Despite the way movies make it seem, falling in love isn't always easy. There's no magic wishing dust that can fast forward you to the part of your life when you get to marry your perfect match like Jennifer Garner in
13 Going on 30. What you do have, however, are a plethora of apps designed specifically to help you find a new relationship. The thing is, if you choose to go the digital dating route, you're also choosing to go through all the phases of being single and swiping on dating apps — the good, the bad, and everything in between. The journey to the right relationship might be stressful (and perhaps a little boring if you're not a huge fan of dating), but in the end, it's worth it.
From the initial hope you feel when you've just signed up, through the rocky road of being ghosted and going on too many not-so-stellar dates, all the way to the part where you luck out and find a new partner to fall in love with, here are all the stages you'll go through when you leave your dating fate up to your smartphone. Eventually you'll turn a URL connection into an IRL one, but in the meantime, you're just going to have to be patient.
Just Enough Optimism To Get You Started
Whether it's your first time joining a dating app or you've been down this road before, you need at least a little bit of optimism on your side (even if it comes with a healthy dose of cynicism) to even hit the download button in the app store. You'll set up your profile, selecting just the right photos and
carefully crafting the perfect bio to convey your personality, all the while musing over the kind of person you hope you'll meet — not to mention, who you hope to avoid. 02
Constant Curious Swiping
First comes setting up your new dating profile, then comes all the furious swiping. At first, with all your optimism, you'll be so curious you'll pause at almost every profile, passing through each individual photo before making a decision. But after a short while, you'll become a swiping fiend. You'll swipe left and right so often you might not even realize you're doing it until you're served with the wake-up call that is accidentally swiping past someone really cute and losing them to the void forever.
Nervous Messaging With A Side Of Apathy
This is especially true if you're a person who's particularly shy about
sending the first message. Inevitably, all that swiping will lead to a bunch of new matches, and that means it's time to be brave and start drafting up what you want to say. If you find yourself wondering, "Why am I even bothering with this?" within minutes, don't worry, you're not alone. That little bit of apathy is totally normal — it's almost like it's your mind's natural defense mechanism against all the bad pickup lines you're about to start receiving. 04
A Whole Lot Of Eye-Rolling
Maybe you're not getting as many matches as you hoped you would, or maybe you're getting too many who aren't what you're looking for. In any case, you'll know you've moved into Phase Four when you can feel the apathy from Phase Three growing stronger. Symptoms of this phase include uncontrollable sighing, spontaneous eye-rolling, laughter that trails off into disappointment, and the occasional slip of an
"ugh" out loud. 05
That Spark Of Hope When You Match With Someone Cool
Even if you felt it slipping away in the last phase, that optimism you felt at the beginning of your online dating journey is sure to renew itself soon. The second you match with and start talking to someone you're attracted to who seems cool and interesting, you'll feel a glimmer of hope — especially if they ask you out (or accept your invitation to go on a date).
The Tough Reminder That Ghosting Is Still A Thing
Sorry to dash your dreams, but there's no discussing dating apps without mentioning
the reality that is ghosting. It's entirely possible that the cutie you're having a great conversation with today might disappear tomorrow, before you can actually make or go through with any plans. It sucks, but sometimes it just happens, so prepare yourself. 07
Deleting Your Apps Out Of Frustration
It probably won't take long before you find yourself ready to give up on online dating, especially if Phase Six
has been particularly rough and you've been ghosted more than your fair share of times. There's something kind of satisfying about deleting all of your dating apps out of frustration when you just can't be bothered with the stress of it all anymore. You'll tell yourself you won't go back (after all, dating in the real world has to be better than this, right?), but deep down, you know you'll be downloading them again. 08
Attempting To Date In The Real World
The thing about trying to meet people and date IRL is that it's honestly not all that much different from using apps. Both require you to put your best self forward, make small talk, and hope that a conversation turns into a date (and that that date turns into many more). Either way, finding a relationship takes time, and you have to go through a lot of awkward conversations and dates to get there. "At least
on an app I can do this from my couch," you'll remind yourself. 09
Succumbing To Your Apps A Week Later
Is a week enough time to completely write off trying to meet someone IRL? Not quite. Is that going to stop you from hitting up the app store on day seven? Nope. For some reason, not being on at least one dating app when you're actively looking for romance feels like you're not
putting yourself out there enough (even though that's not necessarily true), so before you know it, you're swiping again. 10
Hopefully A Little Luck
The thing that gets you through all the earlier phases? The idea that someday you'll find someone and fall in love. And at the end of the day, love is all about luck and timing. Putting yourself out there — whether that's on an app, IRL, or both — helps a lot for sure, but no matter what, it's a waiting game. Eventually, luck will be on your side, the timing will be right, and next thing you know, you'll be making plans for a first date with someone you're really excited about.
Finally Going On A Great Date, And Making Plans For A Second One
The only thing better than going on an awesome first date? Ending said date with plans for another and realizing you've finally matched with someone you have great chemistry with IRL. (And who is on the same page as you in terms of what you want out of a relationship.) You'll know you've reached this phase when you find yourself doing a happy dance and smiling at your phone every time a text from them pops up.
It might take time, but after all that mindless swiping, you're someday bound to find someone perfect for you. And when you do, you'll be so happy you went along on this journey.
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