Modern love, for me, is knowing your boundaries, knowing what you want and what you don’t want in a relationship. With online dating, I was able to maximize that and so much more.
My ex-husband (Troy Woolfolk) was my first and last date on Tinder. We got married in 2019, and even though we got divorced in 2021, I have no regrets. I wouldn’t have my daughter Anika right now if I didn’t meet him through a dating app. I don’t know if we would have ever met because I wasn’t going anywhere or we were just hanging out in different places.
I eventually found love in another online dating app called Hinge. There, I met my current partner who is also divorced with kids. We’ve been together for over half a year now, and I could only turn out grateful because we have a love story that’s so beautiful, it’s probably the most mature relationship I’ve ever had.
On being the ‘patron saint’ of online dating
I’ve heard a lot of jokes about me being the “patron saint of online dating” and they really crack me up. Some are asking for my secrets and even a “prayer reveal.” But the truth is, there are no secrets. I don’t have any special prayers. It’s really just knowing how to play the game.
Most people say online dating is just for hookups, but I beg to disagree. It’s just you, the user, who can dictate what it could be. Just make sure to figure out your purpose for it before you start—is it to date around, or is it to look for something serious? That’s totally up to you.
When my current partner Kyle and I matched, we started chatting and talking every day for a full week or two. It took us a while to get to know each other until we agreed to meet via FaceTime. Of course, I had to know he was real. I had to make sure I wasn’t getting scammed or catfished, because it’s true that a lot of photos can easily be grabbed online. Mind you, that’s a good way to avoid getting scammed. If the one you’re chatting with is hesitant to go on a video call with you, then there could be something—either they’re not the real person, they’re in a relationship, or what not.
In online dating, the most important are these three things: You have to be safe, you have to be picky, and you have to let your friends know about it because yes, there are a lot of crazies out there. You don’t want something bad to happen to you.
In my case, our FaceTime calls eventually turned into in-person dates. Video chatting beforehand helped a lot and freed our first meet-up from any sort of awkwardness.
Going into this digital world where you can access anyone’s page these days (unless they’re on private) and meet someone from a different part of the world, a thousand miles away from you, that’s crazy to me—but that’s also beautiful.
Our conversations have been fluid from the get-go. I would never ever deny my story that I went through a divorce. When we met, I was a newly divorced mom of one. He knew my past, I knew his, and I think we both respected that.
On top of the fact that my boyfriend is very handsome, I find it super sexy when a man is a very responsible guy. He’s a fulltime dad. Aside from his face and his body, it’s really his character that really caught my eye. It felt so easy talking to him and nothing felt forced. In our chats and sweet nothings, both online and offline, I found that I can really talk to this person for hours with no hesitation.
That’s what I mean by playing the game, in the sense that you get to know other people, you can chat with other people, and see if it can work out in one way or another—as lovers or just friends.
On the stigma that comes with online dating
Some people have been using dating apps as a secret because some find it “shameful” that they “can’t meet anyone in person.” Well, we have different lifestyles with different factors. You could be someone with so many obligations at home. You could be very busy with work that you’d no longer have time to go out and meet people organically. There’s nothing wrong with any of those.
The beauty of online dating is you get to choose. You are in control and you have the power to only respond to the people you want to talk to. You can even go for your preferences when it comes to location, tags, age range, hobbies, favorites, and narrow it down according to your liking. That’s something you can’t do organically.
Going into this digital world where you can access anyone’s page these days (unless they’re on private) and meet someone from a different part of the world, a thousand miles away from you, that’s crazy to me—but that’s also beautiful because you would never meet these people or that one person that you would fall in love with if it weren’t for these amazing dating apps.
When Kyle and I matched and we started talking, literally, I was on a boat. We were on a boat party in Austin and I was casually swiping and telling my friends: “Oh, this guy is so handsome!” They were like, “Why are you yelling?” I didn’t expect at all that this guy would be my boyfriend.
I remember in my lowest days when I was really depressed after my divorce, I kept crying and talking to God. I always talk to God. All that Kyle is, I prayed for. I prayed for someone soft-spoken, someone very calm, someone who would calm me down, and he’s that person. I prayed for someone responsible, he’s a fulltime dad. He’s very responsible. And that's the same guy who showed up on a dating app.
I would say this is my most mature relationship and it’s because I think I know myself more now. I know my wants, my needs as a woman, how I want to be loved, how I want to be treated. This is why I don’t regret any of my past relationships because they really brought me to where I’m at now. When I was in my 20s, I thought I already knew everything about life. Here we are now—my life is really just getting started.