A few months back, I attended a “London Talks at Night” event organised by Funzing called “The Unethical World of Online Dating”, where the speaker was a Mindfulness Coach Anna Zannides. I found the whole talk incredible and enlightening. However I never cottoned on as to the “unethical” behavior that was implied in the name of the talk.
Well, for any of you who have not tried online dating before and am considering it, perhaps my experiences and philosophies will help you know what to expect.
I joined a number of free sites, however, OKCupid and Tinder are the ones I’ve mostly used. I joined Match for a 1 month trial, in which nothing fruitful happened so I cancelled my account.
I joined Plenty of Fish and OKcupid around the same time in 2013. I must confess. I have kept Plenty of Fish active but I never go on it. I never receive messages from any men from the site, just dozens of “Joe Bloggs would like to meet you” notifications flooding into my email inbox daily..which reminds me I must get around to deleting myself off that site.
OKcupid has been my most fruitful site that I’ve used. When I first registered, I got many rude and suggestive messages. After a few months these disappeared (I am not sure why, perhaps it’s because I have crossed the age 35 milestone), so all messages have been clean. I’ve met 4 or 5 men from the site, which I admit is a low statistic. The reason it’s so low is I am reluctant to meet men from the site in the first place owing to my suspicious nature and shyness. I had to be sure the man I was meeting would be nice and non-judgmental before we met.
Anyway, I digress. This post is really about the nature of online dating. You have to have a thick skin to register to an online dating site. This is because most men or women you message will a)not reply or b) exchange a few messages and then vanish. I’ve heard men complain women do this to them, but I’m pretty sure it happens both ways. This is incredibly frustrating. Especially if you have begun to like the man and hoping to meet in person. I consider asking “why” but no one else I talk to thinks this is a good idea.
At the talk I attended, I learned to my dismay that some daters (both men and women) had received insulting messages. I think this is a rare occurrence, and thank goodness all sites have a “Report this user” option and a “block” option.
You have to have patience, be persistent, hopeful and discerning. I have had dozens and dozens of conversations online that have gone nowhere. It’s easy to give up and delete your account. If you get that compulsion by all means delete, delete! Try to meet a partner in the real world. More and more people are meeting online but it’s still one of many ways to meet someone. Don’t discount everywhere! On the train, on a holiday, at work, at the gym….etc. To be honest all these conversations I’ve had with online “matches”, I never got the feeling they were what I was looking for. However, I acknowledge my mistake in not meeting them in person just in case.
Also, my biggest challenge with online dating is ignoring messages. I dislike ignoring but if i replied to all the men I’d never leave my computer. And also if you do reply it’s communicating you are interested to them, whilst you aren’t. I don’t know yet what’s the best way to respond. Conveniently Match.com has a default message you can send which goes something like “Thank you for taking interest in my profile. Unfortunately I don’t think we make a great match..”
Another peeve I have is age range preferences. Being 37, I acknowledge I’m in an unappealing age bracket to some men. Men reveal their biological wiring when they set age preferences to younger than themselves, and younger than 35. Further more, I’ve noticed my profile has decreased popularity and attribute it to my age. I look super youthful but age matters when it comes to fertility. I may be perceived as keen to settle down and have babies…and erm, that would be true. And what’s wrong with that? I do struggle mentally and emotionally with my shortening window of a chance to have children. Thankfully I know I’m not alone, there are other single, childless women out there my age still hoping to become mothers.
So anyway, four years on and no meaningful romantic relationship has resulted from online dating. Or the real world for that matter. Should I give up and delete all my profiles??? I may need a cull from all this online dating. But no. It’s a way to meet people, I made two good friends from the journey, so I’m going to keep on checking my OKCupid inbox because I still believe someone worth meeting may be on there.