Somehow—don't ask me how—I'd managed to get through the majority of my life without ever downloading a dating app. I tended to fall into long-term relationships pretty quickly and never got around to dating.

So when I found myself freshly single in my early 30s in a city where I didn't know many people, I faced a hard truth: Unless I was going to overcome my fear of approaching strangers in public, I was going to need to explore the terrifying world of dating apps if I hoped to meet someone new.

I'd never even really dated

While I find the concept of dating fascinating, ultimately, I was never successful at it. I'd had one or two boyfriends in high school, one through college, another after moving to a new city, then met someone at work right after that. I didn't jump into relationship after relationship but rather formed friendships once I was single that eventually turned into relationships.

After recognizing my frustrating pattern, I took a year off from seeing anyone. I didn't want to dive back into anything serious and I wanted to take some time to learn more about myself, my needs and my desires. When I