Full disclosure, I have only ever sort of watched most of one episode of the Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor/Bachelorette in Paradise franchise. It was earlier this year. My sister (who is the commissioner of a Fantasy Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor/Bachelorette in Paradise league) was visiting and had to watch it so I did work in the kitchen and caught bits and pieces of dialogue. However, from coverage on GMA, covers of magazines at the grocery store, and overhearing conversations about these shows at work, I do know that every season the question: Is he/she here for the right reason? Is asked of at least one contestant.
And while I would guess the answer is always no (though, my assistant assures me that some of the contestants have found loving and enduring relationships) it is not a terrible question to ask yourself when swiping through potential mates on the various dating apps. In fact, I bet it is a question most people are already subconsciously asking.
However, do you know how you are subconsciously answering?
First, a couple of points: one the “right reason” is going to be different for everyone. Some people really are only looking for a hook-up on the app and there is nothing wrong with that. Some people are looking for a long-term, monogamous relationship, others are looking for a long-term partner outside of their open (or otherwise) marriage. I think, as long as you are upfront about this that is fine.
The problem is when you aren’t up front about it; when you are here for the wrong reasons.
Back when I was still on dating apps, I “met” a guy who was (allegedly) tall and handsome and educated and so he checked all those boxes. As we text, he came across as funny, smart, and well read. I was drafting my public apology to all dating apps when he sent me a text saying his kids were going to be with their mother this weekend so did I want to come over?
The issue wasn’t the kids (that was in his profile). The issue was this was going to be our first meeting. It sure as hell wasn’t happening at his home. So, I politely suggested we meet at a bar for a drink. Maybe even downtown since at one point he said he missed living in the city.
He then let me know that he doesn’t see much sense in starting a relationship with someone before he has had sex with them. So, we could meet at a bar, but he expected the evening to end up in his pants.
I told him that I appreciated his candor but I am of the belief that when entering into a potential relationship, it is better to get to know a person before sleeping with them. I then said I wish I had known about his philosophy sooner, but oh well, good luck.
He got angry. A very weird text exchange ensued wherein he suggested he couldn’t be honest because then women (who aren’t honest with themselves) wouldn’t ever match with him and eventually I stopped responding and he stopped texting.
Could all of this have been avoided if he hadn’t included “relationship” under what he was looking for? Maybe. Is he right that had he indicated that he was only looking for hook-ups he wouldn’t get matched with anyone? I don’t know.
Sometimes it is really clear what a person’s reasons are for being on an app: all their pictures are shirtless, headless selfies for example (I don’t care what it says he is looking for, that dude is only looking for a hook-up and a discrete one at that). Other times, you swipe right on a guy who says his religion is very important to him and then before you can exchange numbers he is asking questions about your sex life you haven’t shared with your best friend.
Other times, you will be texting a person for a week before you find out he is just here for the nookie. But in a world where you don’t have 19 other contestants vying for your love and telling you who is and who isn’t there for the right reasons, how do you know? What are your red flags?
I’m seriously asking. Let’s help each other out.