When Crystal Met Dan: 4 Times on Tinder's The Charm

When Crystal Met Dan... 

An online dating succcess story: Crystal and Dan. He loves her reindeer games. 

An online dating succcess story: Crystal and Dan. He loves her reindeer games. 

Editor's Note: Crystal is one of my favorite people and fellow cat lady. So I'm pleased to have her as our inaugural online dating success story. Her sweet memoir is proof that the work and weirdness is worth it if you eventually find your penguin.

Online dating and I have a love / hate  relationship. Probably due to the fact that I’ve never quite enjoyed dating to begin with. First dates? I’m that girl that will awkwardly shake a guy’s hand if he goes in for a hug. True story. It’s like watching a trainwreck in slow motion.

Don’t get me wrong. I love meeting new people. Just not on dates.  Which totally explains  why I was coupled-up for the better part of my early twenties. A  three year relationship followed by a four year relationship - with only handful of single months between each, mostly spent eating Ben & Jerry’s to recover from the first breakup and dancing it up with my girls to move on before the second.

Relationships were safe and comfortable, which to me outweighed going to the bars in the hopes of hooking up with someone new and exciting every weekend.

Fast forward to me at 31.

Amazing job. Fantastic apartment. My shit completely intact for once in my life. I was also single for nearly six years and counting.

Now before you feel really bad for me, there were a few short-lived flings in there, but I kept noticing a common theme. No matter how great a guy was,  after a month or two I was bored and throwing myself back into my work and my blog. Which, on the flip side, didn’t end up being a bad thing but because both really took off over those six years.

But at 31, things start to happen. You’re no longer getting wedding invites, you’re getting baby shower invites. Family dinners become less about “been on any fun dates lately?” and more along the lines of “Why are you still single?”

This is when I dipped my toe in the dating pool.

The first time I tried Tinder, it was 2014 and the only men on Tinder in my city were those in the startup space. Tech savvy men who heard about it on TechCrunch. The first guy I connected with was a great guy! Until he, a startup founder, found out I specialized in PR for startups. Next thing I knew, he was asking me to meet and talk business and PR strategy.

That was the first time I deleted Tinder.

January 2015. Meet a totally handsome guy on Tinder that is totally my type, only to find out over drinks on our first date that he had sole custody of his teenage daughter and that he hoped I would be super into being a stepmom.

I was a teenage girl once. I know how this ends.

That was the second time I deleted Tinder.

September 2015. Another failed attempt. Date cancels because his car *apparently* broke down. Never to be heard from again.

That was the third time I deleted Tinder.

Which brings me to October 2015. With a little encouragement from a friend visiting from Australia, a proud Tinderella, I downloaded Tinder for the fourth time. A week later, another great guy, disappears into thin air. Shouldn’t someone be investigating all of these mysterious disappearances of men on Tinder?

You may be thinking - ok that’s DEFINITELY when she deleted Tinder for the last time. But this wouldn’t be a success story if I did, now would it?

On the contrary, I threw my phone against the wall, had a sobbing meltdown while listening to Adele’s newly released “Hello” and swore I would never open that damn app ever again. Yeah. Go ahead, picture that. It was right out of romantic comedy.

That Sunday, I woke up to a Tinder notification: you have a Super Like.

My first thought, in my fit of rage that I’d forgotten to delete this stupid app, was: “What the hell is a Super Like?”

Intrigued, I opened up the app, ignored all other notifications of connections and went straight to this mysterious Super Like. I should add, this whole time, I was still cursing profusely about how much I hated Tinder. Imagine my surprise when the profanity switched to a soft “Oh…”

Followed by an even longer “Ohhhhh.” This guy was so handsome, with a great smile and he was exactly what I was looking for. And apparently my entire family approved, because our long list of mutual friends were my cousins, their friends, and my Aunt Flo. Yes, I have a real Aunt Flo and she’s awesome.

That’s when fear crept in - were we a perfect match or were we related? Was this going to the latest Tinder disappointment? Matched with my long lost cousin?

Happy to report, we were not related. In fact, I quickly learned that he was actually my cousin’s best friend. And that they had been best friends since we were all kids. And yet, we’d never met, despite figuring out along the way that we’d had a handful of shared same time, same place moments over the years, including a wedding we both attended with other people.

But of course, this is exactly how the universe works.

We meet people when we do for a reason and it became incredibly hard to stay mad at the universe when it handed me the man of my dreams.

We first spoke on a Sunday and had our first date on a Monday. And remember that girl I told you about at the beginning of this article that awkwardly shakes hands on first dates? When I first saw D in the restaurant on our first date, I couldn’t throw my arms around him for a hug fast enough.

Why? Because I knew. I knew right then and there, nothing was ever going to be the same again.

That was the last time I deleted Tinder. Because I knew.  

We saw each other again on Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday - when he showed up with long stemmed roses and a card that read #exclusive.  Yes ladies. Romantics DO exist.

A year and nearly a half later, we’ve been inseparable ever since, moving in together only three months later. It’s been the best year and a half of my life.

When you’re single, people will always tell you that one day you’ll meet someone that makes you realize why it never worked out with anyone else. And you will want to tell them that’s a lie. That’s just something people tell single girls or brokenhearted girls after a breakup.

I’m here to tell you that it IS true.  All of it. Especially the stuff, good and bad,  you hear about online dating.

You’re going to get stood up.

You’re going to meet someone that looks amazing on paper and bores you to death in person.

Someone will be creepy.

You’re going to have someone appear super into you when messaging who will fall off the face of the earth.

But I’m also here to tell you that when you do meet your soulmate - and you will - it’s going to make all of it worth it.

So be fearless. Create that dating profile. You’ve got nothing to lose and a lifetime of love, giddy giggles and butterflies in your stomach to gain.

Crystal Richard is the Founder and Blogger behind East Coast Mermaid - a lifestyle blog about travel and life on the East Coast. She's also the maker and tail shaker behind the East Coast Mermaid shop, a global PR storyteller, and in her spare time she manages her cat's Instagram account! Follow her gypsea adventures on Instagram @crystal_catherine or on Twitter @crystalcrichard.