Love in the Land of Tinder
Writer Carla Bianca Ravanes Higham shares how she found the love of her life on Tinder
Once upon a time, there was a girl who grew up in the land of One Tree Hill and Hilary Duff. She was what you would call naive and was never without a rosy outlook towards life. She spent her free time writing stories, constantly daydreaming about love that was yet to be. She waited patiently and yet her happily ever after never came. She accepted a life of being alone until her whole life changed the moment she swiped right.
That girl was me and the most rebellious thing I did was get married to the love of my life, a year after a lovestory of the most unconventional roots began.
The Becoming of Betty La Fea
As a child, I prided myself on being everything but conventionally beautiful. Just like the late Carrie Fisher, I knew that I could never be as beautiful as my mom or my sister so I focused on being extremely smart, opinionated and funny.
I took pride in being the smart alec in class, especially in college, because that set me apart from everyone else. I was loud and uninhibited in dishing out my opinions, especially on issues I’m very passionate about. And most of all, I was firm on my values. Blame it on the way I was raised or my Christian school background, but just like Jane the Virgin, I clung to specific beliefs, which meant I was lightyears behind in the world of dating.
I didn’t know anything about dating, ghosting and casual anything. I was the geek with her nose buried in books and her work load, her fantasies of romance left to daydreams.
In my head, dating still meant being pursued a la Maria Clara, so anything else that fell short was demeaning to my womanhood. That and I was a feminist with a serious relationship with food—which, looking back, might have scared guys away.
The Swiping Marathon
Post-college, I dived into the world of Advertising, PR and Publications yet I remained a true blue Maria Clara. Think: a doe-eyed unicorn in the land of more experienced mermaids. I loved hearing about their adventurous stories anyway, in which a lot included dating app, Tinder.
My initial reaction towards the app was this: booty call. I learned a lot about it through a “friend” (you know...) who reached over a hundred matches on Tinder and had enough stories to make me believe that Tinder was a gross app and was meant for just hookups and nothing more.
That “friend” and I met in the summer of 2015 and come August the same year, I was on my way to the States, cradling a broken heart and with an assignment from one of my editors to experience Tinder and return with a story to tell. My judgemental holier than thou self refused but my bruised heart and ego told me otherwise. I was in new territory right smack in the city of angels, hoping for a chance to heal after all.
And that it did almost instantly because I was “meeting” people I never would have if I didn’t try the app! I met lawyers, struggling actors, models, entrepreneurs, med students and all sorts. Most of them had the same intentions as my “friend” back home, but a lot of them, I realized, were just as lonely as I was. They weren’t killers, psychos or weirdos; they were just ordinary people, like you and me, wanting to be heard, and radically so, loved.
The Long Winding Road
I was on the last leg of my US trip when I swiped on a musician from Central Coast California. It was towards the end of my trip and I have decided that though I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the app and made new friends, I couldn’t shake off the fact that I was still a conventional girl at heart. And as I was about to delete the app shortly after my Tinder story was sent to my editor, the boy with a guitar caught my heart.
It was our common love for CS Lewis and football that led me to believe that maybe, just maybe, this could be more than just a writing assignment and a rebellious act by someone who always did the “right” thing. Of all my matches, he was the only guy who had the courage to call me to just talk.
I only had two days left until I returned to Beverly Hills and said guy didn’t have the courage to drive forty five miles for a girl who wasn’t going to stay anyway. We talked regularly until I left, but was instantly ghosted soon as I returned home. For a girl who was constantly rejected, this was nothing new.
My friends laughed at the fact that despite all my new experiences, I was still a Maria Clara at heart. And I couldn’t stand the waiting game of who would message first. I wanted out and so I got out and blocked him on social media.
But fate ultimately brought us back together. After over a month of not being in touch, I unblocked him and was surprised to get a message. He told me he tried the dating app because he was lonely but later realized that even with a large number of matches, not being able to connect with someone on a certain level still caused loneliness. And so we became friends without the pressure of whether we liked each other or not. And at that time, it didn't matter.
However, the friendship that came with no expectations unexpectedly bloomed into something else, something beautiful. And on February 2, 2016, we officially became a couple. We were in a long distance relationship for over five months until he decided to pack up, sell everything he had and fly to the Philippines.
And guess what happened next? We got married!
To recount how our relationship developed for the purpose of this article is quite mindblowing. For someone as traditional as I am, to find love online, and break about a thousand cliches is truly God’s humor at work.
Love is love, no matter how uncoventional it seems on the outside or in the beginning. Though people around us had their misgivings, we continue to choose each other because we know someone bigger than us is keeping us together. Our journey was never without challenges but to be with someone who sees you beyond the superficial is truly a blessing in itself.
At the end of the day, love is about taking risks and sometimes it’s the most radical choices that lead us to where we only once dreamed to be.
So don't be afraid, step out of your comfort zone and do things differently. Who knows, you might just find love, just like we did.