Low Return: The Tragedy of Modern Dating


Carlos Peterson, Guest Contributor

The room is spinning like a merry-go-round, Sam Smith’s “Stay with me” is playing in the background and all I can think is “Please make it stop.” In hindsight, the fourth glass of bourbon was where it all went wrong but nonetheless this was the situation I was in. Death was the only thought on my mind none of which was drinking induced and it was still just nine-thirty in the evening. At this point, one has to wonder how someone gets this profusely drunk by himself and on Thursday evening no less. The first thought that comes to mind would be well this guy’s an alcoholic but sadly, no. This small demise was brought upon by Tinder.

Yes, the dating app that has been desensitizing the dating process since 2014, had one more casualty. I was so sure this would be the end. The emotional collateral created by this godforsaken app had taken the ultimate toll. Having only been on the app for a month, I had seen my shares of highs and lows. Casually seeing people before heading off to school was great in theory as I tried to rationalize the end of my previous relationship. Dates were few and far between. The emotional return that came with each minute conversation would piece together my sanity.

Nothing came of these dates. All of them ended the same way, “Yah you’re a nice person too. Good luck to you.” only for emotional disappointment to ensue. I wasn’t invested in these woman that I was seeing and yet I couldn’t begin to imagine how this despair could come from an experience that carried no real expectation. I was being young and reckless. That should be part of the fun, right? Not having my position constantly affirmed by the person I was seeing started to weigh on my psyche. It was only a matter of time.

Just two weeks ago, the seed that would lead to a self-destructive spiral that I hadn’t equaled in over four years was planted. I had finally met a girl I thought I could connect with and it made me reconsider my stance on having a relationship prior to leaving for school. The conversations were engaging and the sarcasm helped me get through the days. I could almost feel the hit of dopamine when I saw her name appear on my screen. At this point it was win or go home. I became a prisoner to my emotional whim.

I hung on to the hope of seeing this girl long term eventually. The illuminating sense of hope that came from this person was something I couldn’t keep away and in many respects was eating away at me when I would look forward to see her. My Ron Swanson personality became subservient to the Leslie Knope beauty now in my life. After an uneventful get together, I made it clear that I was excited to see where this was headed moving forward. I was slammed with “I think you’re a nice guy but I just don’t see how we fit.”

I was at work at the time, fighting off a breakdown in front of complete strangers, doing my best to still do my job. It was too much. I made my way to bathroom and sobbed uncontrollably. I couldn’t be gone too long but there was seemingly no end to my anguish and morose. I managed to work up enough emotional strength to get back out there and to the end of my shift. Once I was able to clock out, I gunned for liquor isle where I locked in on a bottle of bourbon. Now back to where I started, room spinning, Sam Smith and feeling like dying, all culminated into the wastebasket beside my bed. I couldn’t remember a time feeling that low. Lucky for me, I passed out before becoming aware of my existence and what I had just done.

I can’t help but feel that this is mostly my fault. However, something needs to be said for the emotional imprisonment that apps like this creates. Like lab rats, were rewarded with messages from people with very little to lose and for those that place more weight into efforts such as this the effects can be devastating. I’m thankful to still be here but for those looking to see a light at the end of this relentlessly cruel tunnel, do yourself a favor and get out. For your sake.