Past – Chapter One: Online Dating

Hi friend.

I thought I would start a new sequence in my journey. By diving into the past, I believe that it can show how we became the people we are today. Mind you – none of these chapters are going to be in chronological order. I’m just going to write about them as the thoughts pop into my head.

**Featuring a photo of my 20 year old self.

When did I start online dating?

I started logging onto online dating sites fresh out of high school. I started with a local singles group – but after realizing the majority of people of this site were in their late 30’s – early 60’s I quit.

I soon later joined a website that was technically for meeting new friends, but it had a “match” portion that allowed for you to select individuals who you were attracted to. I found myself drawn to this specific portion of the site – spending hours selecting gentleman who appealed the most to me. Whenever a notification would pop up with “You’re a Match!” I felt my heart hammer at the thought of new possibilities. I would quickly reach out to them soon after saying something along the lines of – “Hey! I see we’re a match. How are you?”

I started online conversations and relationships with a few men; however, I never met one of them in person while I was in Utah. The main reason behind this being – my images online did not fully portray what I looked like in person. While the pictures were of me and my face, my body was always hidden. Whenever I started to really like someone I would send them a full body picture and in most cases they were shocked and quickly stopped talking to me. This hurt my self esteem and it was at this time that I started searching for men further away. Ones that would not want to meet me in real life and that I wouldn’t have to share my secret with.

Upon moving to Idaho – I started dating on a site that was an actual dating site. This time I decided to stick with men that were local and decided that I would add pictures of my full body to prevent the issues I had, had previously. There was a feature on this app, much like the “Match” feature on the other app in which you selected whether or not you found the person attractive. At first, I played it the same way – choosing the men I found most appealing. However, after several weeks of this, I matched with very few people and soon after started deleted the app.

After a couple of weeks of being dating app free I decided to re-download the “friendship” app I used back in Utah. Here I met a few guys that were really very sweet and gave me compliments in regards to my full figure and wanted to meet me in person.

Who was the first guy I met from online?

The first guy I met was a guy that lived a couple of blocks from where I was. He asked me to come over and we could watch a movie and eat a cheese burger. I walked over and met him halfway to his home. He had a symbol on his arm that I asked him about – he told me he was “juggalo”. I didn’t ask further into it and we made minor small talk as we walked to his home. Upon arriving to his house I sat with him as he made us some food and we watched a movie in his basement. I can’t recall what the name of the movie was now. I do remember that he was very respectful of my boundaries and we didn’t even kiss. After we hung out for a little while longer, he walked me halfway home.

A couple of days later I came back to his house and this was when I had my first official kiss at the age of 20. He wanted it to go further; however, I was not comfortable with this since this was just the first time I had kissed someone. I told him as much and he dismissed me from his house. We didn’t talk again until almost a year later.

After this major step in life, meeting people online was not as hard for me. I even started talking to an old friend from high school on Facebook and he came and stayed with me for a weekend. He became my first official boyfriend at the age of 21. Our romance; however, was short lived.

After breaking up with my boyfriend – I downloaded the dating app again with my new found confidence; however, even with this confidence, the anxiety still remained in the back of my mind. I was nervous and shy and had a hard time meeting people in person. I started trying to match with everyone on site, despite their physical and mental appeal to me. At one point, I remember, I would be sitting there watching TV as I continued not looking at my phone and selecting “yes” on every profile.

Eventually after many online dates and meet up’s my anxiety got the better of me and I deleted the app a couple of months before leaving Idaho.

To cut a very long story short. Over the course of my three year stay in Idaho:

  • I met 6 boyfriends online (all lasting under 6 months).
  • I met very rude people online
    • Both people I met in person and people I didn’t meet
  • I both gained and lost a lot of self esteem due to online dating
  • I gained a LOT of weight

Upon moving back into Utah in 2014 I downloaded the dating app one last time hoping to make a fresh start. This time, I would be cautious of the people I was talking to and meeting up with. It was upon re-adding this app that I matched with a guy named Shay. He had tattoos and his profile said he was tall (both things that I absolutely loved). He reached out to me and say a simple: “Hey. What’s up? I’m Shay.” It was from there we started our conversation. He ended up giving me his number and I deleted the app for the last time.

Shay later became my husband and we have now been married for 1.5 years. Someday I’ll go into how we met and how I knew he was the one, but this blog entry is already far too long.

Here’s the thing about online dating:

  • If you’re going to do it be smart.
    • Meet people in public spots if you’re meeting for the first time.
  • Be confident.
  • If it starts to make you sad, delete it.
  • Be yourself.

Love,

Ash

 

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