I used to think that dating apps were synonymous with hook-ups and casual relationships. I heard the success stories, but I never thought that anything meaningful could come from a dating app.

The thought of meeting strangers online and building a relationship sent shivers down my back (and it still does).

I judged online dating harshly because I was in a solid long-term relationship.

Now that the relationship is over, during a pandemic no less, it is time to reconsider my views. 

The first time I came across an online dating journey was when someone added me to their Instagram Close Friends. I never considered her a close friend, so you can only imagine my surprise (and excitement) when I saw the illustrious green circle on my feed.

The videos she uploaded to her stories were about the men she matched with on Hinge and the dates she planned to go on. She included fun polls where we could add our two cents and pick which guy we liked best.

I admired her stories because they were honest and raw. 

Her vulnerability changed my view of online dating. Here was a beautiful and successful woman who was not afraid to share the good and bad parts of her dating experiences. I admired how she genuinely believed in her efforts.

She was all-in, and I figured that I could too. She showed me that there are people who are seriously looking for love online, and there was no shame in being one of them. I am grateful to her for destigmatizing online dating. 

I don’t know whether TikTok read my mind or if the algorithm caught me out, but I am starting to see more videos about online dating.

I see a lot of videos where women approach the men they want by sending quirky one-liners.

The lines are not always successful, but they do make for funny videos. I enjoy the videos because they show how much times have changed. Women are no longer waiting to be chosen, and they are taking the driver’s seat. 

These videos inspire me to be brave. I’m scared of joining dating apps because I hate the prospect of not being chosen. I feel like not getting any matches would disappoint me, and I’d never return to online dating.

Don’t get me wrong; I am a confident woman who knows her worth. I just hate the idea of putting myself out there for other people to evaluate.

However, TikTok is showing me that my experience doesn’t have to be like that. I can take control and have fun on the online dating journey. If I find love, that’s great; if I don’t, I can at least say that I had fun. 

I want to say thank you to the women who are bravely putting their stories out there. You are teaching us how to set standards when dating online. You’re also showing us how to approach potential partners and how to root out the people who are not serious.

You have de-stigmatized online dating, and you encourage us to put ourselves out there. Thank you for giving us the tools we need to take control of our romantic futures. 

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  • Tanatswa Chivhere

    Tanatswa Chivhere is a Journalism graduate who is passionate about the art of storytelling. She believes that stories make us who we are, and every story deserves to be told. Tanatswa's mission is to give African stories a global platform. When she is not consumed by this mission, she enjoys watching Grey's Anatomy and listening to podcasts.

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