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an-experience dating-app emotions ghosting

Quitted the dating apps then ghosted… But it’s an experience

Quitted the Dating Apps then Ghosted… But it’s an Experience

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

I feel… no longer anxious from lack of contact? Since I’m keeping busy

I finally decided to stop dating apps… actually I stopped doing the dating apps the day after I wrote my other story about dating apps from my perspective. My brain had gone into a short-circuiting mode. I was exhausted. My brain and my eyes felt fatigued as if I had just gone to the mall with my parents. That wasn’t a fun experience. ☹️

The men I’ve had contact with, by messages… although I’m not confident yet to video chat with a stranger unless it’s for an interview

I’ve met some very kind, funny and ambitious men on there as well as the… well… not too decent men (which was scary to me), as well as maybe intimidated some men because of how I consider everything when thinking about problems that we talk about (like running a fencing club or texting about science) and it’s taught me how to manage things through texts without having to ghost someone if possible. And I’ve also learned what ghosting is too! 😜 So I’m treating it as a learning experience! It was fun while it lasted, but now that I look at it, it was also a way to socialize due to quarantine (but slightly a waste of time for me as of now). I had ended up exchanging numbers with three people. One of them who was actually from my University invited me to hot pot. He seemed to be a fun and outgoing person from our small conversations, and caring as well! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to meet up with him (but he wished me luck) since I’m moving soon to a new area, which I’m excited since I’ll have new opportunities to put my research skills into applications that can benefit people… that is… if I hear back from the research labs (still waiting for responses from my interviews…) and get accepted… 😅

Another guy who I had exchanged numbers with was someone who was messaging me on the dating app and then I had told him that I would be deleting my account, and he asked for my number. So I gave it to him. He was also a scientist, and he was very kind. (He even offered to help me move, but I declined since I don’t have too much stuff.) I ended up telling him that I wasn’t ready to date. He thanked me for not ghosting him and I told him that after I moved if he wanted to, we could meet up in real life. And he said that was a good idea. He also said that he’d be happy to send me pictures of his cat since his kitten is adorable, fluffy and seems really photogenic for a cat 🤣. And I laughed and agreed. I do feel sorry for the guy, but it’s the truth. I have a thesis to finish, exams and certifications to study for, and possibly a virus to familiarize myself with and learn as much as I can about it before I dive into working with it if I get the chance.

The third guy, the guy who was one of the first people whom I talked to before we started lockdowns in the states, about two weeks ago, ghosted me. We had been texting each other back and forth for three months… well… technically two and a half months and it seemed fun. I realized something was up when he started taking forever to text back a few weeks back. Although he said that he was busy… I don’t think it should take over a week to look at a message… but I could be wrong (probably am… as usual). People are busy, and we all have our priorities. But what hurt was that this guy was kind and encouraging, and it felt genuine. He’d always ask what I was doing and I’d be able to share that bit of excitement with him. He’d often ask me about projects or exams and presentations that I had coming up and text me before and after with a cheer/encouragement and then ask how I felt afterward. I opened my life up to him through texts. And it was nice. Being able to share my daily quarantine adventures of a graduate student with a… a potential? Pen pal maybe? And he’d tell me his schedule, and tell me it was the same thing each week. He had sent me a few pictures of his two cats and they looked so cute. I built up the confidence and sent him videos of me stretching since he said his back hurt. Or a photo of an origami star that I’d fold the night before just to cheer him on for his busy week. (I’m trying to fill a jar right now and it’s something to give my eyes a break from staring at the screen for too long. It’s so fun! But only one star each week.) The other day, knowing that he ghosted me, I still decided to send him a final message, telling him I wasn’t ready to date since I had things to focus on and thanking him for the kindness and encouragement that he had sent me. I don’t know if he’ll ever see it, to be honest, but sending him that message made me feel closure. I teared up a bit (just a small bit) as I was sending it to him, but I felt better afterward like a rock had been lifted from my heart. Maybe he was being genuine, when he sent me those encouraging texts, maybe not? I’ll never know. But one thing’s for sure: it was an experience, it was fun and took me on a bit of a daydream while it lasted, and I’ve opened up to a stranger about my life.

But no more dating apps… it’s too much information for my brain to process for now and it hurts. I told a close friend about it over the phone yesterday and she said that it was good that I felt better after I sent that closing text to the guy. Then I said, “Hee hee! I’m going to stay single for the rest of my life!” (In a joking manner~). And she responded that it wasn’t healthy thinking like that. (🤫 Shhh. No one tell my parents I said that! They’d be awfully upset.) She asked me if I wanted to cry, and I told her “No tears were produced in the process, just a bit of fatigue and slightly sad, but I guess it’s normal! Besides, I have a stuffed round panda to keep me company!” But then my friend was curious as to why I turned to dating apps, so I told her that since I’d never dated before and that well… as someone about to go into my mid-20’s, most, if not, all of my friends are either in a relationship, or about to be married, or are married and I just kind of wanted to be in a relationship, to be able to share my adventures and happiness with someone, as well as be able to be by their side, and support them if they ever had hardships. So it was something that I was willing to try out. Another reason was that a few other friends had kind of threw the suggestion around and one almost decided to make a profile for me (but I managed to stop her), but I tried it, because… I’m just a curious scientist.

To the people who do ghost… please don’t. It’s a cruel thing to do. Sure. I know that my single tiny vocal voice can’t change your mind, let alone make a dent in your conscious, but being an emotional human, don’t do it, because mentally, for some people, it can be stressful or painful even, and for the brain to be processing that, well… it activates the pain pathways of the brain (physical and emotional) as Dr. Vilhauer states. And knowing humans, we tend to do anything to avoid that sort of pain with our brain setting up a defense mechanism to protect ourselves from hurt, or we turn to activities to distract us from the pain (like indulging on chocolate or ice cream, which boosts norepinephrine and dopamine levels). So unless the person steps your boundaries, is creepy, and/or is disrespectful, and activates your sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight response), a simple “I’m not interested” text, or “I’m not ready to date” text is good, rather than just completely dropping off from the face of the Earth… unless… you’ve suddenly contracted SARS-CoV2, cancer, or well… was in an accident, and/or passed away 😢. If person Y on the other end doesn’t react well to this and proceeds to maybe attack you with text messages… then that speaks something about the person and their logical thinking and emotional control as well… so maybe person X can block person Y… (just my personal opinion though).

And to the people who are probably thinking “But you’ve never met this guy in real life. How is this ghosting?!” I personally feel like it is. You’ve opened up to another human. You’re sharing pictures of the foods you cook or order, and what your daily life is like, and your brain’s reward circuitry activates when you’re talking to someone new, exciting, cute, and a possible potential. You’re also investing time getting to know what this person might be like until a screen chat or an actual coffee/food meet up. It’s mentally taxing since the brain’s acquired one more set of tasks, but it’s also not mentally taxing since you’re meeting a new person whom you’d want to maybe share your life with.

So please. Even if it is painful to be direct, it should be better that way, so that way the other person on the other end doesn’t have to be mentally or emotionally exhausted, and that they know, “oh… you’re really not interested anymore.” Time isn’t wasted waiting on a reply to that last text you sent, and you also learn to make yourself a bit emotionally stronger and more confident… just try not to be arrogant or rude about it, please!


Quitted the dating apps then ghosted… But it’s an experience was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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curiosity dating-app exploration loneliness

Dating apps During a Pandemic: Not my Cup of Tea… But… I Think as a Scientist…

Photo by satria eleazar on Unsplash

If you’ve read my introduction on me, I’m one of possibly thousands, tens of thousands or more, who have slowly poked our heads into the online dating realm, looking for a conversation to curb loneliness, or looking to find our possible significant other. I joined since I was a bit curious about the dating apps (and dating), but as the two months (almost three months) of self-isolation and communication with people of the opposite gender, I’ve come to a few observations from this personal adventure, being someone who sticks to a scientist mindset.

1. It’s a bit mind-numbing…

So I ended up using the “Coffee Meets Bagels” app since I seem to enjoy the format of it. To me, it feels aesthetically pleasing and you can pick and choose prompts (although limited to three or four prompts as well as word count) to describe yourself or your thought processes. But once I jump to the section/tab of the “swipe-left-for-reject”/”swipe-right-for-accept” (which in this case, it’s a “message/chat bubble” button, a “heart” button (for a like), and an “X” button (for a dislike/reject), I feel bombarded with descriptions or even the lack of descriptions from the opposite sex, plus many “interesting” pictures of sorts or lack of thereof. My neurons may have overloaded in the presynaptic terminal as they were about to release neurotransmitters to the post-synaptic terminal…

2. The profiles of many

As I swipe right (press “heart” button) and swipe left (press “X” button) or receive likes, I view the many pictures but will read the descriptions of the person carefully, no matter how cute/handsome he is. If they don’t offer much or any description, then I’m sorry, but I will dislike you, unless you message me, read my profile (since I’ve written a lot), and strike up a conversation, not just the boring every day “Heyyy”… without anything else. (Psst! Also that’s spelled wrong… and I like men with proper grammar and spelling!) I don’t seem to understand. There are many profiles that are appealing (I have an age limit though… go beyond that age limit of five years, then no. Pass. But I will do my best to be kind and tell you I’m not interested), but why is it that people don’t seem to put any effort in their profile? It’s a curious thing. Sure. It feels like a job interview in writing, but in my personal opinion, it doesn’t hurt to write just a little bit more. (Just a bit more? Pretty, pretty, panda please?)

༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ

3. Respect

I don’t like to block people. I really don’t. Because it doesn’t feel polite to me.

I definitely DO NOT ghost people (friends), because (also since I’ve never been ghosted before, but I’ve read about it) it’s hurtful, and it’s not polite. Although friendships may fallout with time since life happens, that may depend on the individual though.

But if you cross/disrespect the boundaries in which I have already set (as well as warned you about), then I will tell you along the lines of a straight-forward rejection and then block you. I have blocked someone for the third time already, ( 😅 I like numbers, and yes I’ve been keeping track). I had told them previously I wasn’t interested. And they decided to not only cross the line, but also use some harsh words (not cursing or anything, but slight sarcasm that was rude). So I blocked them. Two other times that I’ve blocked people was because they used the word “K”. I understand that people are busy. But, if you constantly bombard me with texts that have no value like, “How’s studying?” (Um… don’t ask every second of the day… please don’t! 🤯) “Hello? You should answer me?” every one to two hours, that personally feels a bit overwhelming to me. (Also… how do you reply to that?). So I told them to try to text me less since I had exams to focus on/research to focus on, and they reply with “K”. … Um… Well… sorry, but maybe an “OK”/“Okay”, would have been better (since ‘K’ felt a bit rude to me). A guy friend of mine, who is a brother to me, had told me many times that if anyone who was a potential for dating texted that to him, he wouldn’t be happy. He would feel extremely disrespected. And in a way, I guess his words kind of affected me as well. So… no… pass.

4. The guy who says “Heyy” every day…

Um… I suppose that’s just how some people are? I guess? 😅 But to me, that’s a waste of my time, and also I don’t think my neurons that need to make new connections with its neighboring (short- or long-distance) neurons would appreciate it. I like to have conversations with people about travel, about science (brains, viruses, pathology, genetics and some topics that I need or can learn more about), culture, or maybe something new they learned at work/teleworking, about their passions, what they like to do/ what they’re cooking, or maybe exchange recipes. Or talk about if they have pets, what are they, and what their pet’s/pets’ personalities are, and what sort of schedule they have for the week, or what “exciting” or normal thing are they doing? Okay… maybe that’s a bit boring for some people, but I’m still learning how to communicate? (I think? Although my mom says otherwise…). But just “Heyy.” It doesn’t warrant anything. It’s not engaging, and its a waste of time to me. Have a question in mind. Have a goal as to why you want to communicate with me. We’re adults, not children who just poke around and laugh and repeat the same cycle like trials one, two, three and so forth.

5. Men are shocked that I’ve never dated before nor been in a relationship before… 😱

So my parents have always told me “No dating! Dating is a waste of your time. You need to focus on school!” So that’s what I did. Although I’ve had a crush on someone before, but that’s normal. I’ve just focused with school and worked hard. Until I started graduate school, then they started asking the once in a while question of “Do you have someone you’re interested in? 😏” (My parents… They are silly sometimes…)

So when I tell people I’ve never been in a relationship before, they tend to be shocked. I’ve had people flatter me. And it feels a bit strange, almost cringing, when a stranger who’s just connect to me on the dating app and the first words that come on the message screen is “Wow. You’re beautiful. I’m surprised you’ve never dated before.”

Um…*Slowly backs away as she stares at the phone for a second,trying to process the sentence. Her cardiovascular system may have just induced a slight arrhythmia that leads to a heart attack…* Ruth has died.

😑 I personally don’t do well with compliments nor flattery. It makes the ends of my hairs stand up. Since I’m not sure if the person on the dating app has good or bad intentions. Unless we’ve talked for some time and I’ve chatted with you and gotten to know you better and then you say “Aw! You’re cute!” Then I’d definitely blush as if I were a princess from a Disney movie or some individual from a Korean drama.

6. Please read my profile!

This is the last point of my observation and is directed towards many who may approach me (or might have approached me on the dating apps). It’s a bit frustrating for me… especially since I like to read before I approach anything… well… with some exceptions to the rule…

Please read my profile. Don’t just look at my pictures and think I’m either catfishing you (although… Isn’t it possible that many will be catfishing each other once we’re finished with quarantine? Since some may have had some physical changes to their body, like weight/health changes or maybe even hair (one of my friends says he needs a haircut…) or eyesight (I think that might be me… from reading or staring at the screen for too long… facial care too). And also don’t just think, “Aw, she looks cute!” *Presses ‘heart’ button* or “Oh… she looks… horrible!” *Presses “X” button*. And then proceed to asking me “What are you doing on this dating app?” (Once again… please read my profile 😅). Yes… The saying “Pictures are worth a thousand words” is true. But that’s also not the whole story, since some people may not have the best pictures, but have amazing personalities and are kind, even if you do reject them. I tend to be a quiet person most of the time, but I’m straight-forward, can text better than talk sometimes and I like to write a lot… Although… my thesis… that’s a challenge… but I’m working on it…

I’m quiet and I’m an introvert too, but I love listening to conversations and pick out intriguing details to discuss. My friends can all testify to this.

But really. Read as well as give some details too… Isn’t that why there’s a dating profile?

So my conclusive results thus far?

It’s a bit (just a bit) exhausting for me. My neurons seem to be constantly firing summation action potentials because of it since there’s so much information for me to process. I have spoken to a few interesting individuals, from topics of fencing (the sport where you poke people or… brutally rush at someone, screaming and slashing to get a point), to their occupations or what countries they’ve lived/traveled to, and its an eye-opening experience. In a way, it’s nice, since I’ve met two people whom I’m interested in, and am looking forward to meeting them both in person (one of whom I’ve been texting for almost two months now since quarantine started, and he seems to be a very kind, silly and supportive individual and has two kittens). Also, dating apps have taught me how to kindly reject people/leave strange conversations, and learn that some people, may not respect your rejection kindly. But that’s just human. We’re just such complex beings. (And yes.. my parents were always the over-protective type.)

Well… Once the final month of my subscription on the dating app ends… I think I’ll take a break and see what happens! It’s been interesting thus far. But I think I need to just step back… just for a moment…


Dating apps During a Pandemic: Not my Cup of Tea… But… I Think as a Scientist… was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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