Just as we’ve turned to greener alternatives for better living, turning on real life and turning off online dating sites may be a healthier way to go.
I remember the first time I tried a matchmaking website. It was about a year after my divorce and I was reluctant to step back into the traditional dating scene. A friend told me about online dating and urged me to try it. Back then, there were no photos. You had to depend on your ability to present an engaging self-description and write follow-up e-mails, and hope that when you finally met, things would move forward and not curdle into instant rejection because of a balding head or a big behind.
A lot has changed since then with fancy Web interfaces, videos, mobile applications and more in what’s become a billion dollar industry. Much of it is controlled by Match.com, which buys up as much dating website real estate as possible and then cleverly markets it as the key to romantic success.
We all know people who have found love through online dating, but how common is that compared to the horror stories? How many hours have we spent flipping through the profiles of others, crafting our own (or paying someone to create the perfect profile on our behalf), sifting through thousands of possibilities and rejecting or being rejected as we go along basing our decisions solely on a photo? If we finally do get to the infamous Starbucks coffee date we’re often disappointed when, at first glance, it’s clear that this one is not the one.
Frankly, the process is dehumanizing and isolating. It’s reduced the possibility of an organic romantic connection to almost nil.
At least when you meet people through mutual friends or by engaging in a social activity without being in hunt mode, the chances of a true connection grow exponentially. Why? Because the pressure of “finding the one” is no longer part of the equation. You’re not setting yourself up for failure with the expectation that maybe, tonight, you’ll finally find Prince or Princess Charming and live happily ever after.
Drop the obsession of finding your perfect match and you’ll have an experience where you won’t feel you’ve wasted your time or money. When you’re doing something you enjoy, or socializing with friends and open to meeting new people, at the very least you’re no longer buried behind your computer: you’re engaged in real life with real people.
I understand how the anonymity of online dating can be alluring. Dating sites allow us to keep our romantic pursuits secret. It’s unlikely our friends, co-workers or family will see us there looking for love. So many single people find it embarrassing to be, well, single. However, that same secrecy creates fertile ground for not-single people to pretend that they are — along with the romance scammers and all kinds of hanky-panky that doesn’t deliver the bliss that matchmaking websites promise in their advertising.
Fraud and dishonesty — rampant on online dating sites — is hard to get away with when you’re in a social group where people actually know each other, where your friends are friends of friends. It’s one of the reasons we created the SingularCity social network. The whole point of our online community is to create a place for people to meet, network, make friends and even find romance in a virtual city that exists both online and at our real-time activities and events. It’s difficult to carry on a fake persona in this kind of environment.
So when people tell you that you need to “put yourself out there” by buying a membership to Match.com, eHarmony or others, consider that there might be a better way to meet people and enjoy life, one that starts with accepting your singular status.
When you stop trying so hard to fall in love, you’ll likely find someone you really would like to date.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2013 Singular Communications, LLC.