Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Relationship with Online Dating

When I first became so desperate that I resorted to online dating to finding a life match, I was very embarrassed about it.  I remember the night I finally decided to do it.  It was a dark, cold night over Christmas break years ago and we had just finished a warm and filling dinner and I'd had an emotional amount of wine (I tend to get a little weepy if I have a few glasses), I tearfully told my dad that I thought I'd never find anyone and I'd better take matters into my own hands.  I signed up for eHarmony the next day.  It was exciting and scary all at the same time.  At this point, I can't even remember how many times I've been on eHarmony and then Match, when I realized eHarmony was slow and cumbersome, and wasted a LOT of my time and energy communicating with people who I realized I wasn't interested in as soon as we got to open communication, which took weeks.  Match is a lot freer and more open, so you can talk to people much sooner and therefore, weed them out faster. 

I've been using these sites on and off since 2010 and have had 3 boyfriends for a total of 17 months in that time.  I've probably spend a quality amount of the remaining 31 months (minus the months that I took to heal my heart) looking for my next heartbreak.  I don't even want to know how much I've spent on these services over the years and how much school work or housework I could be getting done in the time I'm spending online.  It's always a relief to find someone so that I can cancel my subscription, it's always a sign of commitment to the relationship for me.    

My friend Al is currently applying for a new job and she's sending out 3-5 applications a week.  I decided that finding a husband should be treated like a job search, so I've been staying up late the last few weeks sifting through men on match, liking, winking and emailing.  My goal is to send an email a day.  I've been pretty consistent on this.  The only way to get noticed is to put yourself out there, so I've been very active.  It is exhausting though!  I spend a lot of time and energy on my emails.  I structure my email like a letter with a greeting and opening sentence and ending with a quality salutation and my first name.  The email itself includes comments about things they've mentioned in their profiles, questions about things they're interested in and my thoughts on some of those topics.  They're typically only 3 short paragraphs (I don't want to overwhelm them), but I put a lot of thought into them.  Half of them go unread, and I probably only get responses from 1 person a week, when I'm sending out 5-8 emails in that time.  It is so disheartening.  If I do get an email from a guy, it is often not an actual email.  They treat it like a text or instant messaging.  It's called email; I expect them to put forth the effort to greet me, construct full sentences and then sign off with their name.  It's common courtesy and respect. 

I have lots of great pictures showing all of my interests.  I don't have any bathroom or car selfies, no pictures with ex-boyfriends cropped out and I'm smiling in each one of them.  I send out many more points of contact than I receive in any given week and most of the time the ones I receive I'm decidedly not interested in.  I've had friends and family members look over my profile, including a few of my friends' husbands.  They all say it looks great, I just don't know what else to do! 

I'm always asking older people I know if they know anyone who might be compatible with me, and they always say they wish they did, but they don't.  Last winter, I emailed a lot of couples that I used to be friends with, asking them to introduce me to eligible young men that they knew.  It was great to hang out with people I rarely see and meet their friends, but I wound up not being interested in any of them.  A great idea, but ultimately a failure, although I did have several really fun nights!

I've also become more picky as well.  Religion has been a point of issue in my last two relationships, so I've been vetting that a bit more, but I don't want to invest in someone only to find out a few months down the road that they would prefer to never pray with me and won't ever think about going to church with me. 

So, there is no recourse other than to keep hunting, being open in my social life and setting up dates with the ones who do email me back.  All of this has to be done without letting confidence take a hit every time I don't hear back from someone I'm really interested in, which can be hard when I'm home for the fourth weekend in a row after a week that I stayed up until 11:30 every night sending a total of 10 emails, all unanswered.  Nothing to do but keep living and looking.   

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