Audio Version Available
I’m almost 30 and I have been on dating apps since graduating from university.
Over the past few years since I’ve graduated, my social circle has shrunk. It doesn’t help that my own circle of friends can’t find anyone in their friend groups to introduce me to (thanks a lot, guys!).
So, like many other overworked, under-socialised Singaporeans my age, I turned to dating apps to expand my dating pool.
At first, even the idea of using a dating app was quite daunting, I had no experience with online dating and wasn’t sure what I wanted out of it.
Do I want to find someone to settle down? Or do I want to keep my options open and just see how things flow?
Not gonna lie, over countless times of swiping right, I’ve accumulated a fair amount of war stories – or should I say ghosting stories? And here are three things I’ve learned along the way:
Know what dating is: Be open to opportunities
I have friends who were strongly anti-dating app, but caved after a while.
They were worried that they wouldn’t be able to find someone “their type”, or worse, find someone they liked but ended up getting swiped left by that person.
My advice to them was to try it anyway, and even if they couldn’t find a partner, that was okay. Even if it didn’t work out, at least they know that they’ve tried.
Better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all!
Another one of my friends told me that she hoped to find someone who looks like Jackson Wang. I told her: “Let’s be real, there aren’t many Jackson Wang or Bella Hadid lookalikes in the world!”
Brutal. I know.
But dating is all about managing your expectations. Sometimes, all you need is to give the other person a chance and have a chat with them. Who knows, you may end up seeing the “Jackson Wang” in them!
I’ve got another friend who ended up dating a friend of the original person she swiped right on. Moral of the story? You never know what could happen.
So, don’t be too quick to swipe away the person who swiped right on you even if they are not your “usual type”. Set aside your judgy lens, go out there and make new friends!
Know who you’re dating: Watch out for scammers
I cannot emphasise this more.
There are tons of scammers lurking in dating apps.
These scammers usually start off very friendly but you’ll slowly see their true colours. Nowadays, I’m usually able to spot which profiles are scammers but even after years of using these dating apps, I still get suckered sometimes.
What to look out for?
Typically, I get the scammer-vibe when I see heavily-Photoshopped or filtered photos, as well as incomplete profile info. Some of these scammers also try to hint (or outright show) that they come from a rich family or have an expensive hobby. The key to spotting these scammers is to be patient and not over commit to anything – especially on finances!
Once, I swiped right on a guy and after some initial conversation, he asked me to download an investment app and tried to convince me that he could teach me how to get good returns on that app.
In true scammer fashion, he projected the estimated returns that I could get. Then he claimed that in order to proceed, I would need to make my first investment transaction before he can share with me the other steps to secure the full amount.
You may be wondering if I did end up making the transaction. Don’t worry, I didn’t. Thanks SPF for all the Scam Alert posters!
I had figured out from the start that it was a scam profile, but I was curious and decided to troll the scammer to see what he really wanted and learn more about the scamming process.
In the end, I confronted him and the scammer deleted the account immediately. Not before I reported him to Scam Alert SG though!
If any of your single friends talks about a dating profile that gives you scammer-vibes, point out the tell-tale signs (sometimes, an objective third-person view helps) and get the account reported.
Know why you’re dating: Avoid situationships
I was chatting with a few of my colleagues in their 40s a couple of days ago and mentioned the word “situationship” to them.
I wish I could have snapped a photo of their confused faces – they’ve never heard of that term before.
You see, for my Gen X and boomer friends, dating “statuses” are simple. You see someone you are attracted to, you ask them out. You date casually at first and if it feels right, you “go steady” and boom – you’re in a relationship.
Situationship is a term that has surfaced in the past few years.
So, what is it exactly? According to psychotherapist and author, Jonathan Alpert, a situationship is that space between a committed relationship and something that is more than a friendship.
Ironically, a situationship is characterised by its lack of clarity. It’s not exclusive. Communication is superficial. It blows hot and cold. It can be… frustrating.
I tried to explain this to my older friends and their consensus was: “Why y’all so complicated?”
Yes, why do we have to be so complicated?
Isn’t dating all about meeting that potential someone? Sometimes, we think we may have met that someone, but end up just being trapped in a situationship.
Could it be that your partner may not be looking to settle down and has misaligned relationship goals and wants from you? Or could it be that you are too comfortable and don’t want to let go of the attachment you have for the other person even though you know that it’s going nowhere?
Perhaps your partner maybe super good-looking or rich or otherwise way out of your league, and you’re afraid that you might not be able to get someone else as “eligible”, so you settle for what they can give you?
But if what you want isn’t going to happen, it’s probably better to let them go. Just like getting into a relationship is taking a plunge, you can also take a different plunge, to free yourself from being trapped in situationship.
It’s important to know what you want out from your dating experience. and to learn to set expectations and boundaries.
It’s okay to be single and wait till you’ve found the right person with aligned relationship goals.
Keep an open mind
A year ago, I met the guy who eventually became my boyfriend on a dating app. He’s definitely not the usual type of guys I would have dated. But I gave him (and more importantly, myself) a chance to get to know each other. It’s been pretty good since, nowadays we bond over finding great makan places around Singapore.
We took our time to get to know each other better because we both knew that we’d rather be single than be in a bad relationship or get stuck in frustrating situationship.
Other stories you might like
Dating apps can be a great help but don’t just go on any random date just because you’re FOMO for Valentine’s Day!
Have an open mind and surely you will meet that special someone someday — I promise.
Editor’s note: The author has asked to be anonymous because, well, she paiseh lah.
If you like what you read, follow us on Twitter and Google News to get the latest updates.