Yes, I know the statistics. All the happily married couples from online dating sites. Well, I don’t buy it. All online dating sites, regardless of the flavor or method, are more like Facebook than real life.
Here are a few examples of where online profiles don’t tell the truth.
- Pictures lie. Even recent pictures, when taken with the right light, can make a NOT look like a HOT.
- Words are made up ideas. Yadda yadda, we all like beaches and wine. Music maybe.
- Chemistry is impossible online. You can’t imagine how that person will feel when you are together.
- The mind is wonderful, but even eloquent emails and text messages can add up to zero when you meet.
- Some people are on dating sites for the entertainment of the idea and not to date.
Yes, it is true, online dating sites up your odds of meeting people you might not otherwise ever come in contact with. But why is that? Because you come in contact with people when you are out and about and doing the things that are important and fun to you. There’s a reason that an extroverted creative type like me isn’t going to naturally run across an introverted mathematician. It’s because we have so little in common, virtually zero overlap. And while the idea of “getting to know someone” is intriguing, you’ve got to start with some common ground to establish a relationship.
So I’m bored on a weeknight and we have some unscheduled time. I can choose between a lot of different activities. I could go out and get some exercise, that would be good. But barring the self-improvement regimen for a minute, I could
a. spend time on Facebook chatting about nothing,
b. spend time on Match.com browsing faces for a hit, or
c. do something creative.
What I’ve come around to lately is that c. is the only good answer. Let me explain.
Facebook seems like community. We call it social media, but it’s becoming more just media. They’re showing you approximately 8% of your friend’s status updates and messages. The rest… is Facebook. Pabulum. Media. Consumerism. Today Facebook is a lot more like TV than it used to be. After taking a 99-day break from my FB habit, I’m happier and more productive. I’ve dipped back in a little, but no more hours socializing.
Online dating may also seem like a beneficial and worthy activity. But because of the illusion of social media, we might think we have a pretty good idea of who these “potentials” say they are, and what they look like today, but we don’t. It’s simply not true. Profiles on Facebook or OK Cupid are very similar. You put your best pictures up, your best accomplishments, and your little quirks. Except on dating sites, you don’t get to see the quirks. (Well, OK Cupid’s questions sections are full of quirks, and kinks, but that’s a different conversation altogether.)
The creative process is where I grow as a person and as an artist (writer, musician, poet, whatever). And as I am growing myself up, and growing into my creative energy I am also putting out more energy and more joy. You see, I think this dating thing is all about joy. It’s a little bit about looks. And it’s a little bit about thoughts. But the chemistry thing, I think, is all about mutual joy. Do you feel it when you are with someone or not? If you feel joy at the sight of someone, there’s a hit. If you feel nothing or something less than nothing (negative) that’s also an indicator of where things might go.
I spent a good part of a week getting to know a new woman recently, and I could see the potential. I could admire her good looks, dark eyes, and flashing wit. And yet there was something that was not coming across. I couldn’t decipher it right away. I was hopeful and encouraged by our initial and mutual glow. And her persistence in getting back together again the next day. “Spontaneously.” I loved that. “Yes, yes, yes,” it said to my brain.
In my joyous engagement, I was missing something from her that I couldn’t identify. I thought I was listening well, responding well, and behaving well. I thought we were moving things along nicely. But I could only make those assumptions about myself and my own thinking. While she was sharing a lot about life and asking a lot of questions about me, she wasn’t really lighting up. She was reserved. She admitted to being an introvert. I initially thought, “Oh, that’ll be interesting, to see how I am in relationship to an introvert.”
And even in the real world, with all of our faculties between us, the miss between us was something deeper. And after three “dates” and the promise of an actual “date” for the weekend ahead, I was feeling good and yet still mixed. I walked away from our meeting wondering, “Am I’m pushing this one along? Am I making this one happen? Am I trying to construct my lover?”
I think I was. She pinged me the next morning saying she’d considered our time together and felt it wasn’t going to be a match for her. She was canceling the date. And would catch up with me spontaneously as the occasion might arise in the future.
I was feeling the miss on a deeper level, but I was trying to make it all right. I wanted “her” to work. And that’s when I understood it was time to kill my online dating profiles. I WANT a relationship too much. My focus has gotten lost in all this browsing, assessing, and pursuit. What I really need to pursue is my dream and my creative output.
I have time for a relationship. I have the will and the energy. I need to put myself and my life in the places where “she” already is. In real life, not online.
Sure, I will have another great love. First, I must become the lover I hope to meet, by becoming large enough to call her in, without the help of a dating site.
Get the complete single dad story with John’s new book: Single Dad Seeks (available in all formats)
back to Dating After Divorce
- Smile and Have Fun: The Best Dating Advice Ever (Joy + Joy)
- The 6-Step Relationship Strategy
- Unlocking Touch – The Love Language I Speak
- How Long Will it Hurt? Divorce Recovery, the Road Back to Happiness
- Ready or Not-Ready for a Relationship: The Dating Game
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image: dining alone, john mcelhenney, cc 2014