Having been single for most of my adult life a lot of people find it surprising that I don’t use dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. Truth be told, my opinion on the world of online dating is something that very few people agree with.
I’ve been single for almost nine years now and I can honestly this is the happiest I’ve been with my relationship status in that time.
Having been single for such a time I do get a lot of comments about it. They’re rarely in a complimentary ‘You’re a tall, handsome and nice man’ kind of way. No, it’s more of a ‘You’re 26 years old! You need to get a girlfriend’ kind of way, as if by law I have to settle down by the time I turn 27.
People have had their say on why they think I’m still single. My standards are too high or my reluctance to take online dating seriously are the two that come up a lot. But funnily enough, very few people consider the truth, which is I’m still single because I choose to be.
I’m not saying I could walk straight into a relationship if I wanted to. That’s certainly not the case. It’s more that I enjoy being single and will continue to enjoy being single until I meet a girl who I want to give up being single for.
Before I jump in with the rest of the post I think it’s worth mentioning that many of my close friends have met their partners on apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, so I don’t doubt they work. This post is simply a story of why I don’t use them and how my mental health is better for it.
My online dating experiences
I’m sure many people will read the title and introduction and think ‘Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it’. Well, I have, but I’d use the term loosely, dabbled is a more accurate word.
My ‘most active’ period of online dating was the year I lived in London. I went on a handful of dates this way and they were what they were, but I quickly knew it wasn’t something I was ever going to get on board with.
I just want to mention that these women I went on such dates with were lovely and it’s nothing they did that put me off the idea. It’s more that I found the whole process of a date arranged online awkward, cringey and, quite simply, not fun. Similar to the episode of Friends where Ross invites Mike over to his apartment to hangout while Phoebe and Rachel go to the bar.
And if it’s not fun – what’s the point?
The dates themselves gave off a job interview vibe. I felt like I was there to sell myself instead of have fun and see where it goes.
I’m no expert on the subject, but I’d imagine fun is an essential factor.
London dating life
Conversely my last date during that year in London was with a girl I met at the bar during Bongo’s Bingo at the Clapham Grand. She was on a hen-do and we got chatting because I saw the sashes and mentioned that I’d just been to Prague for my brother’s stag-do.
Conversation flowed well, I bought her a drink and we laughed at how the barman definitely ripped me off. Shortly after she said she ought to get back to her friends, as I did my own. She gave me her number and we arranged a date for a couple of weeks later.
The dates we had were free-flowing, relaxed and fun. Effectively everything the online ones weren’t. Though we mutually decided to just be friends in the end – which we still are today.
The last two segments probably make it seem like I’m a serial dater, but I assure you that’s not the case.
The difference between the two
There’s a simple question and answer that perfectly sums up why the latter was a more enjoyable experience for me, despite both scenarios ending the same way.
Was I looking for it? No, but I found it.
I never want to find myself in a Jerry Maguire situation where I’m relying on a relationship to feel complete. Setting up a profile and ensuring the information has me come across as an attractive man just echoes a job application in my opinion.
I’ll always say yes to right relationship with the right woman, but I’m not going to actively search for it. I prefer forming new friendships/relationships by doing things I enjoy surrounded by like-minded people.
Simply put, I’m a traditionalist.
I much prefer the old fashioned way of doing things. I’ll often say that I grew up in the wrong decade and would have found life a lot easier if I was raised before the social media era. One thing is certain, if I didn’t have an abundance of friends scattered across the globe whom I met travelling, you wouldn’t see my name on any social media site.
And my traditionalist nature flows into my private life. Which is why I stopped using dating apps some time ago.
I’m a much happier and confident man when I wake up in the morning not knowing what’s going to happen, who I’m going to meet or where I’m going to end up. Which is why I’ll often say those months spent traveling were me in my purest form. All I had was the money I saved, the clothes in my backpack and the air in my lungs – all I needed. I’ve been a less is more kind of guy ever since.
Me and my private life
Spare a moment and take that pure, free version of me and throw him into the pandemic world we have all been living in this past year. Fortunately, the thing I’ve struggled with the most in lockdown alone is boredom. I wake up at 6 and start work at 7, closing my laptop at 4:00pm before moving two feet from my desk to my sofa where I remain for the rest of the day. I usually go to bed already bored of the following day.
With that in mind, a few questions of the rhetorical variety – is that a good state of mind to be in when swiping through dating apps searching for a relationship?
Would it be fair to potentially get a girls hopes up when that’s my attitude going into it? Would it be fair on me if it was the other way round?
I don’t want to be swiping left and right on dating apps – possibly ending up in an unhealthy relationship – due to excessive boredom. Instead, I’ve opted to use my time being single to invest in myself.
I want to come out of lockdown a better, more confident man than I was when it started, ready to embrace whatever life throws at me, instead of trying to force what may seem like an ideal scenario at the time.
Which is why I’m never going back to online dating. I’m going to remain independent and carry on investing in myself and see where that leads me. Although I prefer routine and structure to my days, it’s the spontaneity and uncertainty of life which makes it exciting.
Gandalf from The Hobbit perfectly sums up my thoughts on online dating – “The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there.”
London Marathon 2021
I’m running the 2021 London Marathon for Mind!
If you wish to donate or keep up to date with how my training and fundraising is going you can do so by following the links below.
Fundraising Page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JordanCamp
My blog post about the event
Mind Website: https://www.mind.org.uk