It’s February and some of you may be thinking about dipping your toes into the dating pool. Exciting? Yes. Terrifying? Yes! Remember, in our life after loss its’ ok to feel excited AND terrified at the same time. While it may seem quite confusing, there are indeed ways to navigate the world of online dating.
This is a THREE PART Series, so if I wasn’t touched on today, just wait!
I will the the first to say that I am NOT a dating expert. However I am interested in organizing my thoughts and feelings around the logistics of dating, and to that end I’ve harassed a lot of people to share their experiences on both sides of the fence. Men and women both have participated in the guidelines I’m sharing with you today.
Before we begin, you need to understand there is no judgement here. Not for me and not for you. I want you to be informed, and then take that information to make your own decisions. Our sexuality after loss may be different. That’s ok. No matter where you are on the dating or sexuality continuum, I still want you to be safe!
Using the App
When using the app, its helpful to think of it as assembling a team. There are lots of potential players, a draft, cuts, and ultimately the winning player!
- All of the potential players hang out on the field. This is all of the people in the dating site waiting for you to swipe left or right.
- Swiping LEFT usually means no, and there might be an X. Swiping RIGHT usually means yes, and may have a heart or checkmark.
- If you say no, they disappear. If you say yes, they are moved into an area called “matches.” This is like picking potential draftees for your team. There’s quite a few potential candidates, but only some of them will move on!
- You do not have to talk to all of your “candidates” or draft picks. This was a huge relief once it was explained to me. You can pull down a few at a time and chat. See what happens! If it’s a dud, unmatch and pull down another one.
- If conversation has been initiated, then it’s time to chat. Chatting is just chatting. If you don’t click, stop chatting! They’ve only made it to round two!
- Chatting does not mean you are obliged to give out your phone number. You give it out when you are ready! The online platform is a safe space to get to know a little bit more about a person. If they’re pushing, it could be a red flag.
- If you decide you want to move this person to the next round of draft picks, then you can give him/her your number and move the chatting to “off the app.”
- If things don’t work out, you can stop texting. If necessary, you are able to block their number.
- You may be comfortable doing this process with one or more than one person. That’s perfectly fine! I actually encourage you to talk to more than one person at a time.
Terminology You Need to Understand
There are a lot of terms being throw out in the world of online dating that you should be aware of in order to make an informed decision about a possible partner. I don’t even know all of them. Remember, there are no wrong answers, only the answer that is right for you.
Something casual- if a person puts out “something casual” that means they are NOT looking for a relationship. They either want a playmate for the day, friendship, company, or sex.
LTR (Long Term Relationship)- Someone who says they want a LTR is looking for a committed relationship (boyfriend/girlfriend). It may or may not mean they want marriage.
FWB (Friends With Benefits)– This is friends who have sex. It may be monogamous or non monogamous. The attachments of a relationship are missing, however you may enjoy all the attachments of having a great friend to do something with, and have sex. If you are looking for a relationship, this one will not be for you.
Catfishing– This is literally someone pretending to be someone else. It may seem like an amazing person, and then you find out the real person is actually different! They are luring you into an online relationship by means of a fictional persona.
Bucket List- If a potential draft pick tells you he/she is with a partner and they have a “bucket list” item, they’re looking for a threesome and are eyeing YOU to be the third.
Ghosting- Ghosting is when someone that seemed like there was potential suddenly disappears. This may happen soon after you meet, or even a few months afterward! While it hurts, you need to understand that it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with what’s going on in their world!
Hook-Up- A hook-up means you are meeting for the express purpose of having sex. No friends, no relationship, just sex. You’re not “hooking up” to go to lunch!
Kink- Someone who likes things “kinky” may like or explore any of the following: BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance and Submission or Sadism and Masochism) This is a huge category and I can’t even begin to touch on all of the things that could fall under this umbrella. Just know that you need to have open communication with this partner to avoid a world of trouble!
Lifestyle- If someone tells you they are “in the lifestyle” that means they are a swinger.
Love Bombing- Someone who literally bombs you with affection online is highly suspicious. Constant calling, texting, asking to talk on the phone right away are all subversive controlling behaviors.
Sexy Time- It’s a euphemism for sex or anything that happens “in the bedroom.”
Vanilla- If someone ask you if you’re vanilla, or how vanilla are you, they’re not asking about ice cream preferences! It refers to how kinky do you like sexy time. Someone who is 100% vanilla likes sex old school and without much variation. Maybe it’s always on a Saturday night, missionary position with a sequence of events. Vanilla. If someone is, say, 50% vanilla may enjoy that once in a while, but also likes to experiment and play with kink ( I’ll define that next). Just be aware that if someone asks you that, they are probably looking for someone who is adventuresome in the bedroom!
Whatsapp– If someone is asking you to contact them on a non traditional texting mode, it may be a flag that they are a scammer.
These are important things to know regardless of widow or widower. Both complain of the challenges of online dating, and often refer to the common theme of sex and money, either together or separate. I want you to date when YOU’RE ready, and I want you to have your mind and heart organized and ready to navigate this strange new world!