It’s good to cry — arguably therapeutic. That said, maybe we have our Tinder-generation mentality to blame for why so many of us have cleansed our colons more times in the last year than we have our tear ducts. We live in a time when lining up a new love interest before the embers of our current fling burn out is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. We don’t experience heartbreak like we did in the pre-digital era because we don’t even give it the chance to register.
In our defense, we don’t have time to hurt like we did in the ’90s, and we certainly don’t have the privacy we need to bawl our f*cking eyes out. Our bosses call and email us around the clock, and even when we’re alone, Twitter, Facebook, texts, Skype, FaceTime, and the like unremittingly ensure that we’re interrupted by the hyperspace version of our social lives no matter where we are. If being constantly connected to the world means we don’t have the alone time we once had to conjure up a good cry, it’s no wonder we use online apps, dating sites, and even Facebook messaging to help our hearts (and libidos) move on without actually dealing with our feelings. Maybe locating a new booty-call with as much ease as it takes to order a pizza is the consolation prize for trying to find love in a hopeless place, aka the “Information Era”. If love is a drug and heartbreak the hangover of a good time, then many of us have just stopped bothering to come down altogether.
I’m the first to advocate the use of online dating, particularly Tinder. After moving to Toronto from Montreal, the city’s spread-out grid, foreign dating rituals (to me, at least), and poor public transit system made it hard for me to even know where to look for potential romantic interests. Throw in a winter that’s just as cold as the one I’m used to back in Montreal, and leaving my home to scour bars for people to talk to has always sounded more like a tedious task than an actual social thrill.
I’ve met just as many guys via Tinder here as I have at parties, work events, and the like, and the ones from Tinder have turned out to be just as cool and interesting as the ones I’ve used my in-person instincts to connect with. Tinder’s great, but I worry that the availability of singles around the city any time of day at the touch of a finger on my iPhone has contributed to me denying myself the opportunity to feel heartbreak and/or loneliness — the kind of feelings that ultimately lead to making decisions about what I want in life. I move on before my ego gets burned — before I even have the chance to imagine what could have been.
And so does everyone else. I got a message from a guy two weeks ago hoping to pick up again with me for date No. 2… despite our first date being four months earlier. I had forgotten about him but, after staring at his name on my phone for 30 seconds, I remembered that we’d had a great time. In fact, I felt terrible that I’d actually forgotten about him. I was thrilled he’d reconnected. I texted back, “Sure! Would love to.” That was three weeks ago, and it just occurred to me while writing this that I haven’t heard from him since. What bothers me most is that it doesn’t bother me at all.
I’m not deleting Tinder from my phone. I know it’s going to come in handy again this winter when it gets too cold to even consider the idea of going out on a Saturday night in February. But I’m taking a break from it right now for an undetermined amount of time. I need to be alone, just to see if I’m actually lonely, if there’s anyone in particular I miss, or something I want from life that I just don’t have right now, at least romantically. I don’t know anymore. I don’t want to be the kind of person who uses guys as a distraction from feeling, just as much as I don’t want them to do the same to me. Maybe I’ll finally find the time to have a good cry about the whole thing.