I’m in the midst of heartbreak. I’m feeling every single inch of it. The empty pit in my stomach, the inability to stay upbeat even when surrounded by my favourite people, a heaviness when I breathe air into lungs that no longer have the strength to open to their full capacity.
If I let myself, I can feel tears welling, but I won’t allow it. It’s ridiculous. Every rational cell in my body is dying of embarrassment. How can I possibly be feeling such an intense heartbreak over someone I wasn’t even in a serious relationship with? Someone I hadn’t even met.
Welcome to dating apps.
Watch: Dating: translated. Post continues below.
Over the past two years, I’ve had my share of app success. I’ve strung men along, accepted gifts on dates, been wined and dined, and then ghosted and blocked those I’d felt were moving too fast or becoming ‘too needy’. Little did I know I was luring the karmic gods and releasing a 180 curveball down my own path.
He isn’t even my type. I usually go for the scruffy, bearded funny guy. He is clean-shaven, with a nerdy, serious intensity. I like carefree surfers. He’s an overachieving tech head. Yet when I swiped right, I couldn’t help but try to find him on social media.
It didn’t take long to find a few videos of him speaking about start-up companies and that was it. His intelligence shone, a subtle humour only detectable by a cheeky glint in his eyes. His voice was deep, manly, sexy. Game over.
We’d matched instantly. Now I had the opportunity to start a chat. I pulled out my usual line. He wrote back. We were off to a flyer. My eyes lit up every time his name appeared on my screen. I felt butterflies. He embodied everything my last few dates had lacked. A confidence and sex appeal that I’d started to think only existed in my occasional guilty pleasure re-watching of The Notebook.
We chatted more the next night. The conversation flowed effortlessly, his quirky humour seeing a smile fixed to my face even when filling the dishwasher. Nothing short of a mean feat.
I went to sleep conjuring images of our first date, red wines in hand, discussing everything from politics to travel stories. Naturally, we’d see eye-to-eye on almost everything, laughing at the same places in our stories, with room for a few challenging conversations that ensured we’d both understand that this was an intellectual match too.
We’d start planning our second date before the first was over, and he wouldn’t be able to wait 24 hours before messaging to let me know how excited he was to have met me.
This didn’t happen. None of it. In fact, when I messaged him the next day nothing came back. I checked my phone every hour while at work. Nothing. This escalated to checking it a completely self-respectable rate of every five minutes in the evening. Still nothing. Crickets. Tumbleweeds.