We, as a culture, have to get better at relationships. We’ve got to take ownership of our own issues and dysfunctions.
Do you know what you are looking for when you open the online dating app or site? Do you have a good image (visual, emotional, financial, physical) of your intended? Are you even looking for a relationship? What are your goals? I think it’s important to know what your intention is before dating again. Let’s set up some parameters and see if we can reign in some of the wackiness that is online dating in the modern era.
Apps, Sites, and Real-world Encounters
Online dating might be the most efficient way to meet (or at least browse) hundreds of potential partners from the comfort of your browser. It’s almost effortless and mostly free. I understand why it’s so addictive. (And for me, a bit frustrating.) But are we all looking for relationships? Are some people online looking for hookups? Looking to play the field after years of pretending to be in a happy marriage/relationship?
Apps make it all to easy to switch partners. But you might get just what you’re looking for, so be careful. Let’s look at our goals in being on a dating app/site in the first place.
- Companionship (a “do things together” best friend)
- Sex (it’s a basic need of Maslow’s hierarchy)
- Oxytocin (yep, a partner unlocks the opiates in the brain)
- Emotional support (“My day sucked,” she said. So I hugged her.)
- Avoiding Loneliness (might need to check on this one with your therapist)
- Workout partner (“Let’s get in shape, and do it together.”)
- Entertainment is more fun when shared (“Let’s watch GoT tonight.”)
- Finding a WE rather than just a ME
That about captures the essence for me, of what I’m looking for in a relationship. With one major addition:
Happiness is best as a shared experience.
Yes, happiness is one of the benefits I seek when looking for a long-term companion. (I was going to put lifetime in there, but that’s a bit abstract for most of us, so let’s just go with long-term.)
If we agree that an LRT (long-term relationship) is our goal, then we can get rid of some of the dating errors easily.
Things that are not working in online dating.
- 90% solutions (for me, if it’s not a 100% connection, I am wasting both people’s time)
- Looks are not a good measure of emotional maturity or relationship-readiness
- Alcohol as the social lubricant might be part of the problem
- Some folks are playing the field or looking for entertainment only
- The 1% connection rate is hard to filter for in apps (I’m tired of swiping left)
- Are they real? (30-40% of online profiles are fake, built by the service to keep you enticed, to get you to sign up for the paid versions)
- Are they authentic? (people use very old photos to lure in potential partners, but if you’re starting with BS you’re going to get BS, so let’s start with authentic and current
- Are they interested in the same things? Shared interests are hard to find online. And many of us are willing to be interested in our partner’s interests if it means a connection is possible.
- Are they interested in us? All the things have to add up for them as well, when they look at your profile. Am I putting out the right vibe? Does my picture flatter me or show how tired I am of online dating?
We, as a culture, have to get better at relationships. We’ve got to take ownership of our own issues and dysfunctions. When they show up in a relationship, we’ve got to own that shit and deal with it. After two marriages and several serious relationships, I’m learning that psychological distress and passive aggressive interactions are non-starters for me. Or, if the relationship has begun, they are deal killers. If we’ve reached this age in life we should have most of our shit together. Don’t you think so?
I don’t need a project. I also don’t need a support system. I need a fully-empowered and ready woman. I need her to be fit. I need her to be psychologically evolved. And, most of all, I need her to be into the idea of building a long-term relationship, whatever that takes. And if she’s not ready, if I’m not ready, we’re just going to be honest and move on. None of us have time for games.
Is your dating profile authentic? Are there parts of your presentation that need work? Are you asking for the right things in your future partner? And if these things are good, how are we going to filter through the chaff and find each other, online?
- Kindness First: Holding On to Love and Letting Go of Expectations
- A New Language of Sex: Embarking on the Learning Together
- Finding the Kindness, Kissing Frogs, Moving Forward Towards LOVE
- Liberating Sexual Desire: The Conversation with Eva Blake
- Sexual Chemistry, Sexual Energy, The 5 Sexual Languages
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes An Issue – John McElhenney
- Single Dad Seeks, ibid.
- A General Theory of Love Thomas Lewis, M. D. et al.
- The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love – Thomas Moore
- Care of the Soul – ibid.
- The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman