Some brutally honest things I have learnt while trying to find love online.
Spoiler alert: I’m not going to say great things about it.
1. I hate online dating
It’s impersonal, everything is all about selling yourself (but not too hard at the same time), people look different in real life, YOU look different in real life, it’s superficial and it’s really not for me. However, I do it anyway. Why? Because with a busy schedule of sitting in front of an edit suite for 12 hours a day, unless I form a romantic relationship with my keyboard, I don’t usually have the opportunity to meet anyone new. That being said, I know a lot of friends that really enjoy it and have done well on online platforms. I, alas, am not one of them.
2. Men talk about their penises to you
The size of them, what they want to do with them, how other women love them, how much you’d love them. Any crude comments you can think of, I’ve had it said to me on a dating app at one point or another. Crass, crude and cringeworthy. Fine if you’re someone that is just looking for something casual, not so much for someone wanting something more. Is it working for some men though? Because surely men wouldn’t keep using this technique if SOMEONE is responding right? Guys? Shed some light on this for me please?
3. First dates can be exciting new experiences…or feel like job interviews
When you like someone it can be all sparks flying, hair tossing, girly giggling greatness. Unfortunately, I’ve had very little of those dates and more of the job interview ones. You cover the same ground on each new date trying to find out the basics of the other person: what do they do, how long they’ve been doing that for, do they enjoy their job, where do they live, what are their hobbies, do they have any siblings, where have you last been on holiday, where they plan to go next. It can all roll into one very fast. I’ve had a bit of a confusing time where I mixed up two men I was speaking to online and when it came to meeting in person, spoke about things that we had already chatted about or mentioned something that was relevant to one of the guys, but not the other. All in all, I find myself repeating a lot and preparing the same questions and answers – though not through lack of trying to change it up, but merely the conversation backtracking to where we started naturally.
4. It’s going to be tough if you’re not looking for a hook-up
Living and dating in the height of the modern hook-up culture, if this is not what you’re looking for then good luck to you! Trying to find someone suitable that isn’t just going to be trying to get into your pants and then bugger off is such a challenge it should be treated like an Olympic sport. I’m not saying there aren’t those out there looking for something serious, but sifting through a huge catalogue of humans to find those that are both looking for more than a fling and compatible, all the while holding down a demanding job is quite a feat. I have resulted to simply stating on my profile that I am not looking for casual hook-ups, but that doesn’t really stop those that didn’t bother to read the 5 or so lines I had written.
5. My ‘type’ is different from the guys I actually date
The guys I find attractive immediately tend to be the ones that don’t hold my attention (or my desire) for very long. What is often mistaken for “connection” is usually just infatuation. The guys I grow to like are the ones that are dangerous for me. I find them friendly at first, but there is no immediate attraction, nor do I notice their physical attractiveness. However, after spending time with them and realising they have an emotional or intellectual depth that can hold intriguing and challenging conversations is where I am usually hooked. My problem is though, I am too impatient to wait for such a connection to grow with the guys I meet online. When they don’t show this trait in the first 3 dates or so, I don’t have the patience to stick around and wait to find out if they possess it or not. I am an impatient and flawed human and I am very much aware of it.
6. ‘Ghosting’ can be a blessing in disguise
We all talk about how crap it is when someone you thought you had a connection with suddenly just ‘ghosts’ on you. For those not in the know, ‘ghosting’ is where someone just disappears on you; not replying to messages/calls etc. However, I personally don’t think the act is as bad as what others out there might think. It saves a lot of time and blundering in the long run if one person doesn’t feel the same way about the other. Sometimes, just not replying can help avoid the awkward I’m-not-that-into-you-but-now-I-feel-compelled-to-write-a-break-up-text-even-though-it’s-only-been-2-dates message scenario.
7. ‘The Game’ is awfully tiring
Oh, he’s texted back. Better wait until later to reply or I’ll seem desperate. But, don’t want to wait too long or he’ll think I’m not interested. He didn’t text me back for 2 days and now he’s messaging me straight away, what does this mean?? This. Is. So. Tiring. Trying to work out when is the optimal time to message back, spending longer composing a text than your morning commute, reading his message on your home screen but not actually opening it so he doesn’t see the blue ticks on Whatsapp. All the while trying to appear aloof and all this was completely unplanned. This takes far too much effort. I’m just not interested in all this overthinking. I’ll message you back when I want to. It doesn’t mean anything more or less than I simply wanted to/was able to message back at that time. End of.
8. As a woman, you will get bombarded with messages
On sites and apps that don’t require a ‘match’ in order to connect, women tend to get a lot of messages. No matter what your preferences have been set to in terms of age or location, you will get messages from men all over the world that are old enough to be your dad. They mean no harm, but having an inbox of 50-100 messages per day when you first sign up means you just can’t afford to be polite and reply to everyone to say you’re not interested.
9. Your married/coupled up friends think dating life is thrilling
Swiping left and right, first dates, singles nights, all the things your married/coupled up friends find fascinating and cannot understand why you’re not having the time of your life experiencing it. I’ve had a few of my married friends take over the swiping on my Tinder account before, they love it! Especially when they get me a match. Every new match could be “The One” according to them. If only I had their outlook!
10. Learn to be kind and positive, despite all the bad experiences
It’s what gets you through it. Like a bad boyfriend, no matter how bad it treats you, online dating somehow still draws you back in – not that I’m condoning you go back to a bad boyfriend by the way! So, in order to not get intensely frustrated and stare a lifetime of loneliness in the face, be positive and learn to be hopeful. Fingers crossed that the next swipe could be my last!