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    I Just Got Back Into The Online Dating Game, And I Already Want To Get Out Of It

    The dating world right now is unlike anything I’ve experienced before.

    Hi! I’m Fabiana, and I recently got back on dating apps after being off them for a year. And if you’re in a similar boat, you’ll understand just how weird and wild the online dating scene is right now.

    To give some backstory on my love life, I broke up with my ex-boyfriend right at the beginning of the pandemic.

    E! / Via giphy.com

    Considering that the world was suddenly in lockdown and I was trying to figure out my life (aka living and job situation), I figured it made sense to stay single for a bit.

    I have a pattern of being in long-term relationships, so after ending my previous one, I really wanted to give single life a shot, whatever that really meant during COVID-19 times.

    TLC / Via giphy.com

    I vowed to use this time to focus on myself, try to heal from past relationships, and just overall do my own thing without worrying about entertaining another guy.

    The first two months of living the single life, I actually felt really empowered.

    Fast-forward to January of this year, and I felt like I was in a better head space and ready to get back into the dating game. I was prepared to meet guys for virtual dates or a possible pandemic-safe outdoor dining situation.

    First stop: dating apps. This wasn’t going to be my first rodeo on dating apps because I was on them a few years ago — and even met my ex on an app. But I started slow and applied to be on the League, a somewhat "exclusive" app that gives you three potential prospects each day to sort through.

    This is the app's main page while your day's "prospects" are loading.
    Fabiana Buontempo / Via The League

    Although the League sells itself on its exclusiveness, I personally didn't think the matches were of higher or different quality compared with other dating apps — aside from knowing that the person has a stable job. Some guys I matched with on there never even messaged me.

    After getting my feet wet on the League, I then downloaded the tried-and-true Hinge — an app that matches you with friends of friends.

    The author's dating profile on Hinge
    Hinge / Via Fabiana Buontempo

    I had experience with Hinge in the past, and although I am picky, after a week or so, I actually had a few matches and chats going on at the same time on the app. It was fun, a little ego boost — and a little online flirt never hurt anybody, right?

    After a few matches and back-and-forth chats with guys talking about our dogs, I realized that dating during COVID was and is just as weird as I expected it to be.

    Robert E. Blockman / Via giphy.com

    I quickly learned that some people are on these apps just until they can wild n' out when the lockdown lifts. Others are on them out of boredom, and some are actually looking to make a connection with someone. Another element to all of this is wondering if the other person has been safe with COVID. Do they actually wear a mask? Do they regularly get tested? Have they lied about their test results? Normally, single people wonder and have to ask these types of questions about STDs. Now we're adding a global virus into the mix.

    After a few months of getting my dating feet wet, I'm now at the point where my friends and I trade funny stories to see who has experienced the most bizarre dating scenario.

    Fabiana Buontempo / Via Hinge

    Let's be real here: My experience with dating so far has been unsuccessful, and aside from trying to meet a person who meets my dating standards, I have encountered too many guys who are doing the bare minimum when it comes to effort. BARE. MINIMUM. And the conversations are just boring.

    For example, one guy I matched with early on — who said he was six years older than I am — set the bar low.

    Pop TV / Via giphy.com

    We went from the app to texting to get to know each other. When he said his favorite show was MTV: The Challenge and asked me if I’ve seen the second season of Jersey Shore yet, I should’ve read the room.

    Still, we decided to FaceTime that night instead, and to my surprise, he looked years older than he had claimed he was on the app. The video chat was also weird, and aside from my not feeling the chemistry, he asked me questions such as, “How fast do you move sexually?” after I told him I don’t have sex on a first date. That's when I debated throwing my phone out the window. 😑

    Let’s just say, we hung up and I immediately deleted the guy’s number. I went back to the app to find out that the guy had unmatched me. Well, he beat me to it!

    There was also the guy who kept referring to me as his "pen pal" — and another who quickly moved from chatting in the app to watching all my Instagram stories.

    Nick / Via giphy.com

    He'd just creep on my stories and send heart eyes here and there. I've also noticed that some guys are very chatty on the app, and once the conversation moves to texting, they give one-word answers. Why did they bother asking for my number if they don't know how to keep a conversation going?

    Or the guy who was a no-show to a FaceTime that he scheduled via an early-morning wake-up text.

    Screenshot of chat about his dog dying and that's why he was too upset to FaceTime and her saying she understands, but "a quick text even an hour beforehand would've been appreciated"
    Fabiana Buontempo

    This guy I matched with and flirted with asked for my number. He seemed to check off a lot of my boxes, so I was up for seeing where it went. He then texted me at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday to schedule a FaceTime date. I agreed to chat with him later that night, and about an hour before we were supposed to talk, I confirmed with him to make sure we were still on. He never texted back, and 6 p.m. came and went. Later that night, he texted me saying one of his two dogs died the night before and he was too distraught to have a call.

    Imagine how far my jaw fell to the ground when I read that excuse. The funny thing is, he never mentioned having another dog during our texting, and if his dog actually died the night before, why did he text me so early the next day, eager to do a FaceTime? He couldn’t lift his fingers to send a quick cancel text?

    Classic ghosting seems to be more prevalent in pandemic times, too.

    SNL / Via giphy.com

    Or the classic, “Hey, what’s up? Let’s hang out!” and I’ve barely exchanged a few words with the person, so you know that's just a wanted hookup.

    For a while, I was using both apps at the same time and kept getting discouraged. So I have since deleted Hinge and have decided to just stick with the League.

    Debby Ryan / Via giphy.com

    I found myself mindlessly swiping through guys on Hinge for hours, and to be honest, none of my matches or conversations on there have gone anywhere...not even on a single date. Using one dating app at a time seems to be best for me right now.

    Anyway, it’s a bizarre world out there in the distanced-dating scene. If you, too, are going through this with dating, just know you’re not alone.

    HBO / Via giphy.com

    Dating is tricky to navigate — especially during a pandemic. My best advice is to know your dating intentions before trying to meet someone, and just be up front about it.

    As for me: Will I get discouraged from these dating app experiences? No. I’ll continue to focus and put my energy into working on myself and just laugh at the bizarre dating world right now while I try to navigate it all.

    Have you had any luck with dating apps or dating during the pandemic? Share your tips and tricks (or your horror stories 🙃) in the comments below!