No limits to love: My grandma’s on Tinder

illustration: Josie Phelan

design: Morgan Kubetin

Love is defined as being deeply committed or connected to someone or something. Everyone wants love in their life but is everyone willing to give the commitment that comes with love? Each year it became abundantly clear that with age came new levels of commitment. A first grade relationship that included playing tag at recess very much contradicts being 25 and looking for someone who wants kids too.

A few days ago, my grandma called me to tell me she recently joined tinder and wanted to tell me all about this “dutchman” she met. My grandma hasn’t dated since her husband’s passing. So, it’s a sensitive subject, and I didn’t want to discourage her from pursuing happiness. This being said, I worry for her dating nowadays and adapting to dating online because she doesn’t understand how flirting has adapted as well.

Dating in 2021 is an entirely new element. How we talk and text is different, flirting is perceived completely different then when she met my grandfather. They met at a bar styled restaurant. While my grandfather was shy and kept to himself, my grandmother was outgoing and confrontational. Eventually they bonded over how their ironic differences made them one and that was it; they were in love.

The problem is now she is searching for a similar connection, which is going to be very difficult.

Against the odds, she called to tell me she has a connection with a 60 year-old man named Raphael who has a son my age. She went on about his interests and his life in general.

The problem I see with online dating is no one can really confirm who they’ve met is who they are claiming to be. Even without verification, men and women are allowing themselves to fall for someone over text. She said Raphael told her he is an engineer, born and raised in Austria but has lived here for quite some time.

She went on and on about all the good things Raphael says and does over the phone such as, how he sends her cute poems, all while I was sitting over here so worried for her. I was worried she would get hurt emotionally, she could physically get hurt if he ever convinced her to meet and I was worried he may scam her into giving him money or something related.

I didn’t want to tell her about my worries because I could really see a difference in how she acted, still so bubbly and happy but with a certain glow. Although that was also the main reason I did say something because I want to protect her and we ended up having a long conversation on her needs for her age and what she has been through. She made beautiful points in life, not just about dating.

She told me she was scared and nervous going into this especially since a friend had recommended it, and she wasn’t sure if she was ready for another commitment.

One of her close friends also lost her husband only a few years before my grandma, and she told her it goes beyond romantic needs. It’s the fact that they still have a life to live and a lonely life is not one worth living.

I began to completely understand that my grandma needed company, not just her granddaughter or her kids and I never even thought about it like that. No matter someone’s age, they are living, but people take their life for granted by putting your needs aside to just simply live day by day. Everyone needs something to live for, something to make each day better than the last.

If my grandma simply needs someone new to talk to on the phone and share a laugh with, then I don’t see why I should stand in the way. Tinder may not be a natural “find the love of your life” app but these apps may be good for simply curing the loneliness no one deserves and instead finding people with similar interests to share with.