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How I Went From Obsessing Over Tinder to Being Disgusted

When Tinder first came out, I was a huge fan. It seemed like a great tool to be able to use to meet new prospects of either hookups or real relationships. According to the description in the app store, it states that, “Tinder finds out who likes you nearby and connects you with them if you’re also interested.” For those of you who are not familiar with the logistics of Tinder, the way it works is you sign up through Facebook so that your accounts can be connected. The idea is that Tinder accesses your likes and friends so that when you are being matched with people, you can immediately see if you have any mutual interests or friends. You can put a few parameters for what you’re looking for: ie male or female, distance, and age and once you set those parameters, you are given an influx of people to choose from. From that brief introduction to the person, along with a few selected pictures and a quick bio, you have the chance to either “swipe right” (yes) or “swipe left” (no). The key here is that you only gain access to chatting with the person if you have both mutually consented by swiping right.

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what will you choose?

The reason I loved this app when I first discovered it, and at the height of my addiction, four months ago, was because it was pure fun. For a single girl like me, it was great to be able to log on and see this endless possibility that if I wanted to, I could pursue anyone I found on Tinder. That’s the thing: there are so many options on Tinder and unlike other dating sites or real life (ew), you don’t have to deal with people hitting on you that you at least don’t okay first. Sure, it might seem superficial to let people gain access to talking to you mainly based on the way you look, but let’s be honest, isn’t that the way it is at a bar or club, or even just on the street? Tinder gives you access to creating relationships (I use that term loosely) that wouldn’t exist otherwise. You can sit in your bed looking like crap after a long day and possibly make connections with someone you would have never met any other way, other than chance.

So that’s great and all, but here comes my issue, and it’s not the usual, “you’re judging people by the way they look” argument. I mean, yes that is a factor, but it really isn’t what bothers me the most. What bugs me is the way Tinder makes you feel. Sure, for some people it’s great because you know that almost every time you swipe right, it will be a match.

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So exciting when this pops up

But here’s my issue: We are basing our worth on how many Tinder matches we have. Take for example, two of my friends who are guys who have a competition to see who can get more matches. Like when did that become a thing, because it needs to stop. We aimlessly swipe right and left, as if it’s a game. But doesn’t it defeat the purpose if you spend all day swiping on Tinder but never make the effort to actually talk to the people you once “liked”?

To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for someone to hook up with or if you’re trying to find the love of your life, but as long as you’re actually talking to the people you’re swiping, then that’s what its all about. Take for example the fact that I actually went on a date with a guy I met through Tinder. For some reason though when I told me people that I was going to do that, they were shocked. That’s when it clicked for me that Tinder has become a place that’s almost like the early version of Facebook’s “hot or not”. It’s now all about how many matches you have (aka how hot you are) instead of a forum to make connections.

It’s fine to use Tinder in any way you see fit, but understand what your motives are going in. Because after a while, you’ll begin to see that even if you have a high number of matches, you’ll feel unfulfilled that no one initiates conversation, or almost worse, when they do, it’s creepy.

With that, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite “Tinder Fails” because we have to admit, some of them can be pretty damn funny.

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I’ve never thought about this until now!                             I wish cat people got more credit.             It’s probably best not to mention your wife… #awkward

And then one that TWO of my friends got recently:

“Damn girl, you so cute, I just wanna douse you in green paint and spank you like a disobedient avocado!”

What are your thoughts on Tinder? I’d love to know!

In my next post, I’ll be exploring one simple way to boost your confidence and happiness. So if you’re feeling a little blue because of Tinder, make sure to check it out!

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Turns Out the Line Isn’t So Clear: Do Cheaters Deserve Second Chances?

I always thought I would be one of those people who believed that cheaters didn’t deserve second chances. If things are going well in a relationship, then there’s no reason to cheat, and if things aren’t going so swell, then you either fix the issue before you feel the need to cheat or you end it. It’s as easy as that; something that’s black and white with no room for any shade of grey.

Then this weird thing happened. I wasn’t cheated on, but one of my very close friends was, and it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Granted, it didn’t happen directly to me, but my feelings weren’t as I expected them to be. I had always thought that if a friend came to me saying her significant other had cheated on her, I would say something along the lines of, “You really should dump him. You deserve better than that.” Classic, right? But it turns out that when you’re actually in the situation, things don’t always go as you imagined they would (shocking, I know).

Recently, a friend confided in me that her boyfriend of four years had cheated on her. They were high school sweethearts, making the transition to college. Here’s the thing, though. If it’s possible to “kind of cheat”, then that’s what he did. The problem with the cheating issue is that two people in a relationship rarely take the time to consciously talk about what they think of cheating to be. Is it flirting, kissing, or having sex? Or, is it more about the emotional side of things? How do you deem that your partner has established an emotional connection with someone that qualifies as cheating? To complicate things further, what happens to the definition of cheating when we add online cheating to the mix? Affairs used to take longer to develop, especially because you had to leave your house. But now that social media and technology are so accessible, one can be in constant communication with someone other than their partner without being suspiciously absent physically. Then my question is, how do you decipher between what is an emotional affair (or emotional sex since that’s the emerging phrase) and what’s just establishing a friendship?

In my friend’s case, her boyfriend cheated on her with a girl with whom he had an emotional connection. But, according to his story, he wouldn’t have had sex with the girl if she hadn’t initiated and if he hadn’t been drunk. Does his intoxication make the cheating okay or was he just giving her an excuse?

When you hear someone has been cheated on, it’s easy to begin to bash the cheater. But you have to remember that even though you might think the worst of them, your friend is still under their spell. They still care about the person who has cheated on them, even though they know they’ve been wronged. They remember all the reasons they chose that person as the one for them, whether that’s for a lifetime, a few years or a few months. Love and hate are centered in the same part of the brain after all, making both feelings extremely passionate and usually irrational.

Now, keep in mind that when my friend told me this, I had just come off of a Grey’s Anatomy binge watching spree. I truly found Dr. Bailey’s words so applicable, which is why they were the only thing I really said to her. “He did a terrible thing. It doesn’t mean he’s a terrible person.” When I told this to my friend, she burst into tears. She had kept a straight face through the entire story, but it was at this moment that she broke down. Everyone who she had told prior to me had said to dump him. They said he didn’t deserve her. He wasn’t good enough. But, she loves him. He’s a part of her, and four years (especially when you only have eighteen under your belt) are tough to just let go of. When you’re cheated on, it’s the ultimate betrayal. You love someone so much and therefore want to satisfy them every way possible, and when they turn their back on you and explore other options (either emotionally or physically), you can’t help but feel at a loss. What do you do? How do you recover? Do you even recover from this?

As for my friend, she ended up staying with her boyfriend. Some may call it young and naive love, but she thinks it’s the real deal. Sometimes it’s still hard to come to the realization that their trust has been broken, but little by little, it’s being rebuilt. They’re putting new boundaries in place and restructuring how their relationship works. In a sense, I like to look at it as the cheating marked an end of an era for them. They had been highschool sweethearts who hadn’t faced too many struggles in their relationship, but now, because of the cheating, they made the decision to move on and start a new chapter. With a new sense of perspective and outlook on what it takes to make a relationship work, they were able to catapult into the next phase, a more mature one. They understand that the things you want most in life are worth fighting for, and that’s where they are right now: they’re working each day to, like Tim Gunn says, “make it work” and update the pieces they put in place four years ago that are no longer working.

At the end of the day, it’s a choice you have to make. Do you move forward with the cheater, knowing that there’s a broken piece in the relationship that may never be able to be pieced back together, or do you break it off? I think cheating is one of those things that, without a story to put behind it, is easy to see as black and white. But the minute you factor in memories and love, the line gets smudged. The choice should be individual, and we shouldn’t be shaming people for giving cheaters a second chance. They might get hurt again, but it’s their choice to make. And who knows? Maybe the cheater learns their lesson, but we will never know if we don’t give them a second chance.

Update: This post has now been featured on Feminspire. Check it out here!

Fifty Shades of Confusion: Part One

I’m having a moment, and I don’t know how I feel about it. I just finished the first Fifty Shades of Grey book and prior to reading, I was excited for a novel that was provocative, steamy and unlike anything else I had ever read. However, as I began to read more and get into the parts involving BDSM (bondage/domination, sadism/masochism), my inner feminist came out and I began to question whether or not I should continue.

(For those of you who haven’t read it, you can read a summary here.)

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Fifty Shades the movie is set to release next year. 

On one hand I was pleasantly surprised by the relationship that Anastasia and Christian ended up developing. Prior to reading the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially in that on many levels, the release and fame of this book began to change how people view sex. It made sex more mainstream: something women were talking more openly about instead of hiding. This is something I’m all for, and I love that this book began to make it socially acceptable for women to talk about sex. However, despite its record sales (the fastest selling book ever, even beating Harry Potter), according to Kirsten Acuna in her article titled By the Numbers: The Fifty Shades of Grey Phenomenonelectronic copies on kindle alone (not including iBooks) sold six times more than print books. This suggests that even though we are talking about reading it, there is still shame in carrying around a copy on the metro.

Not only that, but if you look at the demographic of people reading this book, it’s fascinating. Readers range from an unexpected 14% being over 55 to 20% being male, according to an analysis by Bowker Market Research. That same analysis shows that only 30% of readers are what the perceived demographic is: mommies who are looking to spice up their sex lives after having children.

So who are the rest of these readers?

What this information tells me is that we are looking to talk about it. We are looking to add excitement to our lives and escape into a world so unfamiliar to ourselves. This also tells me that everyone from myself at 18 years old to my grandmother who is well into her 70s is reading this book. And that’s something that doesn’t happen very often. But as Kristyna Bronner, a blogger, points out, “it seems to have captivated many women, which says a lot about who we are as a society”. E L James could have written this and had no success, but that isn’t the case. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

So, why are we reading? Are we intrigued? Do we want an escape? Is it a form of porn that’s socially acceptable? If sex is everywhere, then why are readers sometimes shameful of their choice to see what the buzz is all about? Why are we so quick to accept that sex sells everything: from the Carls Jr. burgers to candy bars, but when we want to talk about actual sex and BDSM, our hand is smacked down and suddenly we are seen as the “dirty” ones? I mean, we listened to Rihanna’s song S&M with no problem, but now that it’s in written form, we have a issue with it. Why is that?

We’ll save that discussion for next time. Make sure to come back tomorrow to actually find out why I have a problem with Fifty Shades of Grey… or do I?