Dating Apps vs Destiny

Eugenia Salnikova
4 min readNov 2, 2020

how your ego can interfere with your relationship even before the relationship

Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash

I have never enjoyed fairytales. In fact, I grew up with Twin Peaks. “The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer” was my favorite book as soon as I learned to read. I have never looked for a prince charming or believed in destiny.
Having figured out more than one very challenging situation in life, I’ve always counted on myself, knowledge, education, hard work and consistency.

Yet, there is this one sphere of life where I’ve always refused to give it to the algorithms — dating. I was the last one among my friends to install a dating app and the first one to remove it. It felt like a waste of time and by the third date I couldn’t even listen to myself telling the same story of my life.

I would go back to the apps every other year or so and remove them within two weeks saying: “I can’t do this. I am going to let destiny take its course and see where it takes me. I refuse to build my love life based on a swipe”. I wanted something real and in my vision of the world, swiping just wasn’t it.

Then something happened. Somebody reappeared in my life after long years of silence. We shared a whirlwind romance in Paris some time ago and there we were again, both single in 2020. I was still in France and he was in his home town. It all came back. After reminiscing and catching up on the last events, it was clear to me — this must be IT.
This is the story I’ve always deserved — a special one, when the moon and the stars and everything else came in a perfect combo and our paths crossed again. Curtains fall.

Then something else happened. Long story short, he managed to hurt me in a span of a week. Correction: he managed to hurt my fantasy of him. Looking back at it, this whole thing wasn’t worth a minute of my time but who can stop a woman who is finally living THE story?

I sincerely wanted to stop believing in destiny when it hit me: I never wanted this in the first place. My ego did. My ego wanted a nice story where everybody would listen with their mouths open, instead of just nodding when I’d say: “We met on a dating app”.

My ego wanted to be better and have a cooler story to tell. Better than the others who swiped right on the right person and made the right choice.

My ego wanted to grab the same book as him in the Shakespeare and Co store in front of Notre Dame.

It was longing for nice company on a flight. After all, what can be more romantic than meeting your soulmate in the sky? Transatlantic flight. Especially if the middle seat is empty! That’s the dream.

It wanted to reconnect with my high school / college / university love and rewind on the myriad of coincidences that brought us back together. Except for this time, we would be more mature and we would just go at it, right away.

My ego was craving this chain of events and consequences where we would end up in the same café. It would be even better if one of us wasn’t supposed to be there but happened to just stumble in.

It wanted to texted my crush from 10 years ago and see whether those sparks would fly around with the same intensity.

It wanted something special. Ego never wanted to appear as “looking” or “desperate” or to answer the question “so what are you doing on this app?”. Ego wanted a beautiful, written-in-the-stars connection with a sophisticated path towards each other and a happy ending.
I would gently accept this connection, without the “searching” part.

It wanted a hint of drama with passion, long-distance, relocating for the one… It felt like love wasn’t worth it if there was no special, burning story to tell about it.

My ego wanted to go to the last movie in the cinema in front of my place, alone. He would sit down next to me, also alone.

And this, kids, is how I met your father.

Kidding. Never happened.

This ego part of me was hard to accept but it was as clear as the sky on a white night in Stockholm. I had to make a choice and it was a humbling one. It was also a grown-up one. I had to be open about what I wanted and, most importantly, open about the way I would get it.

Then again, didn’t my ego want just to be in the right place and the right time, if you remove the whole metaphorical dust from this situation?

“I was sitting in home, drinking coffee and writing an article. It was the 2020 lockdown. I opened my phone, swiped right, and so did he. Two months after we met for a coffee. It wasn’t love at first sight but we liked each other and decided to give it a shot”.

And that, kids, is how I met your father.

“OMG Mom, that is so old school and romantic!”

“Ah, that’s just how we did it back in the day.”

Maybe my destiny is waiting for me to grab the right book at Shakespeare and Co. Maybe it involves a fully charged battery on my phone and good timing.

I have no idea. It might as well be there already and the story is as bland as white rice… I like rice actually and I am in it for me. Not for the story, not for the ego. And I have never felt more complete.

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Eugenia Salnikova

Ukrainian in Paris. Doing things and writing about them. I love seeing casual daily activities as life-transforming experiences and finding some wisdom in them.