On Mothers Day 2014, my world was turned upside down. I found out, quite by accident the day before, that my husband of 17 years was having an affair.
Boom! I was unprepared, suddenly alone and scared beyond belief. Ever since, I've been walking through my life in a state of shock, dealing with a myriad of emotions.
How my children saw me react weighed heavily on my mind. I have always been strong, (I think my children had only ever seen me cry once), and I wanted them to know that they were safe and secure, still loved and that regardless of what had happened and how someone treated you, you need to pick yourself back up and move forward. So I continued on as if nothing had happened, but inside I was beside myself.
Months passed, reality began to sink in and I decided I needed a change of scenery. I packed the kids and the dog in the car and headed to the beach, (my happy place), to hang out with my bestie and her family. It was there that I was confronted with my new reality, one that existed without my husband. I was a single mum.
After some late night chats, I was introduced to the idea of online dating. My friend's siblings had experienced some success with it. To me, it seemed absurd. I'm a 43-year-old mother, with baggage and what, I'm going to put myself out there on some dating app?
The truth be told, the last few years of my marriage had been lonely ones. As much as the idea of meeting someone new so soon after my marriage had ended seemed rushed, ludicrous even - I somehow felt compelled to do it. Was I trying to validate myself? Maybe. Would someone still find me attractive? What was it like to be out there dating again - to have sex with a new person? I guess in part I was trying to prove to myself that I could, quietly showing the two finger salute to the ex. So I created a profile and jumped in.
In many ways being on Tinder is not unlike being a contestant on The Bachelorette. And paradoxically my moral compass on that had been set to a firm NO. I thought this is nuts, all of these men talking simultaneously to all of these women. Indeed, is this an authentic liaison or a copy and paste conversation? Is this really them in the pics? Are the photos recent? And, for God's sake, I don't want to see your penis or the fish shot, thanks all the same. Intimate information is shared, emotions run high, expectation level 0-1.
The journey down single-dom lane seemed calculated. I had met my husband at work, as have many other people I know. But, as I was working from home, that wasn't going to be a feasible option. I was hardly going to start hanging around bars, and everyone I knew was in a relationship. I am after all middle aged. Sigh.
So Tinder introduced me to a new dating vernacular. And, with it a whole vocabulary around sex from salacious young men who liked older women (MILF) the down to f**k (DTF) hookups and the subversive underground of swingers, sex clubs, the naughty and the lonely.
It's a fickle business. Swipe left if you don't like the look of someone and swipe right if you do. Bank them up like a pack of cards and sift through at your whim. Some conversations were actually pretty funny and enlightening, others blatant and crude. Delete match.
So is Tinder a hookup site? Statistically, maybe, there are many people (in and out of relationships) here for quick, easy sex. And interestingly, global research suggests a decrease in prostitution, putting it down to the proliferation of free dating apps.
So what is a newly single mother of two do? Hook Up? What would that be like? And OMG my 43-year-old body isn't what it once was. I've breastfed and had two kids! But, I continued to chat away and finally, if it felt right and something clicked, I would swap numbers and arrange a time (in public) to meet.
There was never any expectation that meeting these guys might go anywhere, but at the time it helped me over a huge crisis of confidence and breakdown of my marriage. And by and large, the guys I met were really nice - not a complete match, but a fun date none the less. And, quite unexpectedly, I met and am now in a relationship with my current partner.
So it can't be all that bad... Right?
So if you're wondering about it, give it a go, if nothing else it can be a bit of harmless fun. I'd love to hear your experiences of dating either on or offline.
Love from Tinder.