Monday, 22 May 2017

For the last few months at the suggestion of friends, I have been actively trying online dating. In this time I have met a number of interesting people, learnt some valuable lessons and recently come to the conclusion that I am just not cut out for the modern age of online dating. 

The first site I tried was Tinder but I quickly came to the realisation that we weren't meant to be. Too much of it seemed to be based solely around appearance and to be honest, it all felt incredibly shallow. This, coupled with the fact that most of the men I met just seemed to be looking for a quick hook up, lead us to part ways. 

Feeling discouraged, but not entirely without hope, I then moved onto Plenty of Fish. I preferred this to Tinder as you were able to fill out a profile of yourself, as well as read what others had written on theirs. There seemed less room for crossed wires as you could specify exactly what you were  and weren't  looking for. Upon completing my profile I was inundated with messages, with it becoming patently clear that most hadn't bothered to even read what I had written about myself. The other high proportion of messages I received were overtly sexual and a tiny minority messaged with something insightful to say in response to what I had written. 

During my time online I went on nearly a dozen dates, most petering out with mutual agreement after the first date. Some men I would see for a while before being ‘ghosted’ or it would quickly become clear that they were only after one thing, despite what their profiles had stated. 

The thing I struggled with the most were all of the unwritten rules surrounding online dating. I was continuously told that I should expect the man that I am dating to also be seeing multiple women at the same time, as well as sleeping with them. To expect anything else and I was far too highly strung, as well as archaic in my approach. 

But when did it become normal to be seeing multiple people at the same time for months on end? When did it become unreasonable to expect someone to only see you after a certain period of time? At which point should you expect them to stop shopping around? We're not talking about marriage proposals or moving in together here, just simply concentrating on one person at a time and seeing where it goes. 

I hated the sweet shop mentality and the fact that you are only as interesting as it takes them to click on another profile. I would be seeing a man for a couple of months and think things were going great, only to see them back on the dating site scouting out other women. I'd find myself getting silently annoyed if the man I had been seeing intimately for what I considered to be a substantial amount of time, was still perusing dating sites and hooking up with other women. But if I mentioned this to anyone I would be shot down with words such as 'desperate' and 'clingy'. It used to be a given that you only saw one person at a time out of respect; now the expectations have reversed and if you dare to begin taking something seriously after a good few dates or months, you are positively insane. 

Above all what I disliked the most was the fact that I was beginning to be influenced into changing my standards and morals. I’d go on a couple of dates with a seemingly lovely, genuine guy but I would find myself slipping back into browsing through profiles thinking I could find someone that bit more attractive or intelligent. If everyone else is doing it, then why shouldn't I?

It dawned on me this past weekend that I shouldn't be changing my standards, nor lowering them to fit someone else. Actions speak far louder than words and this couldn't be more true in regards to online dating. Maybe I will find myself back online at some point, but for now I am keeping my dating life firmly offline.


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