True Life: Pokémon Go Has Replaced My Dating Life

“Single in The Suburbs” is clearly the name a dating blog, right? Why has it been so hard for a dating blogger to write about her life experiences then?

The answer is simple. Pokémon Go was created.

Ever since its release I haven’t been motivated to go out into the world and gather stories. I have, however, been incredibly motivated to catch the 101 Magikarp necessary to evolve into Gyarados, though (On a related note, Northwest DC is crawling with them).

I have come to the conclusion that Pokémon Go can effectively take the place of my dates for several months. Here are the ways I believe PMG can replace dating:

  1. Finding a new Pokémon is similar to the adrenaline rush you get during a first kiss. Although you don’t have the same interpersonal bond, studies have claimed that when you capture that new Arcanine you’ve been wanting, dopamine is released, causing the same kind of pleasure you might get from a first kiss.
  2. Pokémon are cuter than any date you’ll find. Sure DC has a lot of good looking people, but it’s hard to beat out this sweet face.Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 4.04.29 PM.png
  3. You know your date is going to be a lot of fun. I still haven’t felt bored or antsy to get home when I’m out with Pokémon. In fact, I’m always happy to extend my time playing; time flies while I’m running around with these little critters!
  4. You meet lots of new people playing PMG. I’ve actually made some new friends going out to different meetup groups or even while sitting at a Poké stop. I have made a couple of lasting friends from online dating, but for the most part we stop talking if we don’t see any sort of romantic connection. With PMG the more the merrier!
  5. I used to stay out late with guys; now I stay out late with my new Poké-friends. Whether I’m taking over a gym, running around to hatch an egg, or attempting to catch a Snorlax, late at night seems to be prime-time to play PMG!
  6. Pokémon Go is a great way to bond with new people and a fun way to spend time. Casually dating around doesn’t necessarily change my life in any major way, but it gives me little stories and teaches me life lessons. PMG has done the same thing by offering me an opportunity to explore new areas of my town. It is an easy way to connect with people — since we all enjoy playing the same game, it’s a great way to break the ice and then get to know more about strangers.
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#TEAMVALOR

Actions Speak Louder

Once upon a time I dated someone who meant the world to me. We often talked about the excitement of conquering our dreams together, hand in hand. We were young, in love, and unsure of a lot in life — but we were certain that we wanted each other around.

After we had been together for some time he told me that he realized he wanted me to be his forever and always. He said that he wanted to hurry up and put a ring on my finger so he could snatch me up before anyone else had the chance. It was romantic thinking about how badly this gentleman wanted to be with me, especially since I felt the same way about him.

We were both at transitional points in our lives, and we had lived with a looming uncertainty as to where we would end up and when we could be together again. His solution was that he would find a job near me. There were so many options thrown out, and we excitedly talked about how he could even bartend for a few months until we had made a decision about school or a career move. Nothing mattered as long as we were together. Until he left. Or rather, never came back. Nothing happened. None of the words that were used in our conversations ever materialized, and instead of creating our love story together, he had a new one with someone else as the lead — himself. We were no longer partners in crime, but instead I became a sidekick in his story.

I held on to his words when I felt confused by a pile of broken promises and I begged for more when I was heartbroken about our stagnant relationship. Words were what kept me around even when his actions didn’t match up. I felt like the promises being made were all I had left of him; I was fine with taking any of the scraps he was willing to give me since I had been hungry for more for so long. The very words that I would swoon at had they been written from a stranger to his love became my source of torture. It was a constant roller coaster of “he loves me, he loves me not,” and I didn’t know how to get off because every time I tried he reeled me back in with sweet nothings about our wonderful future together. I just needed to wait around a little longer to see them materialize. Everything he was doing appeared to be selfish, but he reasoned that it was all for us. He was doing everything “for me.”

Some people tell you they love you. If you’re lucky, though, you’ll meet someone who shows you that they love you and don’t stop once they have you. They’ll keep showing you that they care through their actions, words, and by demonstrating forgiveness in every day life. Love isn’t always easy, but it is absolutely always worth it.

Today’s lesson: Words are beautiful, powerful things. They are what I use to express myself and part of the way I show people I love them. When actions don’t match up to the words that are used, however, the characters become meaningless. Someone could have the best intentions in the world, but if they don’t have the hustle and determination to back them up the beauty is taken away and they just become bland poetry from a stranger.

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“Bean” The Marine

Apparently I have a thing for military guys — noted.

When I first started dating again after my ex and I broke up I realized quickly how many people you don’t click with online. Whether it’s because you have different morals or nothing in common personality-wise, I learned that although talking to a bunch of guys was a lot of fun, it took some work to find people who might have a chance at working out for a second date.

I started off my dating ventures giving a lot of people very different than me a chance. I think you can learn a lot from people who aren’t like you, so I enjoyed meeting people from all different walks of life. After being on a handful of first dates that didn’t materialize into anything I realized I wanted to go out with someone who was more or less on the same page as me.

Then I met “Bean.” Obviously I changed the name and won’t mention where we met, but his name was something that rhymes with “Bean.” You’re smart– you can figure it out. 😉

Bean was smart, witty, loved dogs, and yes — he was hot.

We had a deeper connection than most of my other online conversations, and I was actually really excited about going on a date with him. I daydreamed about going on a date with Bean and felt like regardless of what happened after, it would be nice to have a really good first date with someone. And sparks! It can be difficult to tell whether or not you’ll have chemistry with someone you’re chatting with through a computer screen, but I had a good feeling about this one.

As we were talking about our favorite books — we happened to have a few in common — he asked me for my number. Finally! I thought. It’s about time he asked me out!

Another thing that drew me in to this mysterious marine was that he didn’t just jump right on asking me out. He made me wait a little, which is actually quite intriguing. Kind of like a first kiss, it’s nice letting the anticipation build up a little bit before going in for the kill.*

I sent him my number and waited for the text… And waited. And waited.

What the heck? It had been a few days since our last contact, and it was becoming pretty clear that Bean wasn’t going to be messaging me.

At first I was really disappointed. This guy had been one of the first people who really got me excited about a first date. Then I realized a few things. First, I didn’t really know this guy. The things I knew about him were:

  1. He was cute
  2. He had good taste in books
  3. He was a Marine
  4. He had good grammar

That was about it. Sure I had a little crush and that was okay, but it was more of a Theo James kind of crush — because let’s be real, I think I tricked myself into thinking this guy was “such a great match” because he was someone I thought was super-attractive.

I don’t know what happened to Bean. I’ve seen him on a few different dating apps, but haven’t tried to pursue that any further. We weren’t a match, he never texted me, and you know what? That’s just fine. There are a million other fish in the sea.

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*Guys, don’t take this as a tip to make a girl work too hard for you, though — that’s not a good idea either, as we’ll just move on if we think a guy is uninterested. There is a very precise art to playing “the waiting game,” and I don’t want you to miss a shot with someone you really like because you’re playing games with her. This is more of a “playing it cool” technique.

 

My Way Of Saying Thank You!

One of my favorite things in life is giving gifts. It’s easily my first love language and whether I write someone a letter or buy them a present, this is one way I absolutely love showing people how much I care about them. It doesn’t have anything to do with money; rather it is all about the fact that I take time out of my day to think about that person, and try to do something that I know will make them happy.

This summer my babysitting has been cut back, my physical therapy is at full throttle, and I am spending much of my time running from doctor to doctor. I am trying my very best to get better so that I can continue to chase my dream of becoming a writer. This means that I don’t have a lot of extra cash floating around, but I decided I wanted to extend my love language to you!

How? Well, a second favorite thing of mine is seeing women support other women. I may be incredibly competitive when it comes to strategy games like Settlers of Catan, but when it comes to friends pursuing their dreams I love helping in any way I can. Although it’s been a very different kind of dream, I have so appreciated each and every friend who has supported me and my writing. People I barely knew have become good friends after meeting to chat about dating, some of my close friends have “liked” and shared every post (I’m looking at you, Kalika!), and many of you have sent new followers my way.

These little gifts I’ll hand-pick depending on the person will just be my way of saying thank you for reading my writing and helping my blog grow so much. I’m going to hand pick people every couple of weeks to give little presents to for being so supportive. To be eligible to win, I just ask that you like my Facebook page, as that will be the place I’ll look through to choose people who I feel like have been extra great to SITS that month.

I have already figured out who I want to thank this week, and will be announcing it on my Facebook page tomorrow. In the meantime, thank you if you are reading this — I appreciate each and every one of you and am excited to give back a little.

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I Probably Need Glasses

Every time I go to my annual checkup I ask the doctor to check my vision. Why? Because it’s terrible! My night vision is particularly bad; I have literally bumped into walls in the middle of the night when trying to find the bathroom.

I never realized this might affect my dating life, but now I have a new story to tell my doctor when he asks why I think I have bad eyesight. I was on OKCupid mindlessly clicking through the site and decided to try the “Quick Match” feature. I had never used it on a PC before, so was checking out the differences between that and the app on my iPhone.

Anyway, I scrolled to the “Quick Match” section and noticed that they offered three different photos and you could click on one that you liked. Interesting, I thought to myself. I guess you choose your favorite guy and it will “like” him before going to the next group of pictures.

Right. Right. Middle. Left. Middle. Right.

I clicked through about ten groups of photos until I realized the system was glitching.

Why are there three pictures of the same guy? I wondered to myself. Am I supposed to help him enhance his profile or something by choosing one of his profile photos? My thoughts of helping him in his dating endeavors immediately trailed off as it all clicked.

“Oh no!” I exclaimed to myself. I had just liked ten profiles in a row — the photos weren’t of different guys, but rather they were offering me a small sample of one man’s profile photos to see whether or not I was interested in him. I saw a small “X” in the corner and realized you “like” a profile by clicking on any of the photos, or you can “pass” on it by clicking the small white “X.”

I laughed awkwardly, embarrassed at my mistake.

I’m not sure whether these gentleman had mixed in old and new photos, making the photos all look fairly different from one another or if I was just terribly unobservant. Either way, this might explain why I sometimes have trouble recognizing my dates when we meet up.

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Today’s lesson: My doctors have been lying to me for years now. There’s absolutely no way I have 20/20 vision.

Fast Five: How To Choose Dating Profile Photos

People often ask me how to set up a dating profile that will attract the kind of people they are looking for. Here are a few of my standard tips for choosing photos for your dating profile:

  1. Choose a picture that makes you feel good and accurately represents what you look like on an average day. I started off using a few old modeling photos but ended up feeling a little insecure about them, as I don’t typically take the time to put on a set of falsies or contour my face for a date. I have a pretty natural makeup look, so quickly deleted those photos and exchanged them for some that I took on an average summer day. That way if we actually meet up I’ll feel great about my look going into the date!
  2. Your main profile picture should be a solo shot — nobody wants to have to scroll through and play detective trying to figure out which guy you are! Another good rule of thumb is not to use any photos of just you with a person of the opposite sex. Even though it’s “just your sister,” there’s no way for the girls looking at your page to know it’s not an ex. Even if you write that in your profile to clarify, some may not give you the opportunity to explain yourself and just swipe left to find a guy who is not hung up on a past relationship.
  3. Have a little bit of a variety. After you choose your profile picture switch it up a little by including some photos with friends (to showcase that you do, in fact, have some!), action shots of activities you love, and a selfie or two. This makes your profile feel incredibly real and personal.
  4. Use up-to-date photos that represent the person you are today. Despite still looking like a high schooler, my body has changed quite a bit since then, as well as my style. I’d say a good rule of thumb is to use photos that were taken within the past three years or so.
  5. Cater to the kind of audience you want to attract. For example, I like to include photos of myself with my dog so that I’m more likely to spark a conversation with a dog lover. I don’t post my more scantily clad swim photos, as I don’t want to attract someone who is only looking for a hookup.

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Lastly, don’t think too much about it and try to have fun! You’ll want to lead your conversations with your personality anyway, and we each have our own reasons we are so incredibly awesome. There will be people out there who will appreciate what makes you uniquely you; and when they do, shoot me a message so I can tell you “I told you so!”

My Blessing In Disguise

Awhile back I remember praying several times every single day the exact same thing,

Dear God, please, please, please save this relationship. I’ll do anything in the world to keep him; just please help us to find our love again and help us to actually be happy together. Please…”

I would trail off and start to cry. I wanted nothing more than for my boyfriend to love me again the way he once did. I even remember thinking if I could have one thing in the entire world it wouldn’t be for my chronic illness to be fixed. I wouldn’t ask God to help me with any of my dreams or goals, but instead I just wanted us back.

One day I told my ex this thought and that I missed the way we once were. I said I wanted him to work with me to get back to the beautiful partnership we once had together. I tried everything to fix our relationship — including compromising several of the core things that make me the person I am. I began giving away small pieces of myself until they piled up to make a mountain. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore and found I was never the best version of myself when I was with him. I became short-tempered, wildly insecure, and lost sight of what I wanted in life in order to attempt to please him.

As you know, we broke up.

I have told this story to countless people who find their own relationships crumbling. I use it when I hear people are in despair about a job, school, or anything else that doesn’t seem to be going their way. Why?

Because what I feared most not only happened, but it ended up being the greatest blessing in my life. Really.

We broke up and although that was literally the most terrifying thought I could come up with at the time, not only did I make it out alive, but I found myself again. I am no longer the miserable, frustrated, depressed shell of a girl I was when I was with him. I no longer mimic those impatient and pessimistic behaviors I was used to seeing with my family and friends, but I am able to be the joyful optimist I have always been at heart again.

The dreaded breakup was the greatest blessing God has ever given me, and it made me completely redefine the way I look at things that happen to me in life. I’m lucky to have a very solid example of a way God was protecting me in the long-term by letting me go through short-term pain; not everyone has such a concrete example of this. Moving forward, though, I remember and share this story, as I see how redirecting my path away from what I thought I wanted ended up allowing me to dodge a really big and painful bullet in the end.

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Today’s lesson: You don’t always know what’s best for yourself. Sometimes you just have to take what life gives to you and trust that God has a better plan for you than you do for yourself. I pray for my future husband often, and even though I may not know who he is yet, I know God is protecting his heart for me.