Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why I Don't Online Date (anymore)

OkCupid. Tinder. Plenty of Fish. Blah, blah, blah. I've tried them all. On multiple occasions and at different times in my life. I always heard "good" things about them, so I was always willing to try, hoping I would be one of the lucky ones who actually managed to meet someone special. To be honest, it's also getting extremely difficult to meet new people once you've graduated college (one of my professors once said that if you hadn't found who you were gonna marry by the time you graduated college your chances of finding someone dropped dramatically... jeez.) Thus, many of us resort to online dating. It only makes sense in this world of technology and social media. For many people, online dating is a success for them. It's perfect for what they want, right now in their life. But it is not for everyone. As for me? I'm done with online dating. And I will explain to you why.

First, I'd like to credit my inspiration for writing this post. Someone on Facebook shared this article from Elite Daily on the hook-up culture that seems to have infiltrated twenty-somethings everywhere.  Reading through it, while I agreed with most things (but not all), I was somewhat comforted in knowing that at least I'm not alone in the struggle. Dating is hard enough as it is, but in today's world? It's getting ridiculous. Real communication is dwindling out fast. Surely the rise of technology and social media are somewhat to blame, but can we really put the entire blame on that fact alone? At some point, our culture changed. At some point, people stopped trying. People stopped putting in real effort. People decided they were better off not committing, because something better could always be just around the corner. Our generation is a weird one. We're jaded. We want it all and we want nothing all at the same time.

The first time I gave online dating a try was with OkCupid, and let me tell you, there are some freaky ass people out there. I got the weirdest messages. When I would try to talk to someone, conversations always fell short. People's profile summaries and descriptions were over the top. They were trying too hard. I may be an asshole, but I rolled my eyes at pretty much every single one. Second time around I went in with a more positive, can-do attitude. Met someone. Was going great. Until it was clear I had been played. What got to me the most was that they couldn't even be up front about it. No honesty, no communication. I'm sorry, I thought we were all adults here? Guess not.

On my third try (third time's the charm, right?) I was literally at the point where it was just whatever, let's keep using this app because I'm bored kind of thing, but I ended up meeting someone amazing. I truly felt like I was dating a friend. We dated for a couple months, and I wish I could tell you I was another one of those rare successful online dating stories - but alas, I am not. Long story short, miscommunications occurred, or minds changed, or whatever, and it was decided they were looking for something more casual and I was left with my mouth agape, wondering what on Earth it takes to actually make a lasting and meaningful connection with someone. Maybe if that is what you're looking for, like I am, online dating is not for you. 90% of people who join these online dating sites are a product of "the hook-up culture" that is spreading its way through our 20-something society. I'm also not blaming this new dating culture on why I haven't had success, or why these certain relationships didn't work out for me. I'm not trying to say I'm perfect and it's everybody else's fault, because I know I am far from that. I've just come to realize that what I'm looking for specifically in who I date, I'm most likely never going to find through one of these sites. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of trust and commitment on your own part to give someone a chance (at least for me, someone whose had her fair share of let downs) so going through the process of online dating is extremely exhausting.

I'm not trying to discourage you, or make you second guess yourself, especially if you've recently met someone through online dating and things are going well. I actually have a friend who met someone on OkCupid and right after their first date, went off to travel together and now they are in a happy relationship and living together. So who knows, you may be one of the lucky ones. It's good to be aware of what you're getting yourself into. Don't expect a fairy tale ending and always, always put yourself first.

I think part of the issue with us twenty-somethings and dating is that people have forgotten how to properly communicate. Or they're too scared to. No one wants confrontations. No one wants fights or heart breaks or whatever comes with being honest with someone. So maybe that's why a lot of us resort to just letting things "play out" or just slowly ignoring someone until they get the hint. Maybe that's why a lot of us will text and not call someone. It's easier to hide emotions through texts. It's easier to be ambiguous through texts, or emails. It's easier to hide behind technology. Of course no one wants to be the bearer of bad news, but trust me, sometimes you're doing the person a favor by just being flat out honest with them from the start. And if you find yourself in a situation in which the other person is playing games or not communicating sufficiently enough, don't be afraid to speak up. Have the courage to stand up for yourself. You deserve to be treated with respect.

So there you have it. That is why I do not online date anymore. You may wonder, where can someone like me find people to date then? The answer: I'm still trying to figure that out.

1 comment

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