Annalena is bisexual. In Germany she hides her feelings. Abroad, she gets to know some women via Tinder and finds herself. Over the years, her radius continues to expand.

Tinder turns ten this year. The star spoke to people about their experiences with online dating. Here is the story of Annalena*, 26, who found her sexuality through Tinder:

“Have I really changed my settings?” This funny question kept going through my head on my long train journey from Sweden to Hamburg. After all, at that time nobody was to know that I was not only attracted to men, but also to women.

I downloaded Tinder for the first time during my bachelor’s degree in Hamburg. During the three years on campus, I used the app sometimes more, sometimes less successfully. In any case, I wasn’t satisfied with my single life. After all, I only met boys at the time, although I had long known that I was into girls, too.

When I started my Masters in Sweden two years ago, I saw the perfect opportunity to finally be who I am. Here I was a blank slate, freed from scrutiny and the fear that people would judge me for my bisexuality. A few days after I arrived, I changed my Tinder search setting to “Women”. I think Tinder plays an important role for a lot of people in the LGBTQ community. Especially if you don’t realize until late who you’re interested in. At least the anonymity of the internet has given me the freedom to have my first experiences with same-sex partners, which might have taken a lot more courage in real life.

This freedom ended for me at the Danish border. As soon as I sat on the train to Germany, I changed my attitude back to “Show me men”. After all, nobody from my homeland should know about my new life. As long as I was visiting, I remained inactive or wrote to men. On the way back, I usually changed my search filter right away. That’s how it went for a few months.

Unpleasant encounter on Tinder

At some point I started to gradually expand my Tinder radius. “Nobody knows you in Denmark,” I thought to myself on a train journey and only changed my attitude in Schleswig-Holstein. A few months later I looked for female singles there as well and at some point also in my old children’s room in Hamburg. One day a former teammate was flushed into my timeline. She asked me if I had made a mistake in the search query. I replied that I was new here and must have made a mistake – what a stupid excuse – and immediately deleted Tinder from my phone.

The next time I went to Hamburg, I felt terrible and knew I didn’t want to hide anymore. If I wanted to live my Swedish life in Germany, I had to accept meeting people who knew me. From that point on, I started coming out to friends and my parents. When the player met me again on Tinder a few weeks later, she asked me if I was lost again. I said no and swiped left.

*Name changed by editors

Recorded by Julian Schmelmer

Lisa is less happy with her Tinder experience. She actually got along well with her date, but then he suddenly broke contact – and left a corona infection behind. Here is her story.