Giving Up and Going Back: When Online Dating is a Bust

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I am sad to share that my online dating experiment is on hold… for now. Not that cyber romance would have (necessarily) been the answer to my friend finding love, but I think it would have helped.

Here’s the situation:

Although the idea of getting a fresh start online was appealing, she ultimately decided on a fall back plan: returning to an ex with a fear of commitment. In her mind, trying to wrangle him into a committed relationship seemed more promising than finding someone new online. She didn’t have online dating burnout (she’d only been on match for a month), but she did have what I call:

Digital Disillusionment

It goes like this: you hear about how your friend found Mr. Perfect on an online dating site. He loved her profile, sent her an adorable, yet masculine email which led to a week long email flirt-a-thon. They met at a coffee shop where they talked about their mutual love of fondue and all things vintage, then he walked her to frozen yogurt where he let her try every flavor, without rolling his eyes. After two weeks they were official and in new relationship bliss. As she’s telling you her love story over brunch you think, hey, that could happen to me.

You rush home and sign up for Match.com. That night you can’t sleep in anticipation of the next day’s matches. At the blare of your morning alarm you reach for your phone, eagerly logging on to find your fondue soul-mate. Then your hopes are drained out of you like dirty bath water. The profiles staring back at you send no tingles down your spine. No butterflies fly in fits of infatuation. No smile spreads across your sleepy, yet hopeful face.

NOT ONE PROFILE PEAKS YOUR INTEREST. Not even remotely.

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Thus goes the weeks to follow. You check your phone relentlessly like a crack addict after her next fix, but you’re always disappointed. You respond to a few emails out of boredom and depression, but they never go anywhere because you really don’t care anymore. Each time you check your inbox it’s with less enthusiasm, until the day your subscription runs out and you secretly breathe a sigh of relief.

Online dating hadn’t led you to YogurtLand, it had dragged you, lifeless, even deeper into the pit of Singleness. My friend had gone so deep into the pit, she decided to set up a condo there with a man who already owned a pent house in Playerville.

The answer to Digital Disillusionment isn’t to give up– it’s to change things up. Change the site(s) you’re on, revamp your profile, broaden your search criteria and re-evaluate your answers to the site’s questions.

Of course, this isn’t to say that online dating automatically works for everyone. What I am saying is, if you’re going to try it, give yourself the best possible chance for success. And if my friend ever decides to give it another go, that’s exactly what I’ll help her do.

I’ll keep you posted.

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