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Tinder dating is like watching "Game of Thrones": There are so many characters it's hard to keep track of them all, its reputation for gratuitous sex precedes it and you know you shouldn't get too attached to anyone because chances are he won't last long.
I know this thanks to my most successful Tinder match thus far — we'll call him Robb (Stark). Robb and I met about seven months after I moved to L.A. — and three months after a relationship of six years ended. I had never seen "Game of Thrones," and Robb spent most of our first date talking about how I needed to check it out.
The date was only OK, but Robb was really good at texting. He was funny and charming and sent just the right number of cute pictures of his dog — so I gave him a second chance. After date No. 2, I saved his number in my phone and started watching "GoT." For our third date, I ventured from my apartment in Silver Lake all the way to his place in Santa Monica. Our dogs met each other, and I decided I didn't mind the Westside or the drive. Clearly, I was into him.
That said, we met on Tinder, and I'd been warned about Tinder guys and the nature of Tinder relationships. So I proceeded with caution, and even as I had fun with Robb, I simultaneously braced for the end. The experience was reminiscent of my nervous rooting for my favorite characters as I closed in on the ominous "Red Wedding" episode. I knew a lot of people were going to die, just as I knew that all Robb had to do was swipe his finger through a few profiles to find someone new.
Robb and I passed the one-month mark and had a few sleepovers. At the same time, I knew he was not only still using Tinder (the app lets you see when someone last logged on) but also continuing to update his profile — trying harder, it seemed, to meet new girls. When you meet a guy through more "conventional" methods, you know in theory he's dating other people, but you don't have to see how hard he's working at it. Having such easy access to this kind of information could be a bad thing — but if you're recently single and should be taking things slow anyway, it can be a great reminder to keep your expectations grounded. Robb and I were good, but "winter was coming."
So I continued to use Tinder too and went on a few dates. There was the guy who referred to himself as "an alien," the guy who texted me before our date that he might show up wearing one handcuff, and a few others of equal or lesser value.
Eventually, I went on a promising date with a guy I'll call Jon (Snow). In the same way Robb helped me realize there were other guys in the world besides my ex, Jon helped me realize there were other guys on Tinder besides Robb. In truth, Jon didn't respond when I texted to see if he wanted to hang out again — but it wasn't that big a deal. I hadn't saved his number in my phone or anything.
Then one day, I accidentally followed him on Twitter, freaked out, hit un-follow over and over, and then swore as I realized I had just followed/un-followed him several million times. He was definitely going to get at least an alert. He was going to know I was thinking about him more than was situationally appropriate. He was going to end things — like a sword to the back of the neck.
I texted him, owning up to my faux pas by trying to make a joke about my horrible Twitter skills. Surprisingly, he was cool about it (which made me like him more), and we made plans to hang out. We were safe for the moment, but this in no way ensured our survival, our seat on the Iron Throne.
If "Game of Thrones" didn't kill off its main characters, it'd be kind of boring. But the real jeopardy keeps me coming back for more. And there's a parallel with Robb. I could end things and delete Tinder from my phone, but I can't, really, because I want to know what happens next. Robb may not last much longer, but I hope that by the time he goes, I'll have internalized this one very important lesson from Tinder and "GoT": Losing one person doesn't mean it's game over; there's always someone else.
Katie Schwartz is a writer who lives in Silver Lake with her dog, Elvis.