There are a lot of lonely people out there.
People from all walks of life.
What is it with the online dating thing? Doesn’t anyone meet in the produce isle at the grocery store anymore?
Can’t I be at a party with my friends and see someone from across the room? Then our eyes meet, we smile, he walks over to me and we start to talk, in person, in real time?
Please don’t get me wrong. I have been on all of the above sites and have had some enjoyable experiences dating men I have met via social media. You could even say that I have been online dating as a hobby for the last couple of years. However, I am still alone and I now feel I have failed at this thing too.
This hobby has been disappointing. But it has also opened my eyes to what work I need to do before I can venture into another serious relationship.
First, let me introduce you to my dates from hell:
- The date where the guy told my son that dairy makes him fart. (At this point my son gets my attention and does the knife to the neck thing to let me know of his disapproval). I nod in agreement and we made a polite but mad dash to the park exit.
- I met a man out at a restaurant only to find out he was a tad shorter than his profile said he was. And by tad, I mean, so short I had to help him up onto the bar stool. To be clear, this is not about his height. I have dated and deeply loved men who have been shorter than me; at 5’8″ it’s bound to happen. But it’s not ok for someone to say he’s 5’7” and to show up being 4’8”. I will date shorter men because it’s what’s on the inside that counts but I will not date a liar.
- The date involving a man-child who only talked about the Minecraft video game and hadn’t read a book since high school. I’m not judging, really I’m not. I’m frustrated.
- The date where the guy smoked so much pot that he couldn’t form a sentence. We both were just sitting in silence waiting until he could come down from his high long enough to leave.
- And of course, let’s not forget the perfect man I dated for a while. I later found out he was married.
Despite this, online dating did have its advantages:
After some bad relationships and three years of singlehood, I came to the realization that no one is going to ask me out if I’m on my couch in my pjs on a Friday night by 6 o’clock. So, online dating it was.
My nephew helped me create an account and not even an hour later I had messages and likes. I felt wanted, sexy and special again! Someone really thinks I’m cute? Yay me!
I was also able to determine what I want and don’t want in a partner which was vital for my emotional growth. It made me see that I had been dating all wrong for all of these years. I dated men that liked me regardless of whether I liked them or if we had anything in common.
Online dating opened my eyes up to what my needs and desires were and allowed me to put me first and to explore myself and what I need in a partner. For this, I am thankful for OKCupid/Stupid.
Online dating helped me figure out my expectations, my perspective on dating and love and what my wants and desires really were. For this, I thank you Match.com.
I had no idea how this online dating thing really worked but it was fun. It gave me hope. All of those commercials and ads promised me I could and would find my soul mate. And I really wanted to believe that online dating was an option—that there is hope for a single mother of two, working two jobs, to find a mate.
But there were also times when online dating wasn’t fun. I remember devouring the computer generated matches and finding lots of men that fit my interests. Then, no response. Ouch! That was a bit hurtful.
I also remember when the icky messages about sex started to come in. This included inappropriate and insulting pictures of men’s genitals. Why are these guys muddying up the online dating waters with this self-indulgent bullsh*t?
With all the above in mind, here are my top five takeaways regarding online dating:
- It’s important to know enough about social media so that we can protect ourselves from the creeps and meanies out there.
- We can use online dating sites as tools to practice healthy relationship skills, self-respect and self-awareness.
- It’s helpful to have a friend (or wise son) meet the guy to give unbiased feedback. Let’s face it, when a guy is sitting there telling us that we are beautiful and amazing and funny, we will have a tendency to ignore or not notice the glaring red flag(s).
- It’s necessary to have healthy expectations of what we want and what we are willing to accept. This includes being mindful of others problematic intentions. It’s important to be clear to the other person about what it is that we want and are willing to accept. We should end our interaction immediately if the person does not honor our boundaries.
- And last but not least, it’s great to have fun and make some friends. It is lonely out there and we can always use another person in our corner rooting for us!
In closing, I want to mention that I actually have many family and friends who have found their soul mates through online dating. So there are definitely awesome and kind and loving people on these sites.
But for now, I’m going to take up knitting.
Author: Corinne Milentijevic
Apprentice Editor: Bere Blissenbach/ Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Thomas8407/ Flickr