I went on an online hiatus last year. I stopped Tinder, eHarmony and Match and it was bliss. I worked on myself, what I wanted, and how to become an amazing partner for my dream man.
I would love to tell you that “he” then magically appeared at my door, but this wasn’t the case. You still have to put yourself out there. Something that makes my little introverted heart draw back in horror.
Keep in mind, I’ve also moved, so I’ve joined Match (again!) and an app called Hinge. Match made me realize why I stopped this online dating thing to begin with. Here are 5 reasons online dating sucks:
1. The Dating & Mating Ritual is Backwards
It’s high school or university. You’re on your way to the next class and a cute human catches your eye. There may be eye contact, preening and posturing. You knew immediately whether there were sparks or not.
You’d meet, chat, see if there was any kind of “connection” (hormones were raging then so this wasn’t hard). Talking on the phone and texting only served to strengthen the in-person connection that you’d already established. You were already excited to get his or her’s text or phone call.
Online, you can only guess if you’d be excited to meet face to face. You can only guess at the chemistry and often you establish this weird quasi-emotional investment without really knowing the person. When you finally met, you could be seriously stoked or terribly disappointed, especially since…
2. Photos are not the same as IRL
I’ll confess, I can’t tell if I’m attracted to a guy by looking at his photos. I need to hear his voice, see his body language, and the way his eyes crinkle when he smiles. And I’m, uh, also a bit sapiosexual.
Also guys have some terrible photos that they took in their car or while working out or a bathroom selfie. Just no. Get someone, a friend, a professional even, to take a photo of you. I am not even going to go into weird joke photos or pictures of guys 20 years ago which leads me on to…
3. For a Woman, your Age means a lot
Okay I may get slammed by this, but, when I was in my 20s and 30s pre-marriage, it was easy to meet other guys online around my age. Now, on Match I seem to manage to get more messages from guys who are closer my father’s age than me. Despite filtering my age category.
When did this start to happen? I don’t have daddy issues, I’d still like to date someone around my age (a few years younger up to 8 years older). I’ve always had that preference. It seems like now that I’ve crossed the big 4-0, all of a sudden I’m game for guys in their 60s. But hey, many people would tell me I’m picky, and if I were…
4. It’s a Picky Human’s Dream!
There are thousands of men and women who are online. You can look through photos and read profiles and right swipe guys who a) have a certain sense of style b) are a certain age c) make a certain amount of money d) are the same religion… the list goes on.
Both men and women accuse each other of being picky and being online isn’t helping. For those who remember Seinfield, you are now worse than Jerry because of all the filters. That guy’s smile’s weird? NEXT. Don’t like his beard? NEXT. “But why is this a bad thing?” you’re asking, “This means I’ll get exactly what I want.” Well I’ll tell you why.
I buy into the theory that the more choice you have, the more attracted you are to looking but the less commitment you make. It’s called the Paradox of Choice¹ and is well known in marketing. A seller hopes to hit the sweet spot of having enough choice to attract buyers but not too much where they experience overwhelm and don’t choose at all.
Often, being online is overwhelming . Tinder is a perfect example. It’s more about playing the game of matching and less about making a real connection. You also don’t commit to one person because you feel that there may be someone better only one swipe away.
5. It’s not the same as an Introduction by mutual acquaintances
I’ll admit, this is what works best for me. Both of my significant past relationships started with a friend introduction. In contrast, I had one online match that ended in 3 months as he confessed that he had feelings for his ex’s best friend. Oh the drama!
This might be the best method for me because I’m not at a party every weekend, but reason why 39% of people meet their partners this way is the fact that we trust recommendations from people we we feel have our best interests at heart². It’s like having a gold star rating of approval; it helps.
This what influenced my dating hiatus to a high degree. If this is the way most people meet their significant other then maybe I shouldn’t go online. But now I’m back… from outer space… Why do you ask?
1. I have moved to a new city
So meeting someone through friends or acquaintances gets thrown out the window. I’m making friends and learning about my new city, Vancouver, but I don’t have enough of a network to ask for an introduction to single guys that they know. So although this is the most successful method overall, it can still be hit and miss. It also doesn’t hurt going online to meet new people, even if they turn into friends instead of a romantic partner.
2. I know that most people on online dating sites are single… and looking
Here’s why I don’t go looking for guys in a bar/club: I have no idea whether they’re single. And even though I’m a notorious flirt, I definitely withhold as I’m not sure what the guy’s status is. I’ve got a pretty strict moral code and karmic belief about stealing another woman’s man. Another thing, he may be single, but he may be happily single and not looking for the same type of relationship I am. (uh-huh, been burned by this one too).
Look, I’m aware that there are people on Match or Tinder who aren’t single, but for the most part, they are single and have taken the time and effort to create a profile and show others what they’re looking for.
3. Use as Many Resources as You Can
Finally, here’s what I believe. The men I’ve dated and found attractive have come from many different walks of life. The little nit picky parts of their profile don’t matter. When you meet the right someone, there’s an intangible click of knowing.
What I want and possibly what you want too is the emotional bond, the sharing of a life, the joy of having a sexual partner and the history that we build over time together. Yes, I’m not denying I have to be attracted but attraction is not about looking cool and doing cool things. It’s about an alignment of values and knowing how to be in a relationship.
The goal is more important than the means for me so if my future significant other is out there looking for me online or at an event. I want to be there. What about you?
We seem to worship the idea of Romantic Love. I know I did. There was nothing that I wanted more than to find someone to love. It was the ultimate goal of many books and movies, even the ones that were not geared to women. It was Elisabeth Shue in Karate Kid, that became the imprint of beauty and the girl “worthy of love and pursuit” for me. The fact that I look nothing like her was not lost on me either.
When I was younger, I wanted to find someone, fall in love and get married. That idea superseded everything else: my career, my family, everything else came second. That’s what I wanted and that’s what I went looking for and received.
So many of us think that romantic love is the supreme goal, the pinnacle of life. Someone once told me, “Why should I deny myself the best feeling in the world?” Of course, that person was also defending the idea of leaving his marriage. That person was my ex.
The Dark Side to Romantic Love
The issue is, that romantic love comes at a price. It’s love that is doomed to fade. Researchers confirm it. Yet, in our hearts, we believe that this type of love is essential for a lasting relationship and marriage to be successful. It makes the world look more colourful and feel more delightful. The exhilaration that this type of love brings is powerful. Yet, we must remember that romantic love is driven by hormones and by the euphoria of finding “the one”.
If we’re lucky, our marriages and relationships will mellow into Companionate Love. The type of love designed to carry you through thick or thin. According to the triangular theory of love, this style of love is not as exciting or addicting as romantic love. In fact, many of us think that it’s boring. But this should be the style of love we see as ideal. After all, this is the love where your partner brings you soup when you are sick, lets you vent about your awful day at work and cheers you up when you’re down. This is the love that you are stuck with… if you’re lucky.
Yet, the idea that romantic love lasts with the right person pervades storytelling. It’s fantasy. Not reality. If you believe that romantic love will last forever with your partner, and then it fades, how do you feel? If you believe this then either you didn’t choose well or something is wrong with you or your partner.
Should I not care About Romantic Love?
If Romantic love doesn’t last, we should use our head then and not our heart right? I mean, this is the only way to not get hurt, yes?
Romantic love is there for a reason. How else do we form a strong enough attachment to a lover without it? The problem is that for some reason, we believe that it must last forever, and this is where we run into difficulties.
I believe that you should be compatible with someone before allowing yourself to fall in love. Make no mistake, we give ourselves permission to fall for someone, we give in to the powerful addiction of romantic love. I believe that it’s possible to find someone that you like and admire as a person. A person who will be kind, caring and altruistic. A person who you can always appreciate and have wonderful conversations and learn from. That way you’re free to experience romantic love and it’s more likely that companionate love will be there at the end after the mania fades.
1. Accept that romantic love will fade and it’s not your fault or your partner’s fault.
2. Make sure that you choose someone you like and respect as your romantic partner.
Madey, S. F., & Rodgers, L. (2009). The effect of attachment and Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love on relationship satisfaction. Individual Differences Research, 7(2), 76-84.
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