient amount of junk food.
As you lie in bed you realize you're more upset you wasted a perfectly good outfit on a bad date rather than the date itself. Dating in Manhattan shouldn't be this difficult. You open up an impressive 700-calorie bag of chips and turn on the TV.
Stage 5: Acceptance
You refuse to rely on some phone app to find love. A relationship should happen organically, not through the internet.
Swearing off online dating for good, you grab the remote and start flipping through the channels. But then, you come across a romantic comedy. You stop and watch as the two main characters fall head over heels for each other, and you wish you had what they had: Love.
Letting out a heavy sigh, you grab your phone and start to swipe.