Finding Authentic Catholic Love in a Swipe Left World
I am an avid online shopper. I order my groceries online, I shop for my clothes online, and I purchase my household items online. When I sit down to make a purchase on Amazon, even for something as simple as hand soap, I click through options, I view similar purchases, I sort through “customers ultimately bought,” and I comb through reviews.
So why, when it comes to so many online dating apps, do we have only a moment to say yes or no?
Surely the decision for a future life partner is more important than the decision for my hand soap—but I never treated it that way. Why not?
Because it can be hard to believe that anyone is authentic online. We’ve been conditioned since the dawn of the internet that people can’t be trusted or that no one is truly themselves on the internet.
That’s why, even for someone like me who has always been committed to the pursuit of true love, it’s really easy to passively online date. That’s not the solution. It’s only more of the problem.
Don’t treat this as your final attempt
There’s definitely less of a stigma to online dating now than there was only a few years ago. But the fact is that a lot of people still feel like it’s a last stop on their attempts to find love. If they haven’t found it “IRL” (in real life, as the internet jargon goes) then they turn to online dating just to see what else is out there.
If you’re looking for authentic, you need to put authentic out there. Be honest, be open, and be excited to put your heart on the line in service of finding love!
The more excited you are, the better connections you’ll make. You’ll be more excited about interesting conversations and the potential in every match.
Be intentional and authentic
Online dating is not an excuse to accept all applicants. It’s entirely okay to “swipe left” on someone who just isn’t right for you. It’s healthy, in fact.
There’s nothing authentic about dozens and dozens of matches. I remember once comparing my dating profile to another girl at work. I had 3 matches in my inbox, compared to her 15! Frustrated, I wondered what I was doing wrong!
The truth was I wasn’t doing anything wrong. The more you strive for authenticity, the more you will weed out the insincere. You’ll have less matches, but the ones you have will be worth investing in. I promise.
I also had less matches because I knew what I was looking for. Before my quest for authenticity, I was fine letting things go in the name of meeting more people. But I wasn’t meeting the right people. At the end of the day, I ended up with a fruitless basket of matches.
Then I started to be more intentional. I stopped pretending like there was a future with someone who lived 50 miles away (I don’t want to move), or who loves travel (I’m a homebody to the very end) or who has dogs (I am afraid of them!). That cut out a lot of the noise and what remained were a few guys I had genuine connections and pleasant dates with.
Share the right way
There’s a really fine line between a dating profile and feeling like you’re making a sales pitch. While it’s obviously important to put your best self forward, it’s equally as important to be realistic about your profile.
Here’s what I mean.
Once I had the opportunity to go on an exotic vacation. Among a lot of other once-in-a-lifetime experiences, I touched a shark and we got it on camera. I knew that using that picture would certainly set my dating profile apart from other girls.
But it’s an outlier.
It’s not an authentic view of who I am as a person—someone who does not like travel and will likely never do something like that again.
The kind of partner potential that would swipe right on that picture would be another who loves travel and adventure. The match would start out on a misleading foot, and there’s nowhere to build from there.
You are worth it
Share your hobbies honestly, show off the unique things that make you who you are, and make people earn your trust before you share too much.
You are worth the pursuit.
Remind yourself as often as you need to that you don’t need to share everything at once or make yourself into the “perfect match.”
You are worth the pursuit, and worthy of love just as you are. Because that’s how God made you.
Erin is a Catholic writer living on the windy plains of Kansas. She loves reading, dark chocolate, sunflowers, and learning to cook.