Spending the last seven months on Bumble as been an educational experience.
As I mentioned in my post You Better Shop Around, I’ve been taking a dive into the wild and a bit wacky world of online dating. When I first started this foray, I quickly discovered there was a lot of things I didn’t know. I found myself googling a number of words I’d never heard before. What’s a sapiophile? A pluviophile? And then there’s all the acronyms and terms. LTR. FWB. Ghosting. And what does that symbol mean?!
There was so much to learn.
With the spread of COVID I’m taking some time to step back and evaluate the experience. For me, song titles and lyrics have a way of bubbling up in my mind to accompany what I am noticing and learning. Here are seven songs that sum up the last seven months on Bumble:
Find Me Somebody to Love (Queen) When I began my journey, I often found myself thinking, “Hey Bumble! Find me somebody to love!” And I am not alone. One of the first things I noticed is that there are a whole lot of people out there looking for somebody to love. And we are all hoping that Bumble will be the way to find and connect with that somebody. We are looking for a deep and meaningful relationship. We are looking for somebody to share all of life’s ups and downs. We are looking for an LTR.
Girls (and guys!) Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper) On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a whole lot of people looking for something other than love. Many are looking for something casual, something with no strings attached. They just wanna have fun and see what happens. They aren’t looking for a relationship. They are looking for FWB.
I’m In Love With My Car (Queen, again!) It’s common knowledge among the Bumble women users I know that the most posted photo in a guy’s profile involves his car. Sometimes he’s sitting in his car. Sometimes he’s standing next to his car. Sometimes it’s just a photo of his car. Tied for second are bathroom selfies, a photo of him holding a fish, or a shot of his reflection in the gym mirror. Since I don’t see women’s profiles, I’m curious to know if there’s a most posted photo for us as well and if so, do I have one?! Aside from all the predictable photos–if I can offer a pro tip to all the guys out there–no matter what photo you post, please take your sunglasses off. We want to see your eyes.
Chemistry (Semisonic) Ah, it’s all about chemistry. We all seem to be looking for that essential, elusive and hard to define thing called chemistry. And what I’ve discovered is that you must meet in person right away to see if it’s present. I’ve messaged a few guys where the potential for some pretty amazing chemistry seemed strong. But when we met in person, it was obvious it wasn’t there. The energy between us was flat. This taught me that just because something works in messaging it doesn’t mean it will work in real life.
Just My Imagination (The Temptations) Just as with chemistry, my imagination and the stories it creates is another reason to meet right away. When I spend too much time messaging, I create a story about who the guy is, what his voice sounds like, the way he smells, etc. My imagination runs away with me. And more often than not, my imagination is wrong. I know this happens for others, too. I met someone once who actually said, “I had an idea in my head about what your voice and laugh would sound like and it’s nothing like I imagined!” So there you go.
Express Yourself (Madonna) Madonna got the sentiment right when she sang “Long stemmed roses are the way to your heart, but he needs to start with your head.” For me, romance starts with words. He may have some amazing photos, but there has to be something more to touch my heart. He needs to ask me questions. It needs to be clear he wants to get to know me. On this front, I’ve experienced a wide range, from guys who respond to my messages with paragraphs to ones whose only response is “Heyyy.” There are guys with detailed and cleverly written profiles to ones with no profile information at all. When I asked one guy why he didn’t write a bio, he said, “Do people actually read that stuff?!” My answer: “OMG! YES! I DO!”
The Middle (Jimmy Eat World) If I had to pick just one song to sum up my Bumble experience, it would be this song. It has a number of lyrics that hit home, one of which is the line “It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.” Bumble has certainly been an interesting and educational ride. And what I am learning most is that it’s going to take some time. I’m looking for that gem in the haystack and it may take a lot of swipes before I find somebody to love. I need to be patient. And as the song also says, I must remember:
Live right now, just be yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s good enough, For someone else.
I’m learning to enjoy my life as it is right now. I’m learning to just be myself. And I’m learning I’m good enough even though someone else may not yet see it. Some guys unmatch for no apparent reason. Some guys I message never respond. And there are those guys who I swipe right on, hoping to see that BOOM! YOU’RE A MATCH!, and never do.
And whether I find somebody to love or not, this song ends with a good reminder:
Everything, everything will be alright.
Do you have a song that sums up your on-line dating experience? I’m sure there are many others. Please share them with me! I’d love to add them to the list.
Healthy, meaningful relationships take work. Attention needs to be paid to what matters to each person involved. It’s like each person in the relationship has a Love Bucket with a small hole at the bottom. In order for each person to feel loved and emotionally secure in the relationship, regular deposits need to be made into their Love Bucket. If regular deposits are not made, the Love Bucket slowly drains until it is empty. This is not a good place to be.
In order to maintain a healthy, full Love Bucket, it is important to be aware of the following seven things:
1-What fills one person’s Love Bucket may be different that what fills another’s. A careful reading of “The Five Love Languages”, by Dr. Gary Chapman is a good place to discover what deposits are meaningful to each person. It could be acts of service, words of affirmation, affection, spending time together or giving gifts. Take some time to determine what is most meaningful to you.
I’ve heard it said that if you don’t learn the lesson the first time, the Universe will give it to you again and again until you do learn it. Oprah describes this by saying that the lesson will arrive again; it’s just wearing a different pair of pants. It’s a good visual to remember.
Recently, I learned the hard way another aspect of the DO NOT PUSH lesson I wrote about in a previous posting. The lesson arrived in two different forms—one wearing skinny jeans and the other wearing pants made of wood and glass.
Let me explain.
I have a friend who is in a particularly difficult place right now. I am trying to understand exactly what is going on and have been peppering her with questions. I wanted to dig deep and help her see the light, but that‘s not what she needed at this time. Also, it was not my place to do this. I pushed so hard that I may have cracked her and broken the friendship.
In a conversation about marriage, my wise sister, Chris, once told me,
Everyone has shit in their marriage, Karin. You just need to be able to talk about the shit.”
Over the past year, I have thought a lot about her advice and how much it describes what was missing in my marriage. It also brought to mind the marriage and relationship struggles my friends have shared with me, a few of which involved some pretty difficult things. Two friends in particular went through what most people would consider deal-breaking situations, yet in both cases, they worked through them and say their marriages are now stronger than they’ve ever been. They feel connected on a much deeper level.
Being able to transform the shit in a marriage or relationship made think about gardening and how the addition of manure helps to make a richer, healthier soil. Maybe the same is true for marriage or any other meaningful relationship. Depending on how it is handled, maybe some shit can actually be good.
Now that I am no longer married, I’ve decided to take a peek into the wide world of dating. Although I know I am capable of living alone, I’d much rather be in a relationship–to have that special someone by my side to share tacos, sunsets and all the other joys of life.
I want to be purposeful about the process—to be mindful and take it seriously–but also stay lighthearted, have fun, and try to see the humor in all of it. I’ve joined a few meet-up groups and have created profiles on a few dating apps. As I have been swiping left and right, I was amused to find the voice of Toni Tennille singing “You Better Shop Around” running through my head:
“Try to get yourself a bargain, girl Don't be sold on the very first one Good-looking guys come a dime a dozen Try to find the one who's gonna give you true loving
Before you take someone and say I do, now Make sure he's in love with you, now Make sure that his love is true, now I hate to see you feeling sad and blue, now My momma told me, you better shop around”
I have noticed that for most people, the word divorce rolls off the tongue like any other word, but it is not that way for me. When I try to say it, I feel my throat tighten and when someone else says it, I feel myself flinch. The word holds pain and sorrow–so much so that when asked about my marital status, I prefer to say I am no longer married rather than using that word.
For a short period of time, I was seeing a great life coach who helped me with many things, one of which was re-framing this aspect of my life. She encouraged me to come up with my own definition for the word. I tried to see beyond what I was experiencing at that time, and came up with this definition:
Divorce: A deep, dark, difficult decision, out of which rises a door, through which discovery, development and a new direction are possible.
I was texting my friend Kevin awhile ago and he gave me a pep talk on staying positive. I replied that mostly, I am staying positive. I just wish the future wasn’t so muddy. He replied,
The future is muddy regardless…just sayin’!
I paused to think about what he said, then had to agree he was right. The future is always muddy. Regardless of well-laid plans, current health conditions, or whatever else is happening right now, the future is muddy and uncertain.
In the book, “The Immortalists”, one of the characters states that her mother gave her the gift of uncertainty. When I read this, I had to set the book down and ponder. Uncertainty is a gift? How is that even possible? I had to unpack this idea.