Tinder Adventures by Katrina Simyab
My recent adventures in online dating started after I found out my boyfriend of three years had been cheating on me for over a year. One afternoon I randomly saw a text on his phone from another woman and that was enough to prompt a full admission from him. He said he had maintained a Tinder account and was sexting with multiple women per month. Although he claimed he never met up with anyone in person, the damage had already been done. As soon as he confessed, I knew I had to confirm my worst fears and so I downloaded the app to try and find his profile. Within minutes of creating my account, I saw it – loaded full of photos that I had taken of him (go figure). I was devastated.
What started as an attempt to confirm infidelity, became one of the most interesting social experiments of my life.
In the weeks that followed, I swam through a RANGE of emotions. Thankfully I had a dream team of friends and family members who invited me to stay with them, took me out for soul-soothing experiences, and talked me through every teary conversation.
I learned a lot about myself in those moments, but mostly I decided that I never wanted to be with someone who didn’t truly value me ever again. I also kept coming back to this realization that a person who I thought I knew turned out to be a complete stranger.
I was with this guy for over three years, lived with him for two, met his entire family, helped him through hard times, went on vacations together, talked every night before bed – and yet he concealed this hidden life from me for over a quarter of our time together.
This kind of “unknowing” made me uncomfortable as someone who loves understanding and stability. But it also sparked my interests in a new and frightening way. If it were possible to never fully connect with someone you truly thought you knew, was the inverse also true? Could I instantly find a new relationship and discover a deep “knowing” with someone I just met? What would happen if I threw caution to the wind and searched for instant human connection in a big and bold way?
So I took the very profile that confirmed the end of my long-term relationship, filled it with photos and a bio that screamed “me”……….and Tinder Adventures was born.
The rules were simple. If I thought a guy had a great bio and interesting photos – I would swipe right. I made my decisions on pure instinct alone. It was less about instant attraction (although some of my options were pretty dreamy) and more about being open to other people that put out “good vibes”.
If we matched up, I would chat with them for a while. If the banter felt right and they suggested a date of any kind – I would say yes without a second worry or thought.
Of course, there was the occasional “you’re hot wanna have sex” (which would lead me to decline and stop talking with them) but those kinds of interactions were surprisingly not the majority. Usually, if someone took the time to message me for a few days, they didn’t tend to blow it by being horny.
In my first week of being a Tinder Adventurer, I matched with a guy who had very similar interests and was super funny in our DMs. After a day of bantering – he asked me to attend his boss’s wedding that was happening the next morning! The vibes felt right, I had nothing to lose and so I said yes.
What took place that Sunday was an experience that I will remember forever.
I showed up at the venue and found “Kevin” waiting outside for me. He was super cute with an impressive man bun and adorable smile. We chatted for a bit before going inside and he seemed just as funny in person.
The moment I entered the building I saw a friend from work, who turned out to be the officiant for the wedding. We were so thrilled to see each other, that I forgot to ask Kevin what the protocol was. Should I tell people we just met 12 hours ago on Tinder? Did he want me to say I was a friend only? As more of his coworkers gathered around someone said “I didn’t know Kevin had a girlfriend’? Without missing a beat a could hear myself saying “I know right? Nice to meet you”! And the fun began.
We talked, ate, danced, laughed, and generally had an amazing time. By the end of the wedding it had come out that we had met on Tinder and to our surprise, we found out the couple who was getting married had also started their relationship on Tinder too.
I think my friend summed it up best as she drunkenly asked me to look around the room. So many of Kevin’s single coworkers had come alone and were standing by themselves or absently talking in groups. Kevin and I were living it up without a care in the world. It didn’t matter that we had met less than a day ago. We were both willing to put ourselves out there, no matter the outcome, and what resulted was a pure human connection that was exciting and fun.
As this and other Tinder Adventures began to transpire, I started telling the dating stories through videos on Instagram. I became overwhelmed with inbox messages from other women who wanted to know more, had their own dating hangups, or questioned how to put themselves out there in the same way.
It was clear to me that romantic connection had become harder in a world of technology, high expectations, worries of offending or mistreating, and pressure to hook up rather than date seriously.
As someone who has spent the last few months being as open and honest as possible with strangers, let me tell you what I’ve learned.
At the end of the day, we all want to find a person whom we feel “gets us”. We go about the process of finding said partner by hiding parts of who we are behind screens, formalities, fear, expectations, and social norms. There is pressure to follow rules, not seem too eager, have the right pedigree, lock it down, and sex it up.
This obsession with correct connection is what keeps us distant from others. We stop learning how to trust our gut on who we should be letting into our lives and instead focus on popular opinion, protecting our feelings, and eagerness to connect to anyone instead of the right ones.
Know what you deeply crave in a relationship and live that desire. Every date doesn’t have to be magic. Each potential partner may not be the one. But an ability to go with the flow, live boldly, and look for greatness will get you far. Allow yourself to date with abandon and search for a real connection with humans who project your kinda vibes. You will know who these people are because you will feel the honest spark.
Kevin and I have since texted, but haven’t gone on another date. While there was definitely a connection, I am currently enjoying new Tinder Adventures. I treasure our date as a reminder that good things can happen when you let them and every connection doesn’t have to lead to romance. They can simply make life worth living and laughing about. Find out about my next adventure on Instagram @inspoandco.
I chose Tinder because it was easy to use and seemed low-key compared to some of the other dating apps I had tried. I wasn’t looking to start up a serious relationship but wanted to meet interesting people. I was scared at first that I would only match with men wanting to hook up, but quickly found that there are a variety of people on the app ranging from those seeking long-term relationships to only looking for friends.
After chatting with a match for a day, he asked me if I wanted to be his date for a wedding. We had only known each other for 12 hours, but I said yes! The vibes felt right and we had an AMAZING time eating, talking, and celebrating with the happy couple. Because I knew what I was looking for, it was easy to tell if someone shares my carefree approach to dating. Which means less stress for both of us and a more honest human connection.
I set an intention of simply having fun and getting to know people. If I’m not feeling a similar vibe from a potential date, we don’t meet up. I think it’s silly to put so much pressure on finding a romantic partner. I put myself out there honestly and believe that people who are attracted to that will find me. I might rack up more matches if I follow all the social rules surrounding dating culture, but I would rather have quality over quantity. Not everyone is going to get my specific blend of goofy/great and I am TOTALLY ok with that.