Swipe (Mr.)Right : Finding “The One” Online

We’ve all heard of Tinder nightmares, but what about Tinder fairy tales? These couples found love in a seemingly hopeless place: online.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

We’ve all heard of Tinder nightmares, but what about Tinder fairy tales? These couples found love in a seemingly hopeless place: online.

My Reading Room

If you lose a little bit of hope in Singapore’s dating scene with every unreciprocated swipe or terrible date, join the club. If you’re on the verge of deleting all your dating apps because it seems like every seemingly eligible dude is just there for a one-night stand, you’re not alone. And if this sounds all too familiar, don’t despair! June, Andie, Leslie and their Tinderella stories will make you believe in online love once more.

All names have been changed.

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June, 29

I met Lucas on OkCupid over a year ago and we’ve been dating ever since. While I was actively looking to get into a relationship, based on my friends’ experiences with dating apps, I had little to no expectations that I would find someone there. In fact, shortly before meeting Lucas, I had planned to give up on the app because of the number of terrible conversations and bad dates I had been on. But, as most who use dating apps know, “I’m planning on deleting it” is a promise that’s rarely kept.

I swiped right on Lucas because he had a decentlooking picture and included lots of details on his profile. This showed he had spent time thinking about what to write and had put in solid effort. Online, he was (and still is) a gentleman. I also found out that we shared similar goals in life, which is what made me agree to meet him face-to-face. 

Our first date was a movie and dinner. Like all first dates, it was a little awkward at first, but we slowly warmed up to each other. Our relationship got serious about two months in – I could tell this was the real deal. My parents were worried when they heard about how we met, but after getting to know him, they liked him a lot.

Even though online dating is a fairly common way for couples to meet in this day and age, there is still a social stigma attached to it here. As such, I think couples who meet online are sometimes kind of embarassed about it. Unless people directly ask how we met, I tend to steer clear of the subject, and I deinitely don’t publicise it. We’ve been talking about getting married, and come to think of it, it’s weird that not everyone at the wedding (especially older relatives) would know how we met, or would even approve of it if they found out!”

JUNE'S ADVICE: “Always be open and willing to give people a second chance. Don’t just go for appearances – take the time to read their profiles and talk to them and you just might find a good catch.”

“My parents were worried when they heard about how we met, but after getting to know him, they liked him a lot.”

My Reading Room

Andie, 25

I swiped right on Karl on Tinder when I was 22 and fresh out of a relationship. Honestly, I was just looking for some fun, but things got serious before either of us knew what was happening. I know it sounds shallow, but I swiped for his looks; he was super buff and had tattoos, which are my weakness.

He caught my attention because his messages were so direct; he definitely walked the line between flirty and crude. He sent me a particularly lewd message. I sassed him back and that got his attention. I decided to stop messaging him as I wasn’t in the mood to deal with another (seemingly) arrogant player.

Apparently, fate had other plans, because a week later, we bumped into each other at a party hosted by a mutual friend. He approached me to apologise for that message, which I really appreciated, and eventually, we got to talking and really hit it off. I liked the flirty banter and was physically attracted to him, but still insisted that we hang out on a platonic basis. Towards the end of our first hangout, it was clear that things were not platonic – the sexual tension was off the charts.

I had been screwed over in my previous relationship, and really didn’t want to get played by another guy, so I called for an Uber before anything could happen. Right when my Uber arrived, he kissed me and it was magical. We started hanging out more often, but still claimed we were just friends, even when our friends rolled their eyes and told us we were definitely dating.

We never really talked about what we were or defined the relationship, but six months in, while we were sitting on the steps around Marina Bay, he looked me in the eye and told me I was his best friend and that he loved me. We both took our phones out and ceremoniously deleted all our dating apps (even though neither of us had been active on them in ages), and we’ve been official ever since!”

ANDIE’S ADVICE: “Be honest with yourself about why you’re on the app. Regardless of what you want out of it, swipe with an open mind. Don’t try to measure each candidate against too-high standards because there’s always more to people than what their profile has to offer.”

Leslie, 28

I had been the single girl in my group for over two years and even though I’m very independent, I couldn’t help feeling like I was the last single girl in the world. I was against using dating apps for the longest time because they always felt so unromantic to me. Ironically, I was tweeting about my frustration when Ivan, someone who I’d never spoken to before, responded out of the blue. I had said something along the lines of, “FML, so over dating, I’ll just die alone.” He replied with “ditto”, slid into my DM’s, and the rest is history. 

We went to the Maldives for my birthday last year, and he proposed with the most beautiful ring. Everything about the moment was perfect. Even so, it’s tough because his parents are very conservative and they still don’t know that we met online. At this point, it would be just so awkward to tell them we’ve been lying to them for four years about how we met. With other people, I tell them we met in school or through mutual friends. Only our close friends know the real story.

He was in Australia for university when we first started talking, so we only met in person a few months later. Things were only awkward for the first few minutes, and we joked about how strange it was that we met on Twitter. I honestly believe that our online exchanges set a foundation for the relationship because I knew I liked him for his personality (he only sent me his picture two months into talking).

The fact we had such chemistry before we met assured me that our relationship wouldn’t just be based on how physically attracted we were to each other.

In general, I think Singaporeans are more accepting of couples who met online now compared to when Ivan and I met, but I still think there’s a perception that apps like Tinder are just for casual flings. There are “better” apps like OkCupid and Coffee Meets Bagel that prioritise personality and character over looks.”

LESLIE’S ADVICE: “Don’t give up if you haven’t found anyone yet. The right person might come along when you least expect it.”

“I was against using dating apps for the longest time because they always felt so unromantic to me. ”

What the stats say

A 2017 study on statista.com found that...

84% of users on dating websites and apps are looking for romantic relationships

24% are looking for an exclusively sexual one (note: some are open to both)

But there are many who are averse to using them. If you’re looking for a real catch, online dating can be a good place to expand your fishing net. Using a dating app won’t prevent you from meeting Prince Charming IRL, but it can increase your chances of meeting potential candidates. You never know – your next swipe could be your happily ever after. 

Images 123RF.com Text Compiled By Claire Soong.