Opinion | Why I married a man from Tinder

By Jessica Snyder, Senior Staff Columnist

When I was little, I made up my mind that I would never get married or have children. Currently, I’ve been married to my husband, Joe, for a month and we’ve committed to adopting two fur babies, Queso and Cash, who have lived in our apartment for less than a week. While my past self might be pleasantly surprised, I don’t think she would be any less confused that I decided to get married, like most of you readers.

To cut straight to the point, I didn’t believe in love because it wasn’t shown to me. My parents started their divorce when I was in fourth grade, but it finalized when I was in eighth. Familial love did exist, but only in the primal and protective sense. Romantic love was nowhere to be found. No wonder I became cold and developed unhealthy attachments to inadequate romantic partners later on. I was protecting myself, and my heart. 

Tinder was the last place that I expected to find love. For the most part, it’s full of emotionally unavailable people looking to fill the void with other emotionally unavailable people. It’s the perfect breeding ground for heartbreak, disappointment and disaster. On the surface, Joe could be just another cog in the wheel — an attractive stranger from the army on Tinder, “looking for a relationship.” But maybe I appeared the same way — a college student at a state college. Could something like this ever even really work?

Tinder felt like a game more often than a dating app, but I found someone that consistently treats me better than any other partner from my past. The first time Joe met me, he drove 30 hours, from Florida to Pittsburgh and back, just to spend the weekend with me. The last time he made the drive was January — the last time, because we’ll be moving in together after I graduate.

What I’ve come to learn after two years of steadily talking to this man is that love takes time and patience. It isn’t going to be right the first time around — or the second, or the third. You’re going to make mistakes, but ultimately, you come out of it stronger if you’re a team. 

From the start, Joe and I were long distance. Distance isn’t something that’s easy to adapt to, especially if you’ve never been in one before. It’s a big time commitment to try and make up for the missing element of the physical. It is even harder to read body language over FaceTime — trust me.

Joe has anxiety about being in a long distance relationship, which is something I have to sympathize with. It’s hard to keep up with your partner when they’re 800 miles away. What if they’re up to something malicious? It also doesn’t help when people have burned you in the past. Stereotypes can come into play when there’s previous evidence to back it. People warn of military members cheating on their partners or getting cheated on — and the same goes for college students. But cheating happens everywhere, at any age or profession. For Joe and I, we are always transparent with who we are with, how we feel about others and accurately portraying our relationship to them. 

It doesn’t help when you haven’t a good portrayal of love before either. Both Joe’s and my parents are separated, so neither of us grew up in a household where parents stayed married.

From an early age, it’s safe to assume that love was a broken concept for us — which is why we’re both committed to breaking the cycle. 

We find ways to spend time together when we’re apart, by either watching “The Last of Usseries every Sunday or by spending his lunch break catching up and chatting. Sometimes, bad habits come out when we argue, but we make sure to hold one another accountable and never go to bed mad. Ultimately, we’re making up for the physical time that we can’t spend together in whatever ways we can, because we’re committed to one another. We make sure to apologize and be vulnerable, like leaving our emotions out in the open and admitting when we’re wrong, even when it feels so difficult to do so. 

Joe has become an important part of my life, despite being only a colorfully pixelated image on my phone screen for half of a year. He’s very real and has interests, beyond the surface level stereotypes that he embodies.

He’s a big Star Wars fan and he insists that he still loves me even though I’m not. Just recently, he made me sit through an episode of “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which I have to admit was pretty good. He’s told me all the secrets, like the fact that Anakin is actually Darth Vader…did everyone know this?!

He also likes reading — Stephen King in particular. His favorite is “The Shining.” When he lost the one he was reading at the time, I sent him my copy of “American Psycho for his birthday. This definitely isn’t the typical romantic gesture, but Joe seemed to enjoy it, since we had daily book club meetings comparing the book and the movie. His favorite beer is Blue Moon. I got him a Blue Moon shirt from a club at Pitt that he isn’t even in, and a 30-rack every time he comes up — this is how I keep him around.

He is also very thoughtful. One day I got a call from a flower shop and rushed home to find flowers from him. I still have the flowers on my table, even though they have long since petrified, simply because I don’t have the heart to get rid of them. I alway dreamed of being treated so thoughtfully, so it serves as a reminder of how much he loves me. 

He likes anime, “Berserk” in particular. There is both an animated series and a manga, which is the original comic book that inspired the series. The author, Kentaro Miura, unfortunately passed, but the series lives on and the manga are released intermittently. I know all of this because he tells me when the next episodes are releasing. He likes to cook, which you will never catch me complaining about. He’s great at planning, but he’s also good at going with the flow. Being long distance, we try to make the most out of our time spent together.

At the end of the day, Joe is human — not a killing machine created in a government lab for the sole purpose of aiding in waging wars, or at least, I don’t think he is. He’s become so much more to me than those nine pictures that he had on his Tinder profile.

So, we got married on a Friday the 13th and it snowed, even though it wasn’t supposed to. I think that’s good luck.

Jessica Snyder primarily writes about the little things in life. Write to her at [email protected].