Are You Ok, Cupid?

When people hear the name “Cupid”, they usually picture a winged, infant archer who brings love, lust, and romance. I have come to think of him as a smirking little brat who enjoys setting up the select few while making the rest of us fumble through forced icebreakers, awkward dates, and the eventual repetition of it all.

Since beginning my online dating journey in 2014, I have: been on five dating sites, three dating apps, gone on five actual dates, been catfished twice, and entered zero relationships, meaningful or otherwise. I have spent hundreds of dollars over the last five years in membership fees with close to nothing to show for it. I have tried to put almost every permutation of my personality into my profiles: my humor, my intention for a serious relationship, my likes and dislikes; all to no avail.

So what’s the appeal? Is it just a game where you swipe through and shop for a person? When is it reduced to sending a message in the hopes of a response notification that shoots dopamine to your brain without understanding that there is another person on the other side of those messages? Perhaps it is the last hope of those of us fighting the gravity of the realization that we may be single forever. Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but what happens when no one thinks you’re a catch worth keeping?

After almost half a decade of living in the weird world of online dating and dating apps, I’ve had my fair share of experiences. I have become good friends with one of the women I met, and continue to stay in contact with her to this day. I have been ghosted many times (when someone suddenly stops replying and disappears, like a ghost; this usually occurs after the first date or randomly when a better fish comes along), which hurt at first, but then I eventually ghosted people myself and realized its appeal. It’s definitely the more convenient option as opposed to saying, “Sorry, turns out I wasn’t as attracted to you as I thought,” or, “We lack the class subject I got a B- in during high school: chemistry.” That second one probably wouldn’t fly since it takes the fact I don’t like someone back and making light of it. Don’t worry, though, karma has seen fit to keep its eye on me and make sure I get what’s owed; I blame it for both times I was catfished.

10170869_10152938872698169_8939296644381712674_n
He’s the cat, I’m the fish. That’s how it works, right?

For those unaware, catfishing is when someone goes online and pretends to be someone they’re not, for any of a multitude of reasons. The first time this happened to me was while living in Kansas when I interacted with a woman first on the dating site, and then on the phone; I started to become suspicious when the pictures she was sending me contradicted what she had told me (one of the pictures featured a wedding ring) and, after doing a reverse-image search on Google that turned up one of the images, I confronted her about it. She became violently offended that I could even suggest such a thing and severed all communication whatsoever; I entered her phone number in Facebook’s search engine and found someone in the same area, but very different in appearance. I suppose one could argue that the number was once attributed to the person on Facebook and given to someone else, but the circumstances in which our communication broke down leads me to believe otherwise.

The second time was a few years later when I met a woman online before moving back to Minnesota. We chatted online for a while, even exchanged numbers, but she was reluctant to actually speak on the phone. I noticed some inconsistencies between her dating profile and the Facebook profile she added me on, and when we finally spoke on the phone, I heard the voice of a middle-aged woman; not the 24-year-old I believed I was speaking to (as an aside, I was hit on by a woman in her 50’s once, but she didn’t lie about her age and was very understanding when I said I wasn’t interested). So, through necessity, I typically do an online search when speaking with a new match to make sure everything is on the up and up before even thinking about becoming invested in them.

One might think that due to having such an abysmal time online dating, I would give up on it; however, it appeals to the ambivert in me. I am not very comfortable just going out and introducing myself to someone I find attractive in the real world because I am afraid of how they may react. I like the idea of going to a place, digital or otherwise, that is dedicated to people meeting each other with somewhat romantic intentions; you know everyone is there for the same reason (more or less), rather than just going up to strangers in real life, saying, “Hi, I think you’re really attractive. Would you like to get coffee with me sometime?” Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Well just typing that made me anxious; also, it’s a bit clunky and too direct for my taste. I know I wouldn’t be comfortable with someone doing the same to me, so going to an online site or app that is intended to help like-minded singles find a partner sounds much more appealing. However, this doesn’t mean the process is a cakewalk for anyone involved.

11698706_929777013750164_5157573381234541161_n
I have years of experience as the third-wheel; I wonder if I can add that to my resume.

Online dating is difficult, regardless of your gender, but men and women face very different obstacles in their searches for love (I’m keeping it to these two genders because I only know my experience as a man and the experiences of female friends who have also dated online and shared their horror stories with me).  For men, online dating is a numbers game; the more messages you send out, the more responses you’re likely to get. There is a big push to put actual content in these messages (asking for more than just “Hi” or “Hello” is a common note on women’s profiles); assuming the woman in question reads your message, this can increase your chances even more. I say this because, on the flip side of the coin, women are absolutely swarmed with interested…let’s call them suitors. As a man, I would get around three or four responses from different matches a week (at most) after sending out dozens of messages; one of my friends told me she received upwards of 40 messages in a single day, all ranging from genuine interest to lewd comments about her appearance and inquiries regarding what she enjoys in bed. It is easy to become discouraged on both sides for the opposite reasons; for men, the waiting can become a burden, meanwhile women soon tire of sifting through the muck and stop looking as earnestly as they did in the beginning.

That initial dopamine rush has lessened thanks to the law of diminishing returns, and what was once an exciting opportunity to connect has become a chore; spending time getting to know someone before being inevitably ghosted, or actually meeting and lacking any connection, only to restart the arduous process is draining. So why don’t I quit? Why not just stop worrying about relationships and searching in vain? I’m not enough of a cynic to believe that there is no one out there for me and, because online dating still remains my most convenient option (I can admit it), I find myself thrust back to the digital dating fore.

I now work 40 hours a week in an office where everyone is either significantly older than me or married, so there isn’t much chance of a love connection. My mother and sister, with the best of intentions, have tried setting me up with friends of friends (in my sister’s case) or friends of coworkers (my mom) to no success, mostly on my account. I don’t care to go to bars and bother people, let alone hook up with anyone since I am truly looking for a real connection and partnership. I am a 26 year-old, single, cliche paying off loans, living in his parent’s basement and finally breaking into his career; if dating online is the largest of my problems, I suppose things could be worse.

17191171_10155168288923169_1130122491507487153_n
At least I can keep myself company.

41 thoughts on “Are You Ok, Cupid?

  1. Kalliope

    I have an ex-boyfriend that I absolutely adore and am surprised that he never seemed to date any person of significance after me. Not like I ruined him or anything, he just wasn’t really a romance or relationship kind of person. Or maybe it’s the traits that I find to be quite appealing are not the norm. LOL.
    At least you represent yourself honestly! That will definitely work in your favour. 26 is young. PFFT. Kudos to you and your standards, that’s top notch.

    Like

      1. Kalliope

        It truly is about finding your complimentary other! Whatever fulfills you and makes you feel whole. 🙂
        BTW, this blog post is responsible for me dragging out my tribute to my exes and reposting that tripe. LOL. You’re welcome. (even though you didn’t request nor thank me for doing that)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Who came up with the systems that measures success in concrete achievements? SOMEONE FIRE THEM.

    “Nothing to show for it” is the most frustrating, invalidating part of dating. Like, what is even the point!? I’m sorry that’s where you’re at – no fun.

    Glad you’re still writing and living life. This post made me laugh and feel things.

    You’re doing a good job.
    FALSE: you’re doing a great job.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Online dating is definitely the most popular, common way to meet people these days. Especially for people who find it difficult to actually meet people face to face. A few close friends, and even my brother have met their long term partners online, along with a gazillion other people in the world, I’m sure. It definitely has it’s merits, but unlike you, I AM the cynic at all of 26, and quite content in the knowledge that I’ll be single forever (for I’m certain it is an irrefutable outcome). And as much as I dig The Darkness, I don’t believe in a thing called love! 😉 that being said, you’re probably a better person than me so I’m sure that you’ll meet someone with whom you connect, and share a mutual respect and love for. It might just mean you just gotta wade through all the…less appealing aspects of dating to meet her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I genuinely had to flip a coin for which song to use for this post haha. I wouldn’t go so far as to qualify how good of a person I am, but I think there is strength in being comfortable with where you are and keeping yourself from stressing about something that is partially out of your control. Thank you for reading and sharing 🙂

      Like

      1. Exactly! Though, isn’t it funny how people doubt you when you’re a single person, and you say you’re ok? I don’t know about you, but I get a lot of pity sighs and I have to gently remind people that being single is not a terminal disease!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve never had a successful date from a dating site – but I met someone from a pen pals website (for making friends, not dating), it worked, and we’ve been together nearly 10 years. I feel that aiming to meet someone for the first time with the expectation of romance is too much pressure. I hope you find what you are looking for 🙂
    I find a photo of man with cat attractive… I don’t think I’m alone there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Like I said above, I made a very close friend from a dating site, so there is definitely room for something other than the intended use of a website to happen, like your case with the pen pal site. I agree that dating sites cause a bit of unnecessary pressure when meeting for the first time, which is why I always try and make it as casual as possible. I’ve gone into it as a full on date before and found it became a strange tangle of expectations for both parties involved. I really appreciate you saying that and I’m glad that you have found someone who makes you happy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s like you penned down the thoughts I had, haha!
    My parents had an office romance, but that was almost 29 years ago. And here I am, signing up and deleting dating apps. My friend even tried to set me up once. But I guess it’s a difficult territory when one of your closest friends sets you up with one of her close friends. I’ve been pondering upon the idea of joining a dating app again . . . But I’ve hardly met anyone ‘worth’ it in the past; if you know what I mean. And the ones I do end up talking to, either ghost me or I ghost them.
    Aah well . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is definitely easy to become discouraged, especially when it seems like all you’re dong is sifting through the unwanted and incompatible. I have come to a sort of grim acceptance that this is the most likely way I’ll find someone; it is incredibly difficult to meet people organically, so to speak, these days and I personally wonder how much online dating has contributed to that as well. Thank you, as always, for reading and leaving a comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I met my husband on eHarmony. He lived in PA and I lived in NC. He was a bachelor for 20 years and tells everyone how he found love at 55. (He doesn’t look his age) Don’t settle, don’t compromise. She’s out there. Maybe she’s getting over a breakup, maybe she’s going through things to make her into your perfect other half…. and vice versa. Don’t rush it, you are still young. Enjoy your single life, travel, meet new people and enjoy yourself. Your experiences will make great stories. She will love to hear about your quest and how in the end, it was her.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You are so genuine and open about things. Online dating is rough but your persistence will see you though and help you find someone. I was never a fan of online dating, there were too many lewd comments but it can work for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was 26 when I met Mrs B but we were just friends online. It wasn’t until we met when I was 28 that things started to move. Even then, we didn’t get married until I was 30. Good things come to those who wait on the Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope I didn’t come across as patronizing. It’s been awhile since I was in your shoes, but I do remember what it was like. Just want to encourage you to stay the course.

        Like

  9. Pingback: Virgin is Such a Dirty Word – Perpetually Past Due

  10. I have met my best friends and my husband of like 6 months… Lol, all on online dating sites. The hardest part I found being a girl is how many guys want to hit you up for sex, so it makes it that much harder for the genuine guys out there. For the record, I met my guy when I wasn’t looking. Seems to work like that the most.
    Your outlook is perfect though. Be where you are! Be happy in yourself. You will have that much more to offer if you can be happy on your own!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The whole “found them when I wasn’t looking” thing is the biggest aspect I struggle with because I don’t really have much social interaction. I suppose I can just keep open to what the universe sends my way. Thank you for commenting 😁

      Like

      1. I never did either… I think what I should say is that I wasn’t looking for a relationship, just some friends to have the occasional social interaction with. I was actively seeking friends, I just wasn’t looking for more. I was happily single and preferred to be single.
        I think just being open to what the universe is sending is a great outlook! I enjoy reading, you always have an insightful way of looking at and getting through things.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. As a girl I can totally attest to what you said about the online dating experience for women. I’ve done my time on dating sites and apps and I’m not really active on them currently, but the main reason is because of the massive amount of interest I got and it was difficult and sort of stressful to weed through the serious ones and the not-so-serious ones. (plus I probably have way too high of an ideal that I’m looking for in a guy lol.) It started to became more of a chore for me than it was worth. And yes, the initial dopamine rush doesn’t last. I like the concept of meeting someone online due to my introverted nature, but I’ve found that despite the convenience of it, I would still almost rather meet someone in real life because of the selective filtering of the online world. It’s sometimes hard to get a true sense of someone’s nature over the internet, at least in my opinion. And I think that’s important to have before actually meeting face to face. Not to say dating isn’t always somewhat of a risk, or that it’s not still possible to meet the one online…it definitely is possible. And it’s becoming more of a reality especially in our current world. So anyway, don’t give up hope. Your positive perspective is encouraging. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sounds like you’re already getting your ambivert self out there, and good for you! Getting out there is the hardest part. Just as a suggestion, if there’s a club or group doing activities you enjoy in your area you could always join them? Bike riding, hiking, art, or reading club, some hobby you like. There might be a lady already going to the group and then you already have a connection at the start given that you both enjoy the same activity 🙂 At the very least you get to spend time doing something fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. joyyia

    Its never too late to comment. On a personall level, i have been a fan of online dating and Lord, it isn’t easy! Being Catfished, serial liars etc…. it is very hard to find genuine men (in my case). Most who log into those apps are either married or looking for fun. However, i have met some wonderful souls who ended up to be my friends. The Mantra is, Never give up. Keep looking and thereis someone for everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: A Blog’s Purpose – Perpetually Past Due

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s