Me: “There has to be another way. I am sick and tired of going on date after date and at best meeting a nice guy who I don’t fancy in the slightest, have no desire to take his clothes off or have him return the favour, we mutually agree to go our separate ways and wish each other luck with the eternal ping pong game of online dating. It’s soul destroying”.
Friend: “It’s not that bad”
Me: “Yes, it really is. You can be honest with me, I’m the common denominator here. What am I doing wrong?”
As you may have gauged from the above I have a flare for the dramatic. Online dating= soul destroying… When I think back to the way I described it I do sound a tad over the top don’t you think? However, the reality is that’s how I felt. I felt vulnerable, insecure, lonely and anxious, and that’s with an established, loving and supportive friendship group around me in London. If I started online dating as soon as I ‘got off the boat’ as it were arriving in London with no real friendship group, goodness’s knows what depths of frustration and heartache I could have found. I used to, and still do for that matter, flippantly say to my friends in a half joking manner, “If I knew how hard it would be be to find someone who I want to date and crucially who wants to date me too, I wouldn’t have said no to so many guys when I was in college”!
Does the above make me sound neurotic, desperate, sad and potentially egotistical? (It wasn’t like I had a line up of eligible men to ‘choose’ from in my college days). You may read this and think no wonder they ‘mutually’ agreed not to go on a second date. You may even be thinking, sure it was a mutual agreement, as some guy tries to extract himself from an average – semi interesting date! I have thought all of that about myself throughout my online dating experience. Somehow I got to a point where I felt like an outright rejection in person after maybe asking someone out in a bar was kinder. At the very least you can read that situation and it’s over and done with in a handful of minutes. Online dating – boy that shit can draaaaaaag out. A message here or there between a long days work, just enough to keep you tagging along, you make an excuse as to why tonight just isn’t possible anymore as you need to stay late at work, or they forgot they had plans. AKA I’m shattered, this process doesn’t make me feel good and frankly staying in and curling up on the couch watching Blue Planet feels like a safer bet. Who knows what this text conversation could turn into if we we meet in person, but I’ve played this game long enough to know the chances are it’s going nowhere and not going out with you this evening is a way to prolong the inevitable.
A couple of disclaimers at this stage;
1. Most likely obvious, I’m Female, I’m straight and yes sure I definitely err on the side of neurotic. I don’t do things by half you see. I’m an all or nothing kind of person.
2. I have met someone online, it’s a man, he’s straight and finds my neurosis entertaining. We met over a year ago and recently moved in together.
But the point of this short piece I am Sharing with Dating Mr Wrong (which I think is such a fabulous idea by the way), is categorically not about saying to anyone out there who is dating online or otherwise, to stick with it, true love prevails all. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack but you will get there. People said that kind of shit to me while I was dating and it was a sure fire way to make you feel like strangling them!
This piece is about a few things;
1. It’s an opportunity to personally share my experience as I often fantasied about doing so when I was online dating. But it’s easier to do so when you’re not in an emotionally vulnerable state.
2. To state that online dating sucks at times, it generally sucks 95% of the time in my personal experience. I doubt very much that I’m the only person to have felt this was and it would of helped me to have known that other people felt the same way about it. So this is a chance for anyone who is struggling with dating at the moment to know, you’re right, it’s okay, you’re not insane. It really can be quite shit.
3. It being shit is not solely on you, but part of it is. Why are you on Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, Happn, whatever godforsaken app you’ve got? Is it too much right now? Have you got some other stuff going on in your life? What’s your perspective of yourself in relation to dating right now? If your response to these questions is generally negative that’s what needs to be tackled first, as another average at best date isn’t going to change that. Give yourself a break. List your good, amazing, and hilarious qualities and focus on those. (Not necessarily at the exclusion of your maybe not-so-good qualities, see my neurotic comments above. I’m working on that ; ) ). Maybe take yourself out for a date, god knows it’d probably feel good to have a date with someone you hopefully like and find interesting. Maybe take a break from online dating, maybe focus on some of the other stuff you’ve got going on in your life right now. If you can go on holiday or perhaps ask someone out in real life – you know in person!
If you find online dating tough or something that induces anxiety for you, try to remember that’s totally normal and other people 100% feel that way too. I did.
If you’re reading this I hope it helps or at least makes you smile.