Guys, understand that behind the screen is a sensitive, nervous woman who really doesn't want to be there.
I never thought I'd be dating online. Events in my life recently, along with recommendations from friends and family, have driven me to try it. I must admit, it's been quite traumatic for me. The problem is, I haven't been in a relationship for several years, and the last time I dated, things were very different. It took me a long while to pluck up the courage to sign up online, and several months later, I am considering looking at other options. Why might you ask? Well, where do I begin?
So I did everything my friends told me. I created what I thought were great profiles - honest and reasonably detailed. I even spent a while taking the right photos. But what shocked me initially was the volume of messages I was getting. Within a day of signing up with on one online dating site, my inbox had over a hundred messages and I just couldn't get through them all. I had to skim through the previews and only select ones that stuck out. I couldn't help but wonder if I'd ignored someone that could have been my soulmate. As the days passed, my inbox just got bigger and bigger, and I felt under pressure to respond to people. I started to shut myself off from the outside world so that I could focus on my inbox, sometimes spending three or four hours an evening just to respond to a small percentage of my messages. Then I discovered that being more impulsive was the way forward, reacting only to men who I found physically attractive. Within days, I became that person that I'd always feared and what ultimately scared me off dating sites for so many years. I was a 'swiper'. Swipe left if I didn't like their picture and right if I did. I felt so low. So shallow.
Out of the profiles that were left and that I responded to, the next intimidating thing was dealing with clearly fake profiles. After messaging some people, I got responses back that didn't seem genuine. The more obviously fake ones would tell me they were in another country wanting to meet a woman in my area, or they'd ask personal questions about my identity. I had to endure a lot of pathetic messages screaming desperation and arrogance too, not to mention all the lying.
I'd say out of around five thousand messages, I managed to respond to a couple of hundred. Out of those, about half were fake profiles. Those that were left made it to my 'potentials' list and the final challenge was to interact with them a bit more and see whether or not they'd want to meet me for a drink. A good percentage of 'potentials' showed their true colors after a few messages back and forth. They'd ask me for pictures of myself naked, or they'd want to talk dirty. I didn't realise that online dating had become like this. Friends did warn me, but I genuinely thought they were joking. Eventually, I filtered my matches down to around five people. Yes, five people, out of over five thousand.
One of the five chose to ignore me for no apparent reason. One of the five was actually a charming guy who told me days later that he'd started seeing someone and didn't want to lead me on, so we called it a day. I had to then choose between the three that were left, and that wasn't an easy decision. Eventually, I made my mind up based on location and similar interests and arranged to meet my lucky potential match.
Arranging to meet them was stressful enough, but on the day, my stomach felt like it was about to pop out of my body. I was very nervous, bearing in mind I hadn't dated anyone for over ten years or so. I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know what to do, how to act or even what to say. I was a bag of nerves. I got a cab to take me to the bar we were meeting in and I arrived a little early which didn't help. I sat at a table near the corner, and I waited. And waited. He never showed up.
I'm distraught by online dating although I'm determined not to let that experience ruin it for me. One of the reasons I chose to write this is to change some men's way of thinking hopefully. I know my experience isn't the same as someone else's, but I'd like to offer some advice to all the guys out there. Guys, I'm sure some woman are as comfortable dating as they are brushing their hair, but please bear in mind that some women, like me, might not have dated for a while. Don't lead them on, lie to them or pretend to be someone you're not. Don't ask them for naked pictures or speak to them in a derogatory way. Show them some respect and understand that behind that screen is probably a sincere, caring, but nervous woman who really doesn't want to be there. Show them that you're honest and reliable. Be a man. Be a gentleman.
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Written by Corinne Taylor
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