I’m still ambivalent about the online dating experience. It can definitely be a useful tool that opens you to a world of potential dates – maybe even something serious.
But it can also just as easily expose you to another side of dating you never thought possible, with hilarious and sad things that might only happen online.
I’m here to talk about those things today…here are 8 that stick out to me:
1) Getting Catfished
This is guaranteed to be a universal problem for guys dating online…”is she hot or not?”
The average women are better skilled at being photographed – which side is her good side, having a standard smile down, and even where to position their arms and body to achieve maximum photogenic-ness.
Most guys don’t know that shit.
Now take that photo-taking ability to the online dating sphere. You get this phenomenon where people look deceivingly good in their pictures. I mean, hot damn!
Then she shows up to the date and you barely recognize her.
After a few bad dates, you start to notice a pattern. It almost seems like you cracked Da Vinci’s Dating Code to Analyzing Pictures That Women Take Online. Here are the heuristics to examining someone’s dating profile:
- Do pictures fail to show the whole body?
- Are the photos only taken at weird angles or obscure lighting?
- Is there a lot of makeup involved?
- Is the photo quality low or blurry? May be an old picture or fake.
The catch-all question: is someone intentionally? obscuring their appearance?
This phenomenon is so prevalent, there’s an entire TV SHOW dedicated to this phenomenon.
It’s called Catfish. And yes, it does go both ways – plenty of dudes put up deceiving pictures too.
2) Girls with boyfriends
I almost did a double take when I first saw “taken” or “in a relationship” on a girl’s profile. If you’re seriously dating someone, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU ON A DATING SITE?
“Looking for friends” my ass.
The real reasons often turn out to be attention-seeking and digital validation. Or looking for a backup boy, rebound, or distraction. Whatever the reason, it’s unhealthy.
“Just looking” when you’re dating someone is unhealthy. Dipping into your inbox when you’re feeling down about your significant other is unhealthy.
Let’s all make this pledge: “when I start dating someone, I will deactivate my online dating account(s).”
Please, for your own sanity and that of the one you’re dating, do this.
3) Time Consuming, Addictive and Distracting
Online dating was a HUGE distraction to me. Another reader framed it best:
“In the morning, I wake up and open up [dating apps]. I’d lay there for 30 minutes just surfing profiles. During the day I’m constantly checking/replying to texts, online messages, and even snapchat from some of the girls I’m talking to. Before going to sleep, I lay in bed for 30 min – 1 hour, browsing more profiles and messaging girls…”
On the flipside, I also got some interesting, unsolicited advice:
“Dude, you gotta think of free time as an opportunity to message girls. When I’m standing in line for Chipotle, I’m messaging girls. When I have some free time at work, I find funny pictures on the internet, then save them for sending it to girls later. You gotta be on it all the time.”
Man, that sounds tiring. But I’m guilty too – I ended up checking the dating apps on my phone even more than email or Facebook. While I resent the apps for being so addictive, I also admire them for being so well designed. If you haven’t been online dating before, beware – it can hook you and be a huge time suck.
4) Asian Men and Black Women struggle online.
After reading an article that black women and Asian men are the most racially excluded groups online, I tried an experiment.
On OKC, I ticked “White” along with my actual race (to imply I was hapa).
I didn’t change anything else on my profile. The result?
The number or profile views I received, as well as my response-rate, more than doubled.
I can’t make this up, because I’m guilty too: I’ve uncheck boxes for certain races, religions, or any number of preferences.
5) It’s a small world
If you’re on more than one dating site, what makes you think others aren’t too? It’s weird seeing double online.
The offline world is also a small one. I’ve bumped into someone IRL who I forgot I spoke to online. We both did double takes. Probably the most awkward “Do I know you?” I ever uttered.
Lastly, there’s the strange thing of seeing people you know on dating sites – coworkers, high school acquaintances, and even exes.
(But shout out to girls from my home town though – you ladies are fine.)
This goes without saying but the interconnectedness of it all is a good reminder to always treat others with dignity and respect.
6) Girls who brag about dating
On more than one occasion, a date has bragged about the number dates she’s been on, or evenly casually dropped that she’s going on another date later.
You were so nice online, did you become a d-bag on the drive here?
Please humble yourself and eat the dinner that I regret buying you.
7) “TS” girls
Hot girl messages you first? Be a little suspicious. Here’s a transcript of a conversation I had with a T-girl. (And it doesn’t mean tattoo girl.)
Tgirl: “Hey you, wanna hv some fun?”
Me: “Can I ask you a question – are you trans?”
Me: “Do you have a penis?”
Some of the most beautiful women I’ve met are trans. Don’t hide your sexuality. Be proud of it. My heart goes out to trans people looking for love online.
8) “There’s always someone else” syndrome.
The main appeal of dating sites is to give men and women more options. This can be a good thing on the surface, but it can also encourage non-committal behavior.
By default, almost all dating sites let you browse a near-infinite amount of profiles.
Let’s say you meet someone and hit it off. You even go on a date and it seems to go well. But you know that neither of your schedules can accommodate a date until a week later.
In that one week, it’s almost guaranteed that both of you will browse other profiles. Maybe you start talking to another person who’s just as interesting and attractive.
Maybe the girl you dated last week becomes a lot less responsive. After all, she could just as easily find someone else online (or off), and so can you.
So to all the guys who’re wondering why that amazing girl just seemed to disappear off the face of the earth (she’s not texting you back), I feel ya.
It’s not all bad
I’ve made many great connections while online dating, some who have even turned into friends. The dating apps have definitely introduced me to people I wouldn’t meet in my day to day life.
But when things get too much, remember it’s in your hands to opt out.
Your dating life is more than Tinder, and you are more than dating.