The death of (my) online dating

8 Nov

accountdeletedSod it. I’ve had enough. This week I decided to delete all my online dating profiles. Not because I’ve found love in the real world, but because the whole damn virtual meet market has utterly lost its sheen. I have been an active user of various sites, and during research opened profiles on several others to see exactly how they all operate. And in nearly three years of my most recent online dating presence, I’ve had a smattering of interesting conversations, and a handful of meet-ups, none of which developed romantically beyond a cup of coffee.

None of this means I’ve given up on the idea of dating and finding some sort of emotional/physical stability with another, but for now the online dating world is not the place I can see that happening.

Over the last couple of years I’ve watched the platforms change. The rise of spam and bot accounts, the increasing dearth of people willing to chat let alone even suggest meeting up. And frankly, it seems very few have any intention of actually meeting up – so scared are they of being catfished, or stalked. I mean, for goodness sake, what’s the point in being on a dating site if you aren’t actually contemplating dating for real?! There’s endless profiles without pictures and declarations of ‘only being interested in genuine men’ whatever that is; an abundance of Marilyn Monroe quotes and a disturbing homogeneity.

Those more sex-driven sites have never had an appeal to me. I struggle in the real world to make lust-oriented connections, and while the idea of being able to click and hit someone up for a ride may sound appealing, I just can’t bring myself to be that kind of guy. My ego has also been seriously dented by the utter lack of attempts to hit me up. Tinder is the epitome of this – an endless game of swiping profiles and snap judgements. Sooner or later you realise that physically you just don’t seem to do it for that many people, and with those that you do, actually starting a conversation is even more difficult than in real life. I keep hearing about people who supposedly are meeting and intercoursing via Tinder all the time, but that’s absolutely not my experience.

No conversation. No meets. And definitely no sex. So, really, what’s the point? I’m putting myself out there in a way that probably leaves me very vulnerable, and its just not worth doing.

I’ve been on my tod for about three years now. Its five years since I embarked on my last ill-fated relationship, and that was initiated in an online world. Those experiences certainly left a sour note and a huge amount of distrust, but I’ve always been of the opinion that its better to put myself out there and face possibilities than shy away completely. When I made myself a single man again I’d just spent two years living in the middle of the countryside, I’d given up my regular job, and my social prospects were pretty poor. Online was a viable option to meet people I wouldn’t normally encounter. And you know, it worked. I did actually expand my network of friends as a direct result of dipping my toes in the pool of online dating. Consequently my social network does seem to have built up significantly, slightly negating the primary excuse for trying it in the first place.

I figure right now I’d rather take my chance on fate, on circumstance, and chance. It may be that in the course of whatever I’m doing now, I may meet Miss Right, and she may take a shine to me. Or, I might spend the next ten years in extended celibate isolation. It doesn’t really matter. I’m once more happy in myself, and eventually someone will see and accept me for who I am.

Or you know, come Christmas I might just get bored and boot the profiles up again.

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