I was (and probably still am) very anti online dating because not only does it seem desperate (I admit I have a bit of an ego with this sort of thing) but also because there’s not much you can do to verify the information or intentions of the the person at the other end. Not to mention all the horror stories you hear about online dating scams. Yikes! So it’s ironic (and a little embarrassing ) that I met online the man who I think has come closest to being Mr. Right so far – my Mr. I-Hope-He’s-The-“Right”-One.
One of my best friends had been on Tinder for a while and had been bugging me to try it for almost a year. Being an introvert (so terrified at the prospect of talking to complete strangers) and already in a long distance relationship that kind-of-maybe-sort-of had potential, I refused until I ended up having a very disappointing fling followed by a break-up that my then long-distance boyfriend seemed a bit too happy about. I want to mention at this point that I moved to the US from my native South Asian country about 4 years ago. I had never dated out of my race before (not by choice but due to lack of opportunity). My first experience with an American man was the ‘fling’ I mentioned before and it was so disappointing that in my head, well aware that I was probably wrong, I began fearing that all American men were like him. I knew the friend who had suggested Tinder restricted his matches to South Asian women because that’s what he was comfortable with and living in New York, he found lots of matches. Even though I have no such reservations, I did consider it for a minute because I had almost dated American men before but somehow we always stopped short of the actual dating part. I’m not sure what that barrier was. Maybe it was because I was raised halfway across the world in a completely different society, maybe our backgrounds were so different that we ran out of things to talk about after a while, maybe I was intimidated by how open dating and sex is in the American society (I’ve always had to hide my love life from everyone except very close friends), maybe they were intimidated by the things they didn’t understand about me. I’m still not sure what it was.
There were a lot of matches the first day on Tinder (as one would expect with perfect Facebook profile pictures ) and most started conversations with generic pick-up lines (which I later came to know was to be expected on Tinder). But Gary caught my interest with his simple opening line of ‘Sometimes the best way to break the ice is with a simple hello. So hello,’ From there on forward, we texted back and forth non-stop for 2 days straight. He is smart, funny, goofy, charismatic, very engaging and most importantly a dork. So either a very good baiter or someone who I was genuinely enjoying myself with! We shared dorky interests and were able to carry on interesting conversations without divulging any personal information. I was on Tinder for a total of 2 days – the amount of time it took me to trust Gary enough to add him to my Facebook.
Our first date was about a week after our first text. He drove more than an hour to pick me up. We joked about how I still thought he was a very charismatic ax murderer and he told me how he had half expected me to be a fifty year old man. That was almost 6 months ago. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with him. I have been in love before (or I think I that’s what it was) but this was different because I didn’t have to convince myself to love him. It has been the most organic and fulfilling relationship in my life thus far but I am being cautiously optimistic about where it is going.
My family is convinced I would only be happy with a Bengali Hindu guy who has at least a PhD (and they have tried very hard for the last 10 years to find me one) but here I am in love with an American ‘non-conventional’ Christian who is only on his way to getting his Bachelors and I would not change a thing about him. We are so vastly different that I’m still trying to figure out why this relationship works. Everyday I see a very close family member with an ‘ideal’ marriage struggle just to live under the same roof with his spouse. Their resentment for each other is apparent to anyone who spends enough time with them yet they are resigned to the idea that this is how they must live for the rest of their lives because the stigma of divorce would be worse. All this brings me to the conclusion that cultural and social similarities or differences don’t make or break a relationship. But I still have no idea what makes our relationship work. No matter where this ends up, for now I’m happy with simply knowing that we work very well together – like cinnamon and sugar.
On a side note, the friend who suggested Tinder is still looking. He has expanded his search onto other dating sites and apps like OkCupid and Coffee&Bagels (not sure if that’s the right name) but he still refuses to broaden his search to non South-Asian girls. His loss I guess.
Are you in a positive fulfilling relationship? What makes your relationship work?