Online Serial Dating

I believe that one of the greatest dangers of online dating is not a Craigslist Killer (although you should certainly take precautions) but serial dating. When I was first introduced to online dating I had no idea what this was. I was the opposite, I was a serial messager. By the time I’d finally met the man I knew everything he could possibly consider telling me about himself and plenty that he most likely had never intended to tell anyone. I would message with a man for days, weeks, a few even for months before we would finally meet. I used the excuse that I was busy with two young children and a full-time job but in actuality, I was still getting adjusted to being single and entering the great wide world of dating.
Once I accepted the fact that I did not want to spend the rest of my life alone then the only alternative was to date. Sometimes it was really painful, sometimes it was really fun. Sometimes I learned really unusual things about people, or that the things they do on the television shows when they say “do not try this at home” people do anyway. Fortunately, I always had a couple of friends that I could tell all too. Just a couple. Once I focused on the dating, and didn’t attempt to get to know my date to well in advance it became less painful.
As it became easier and easier to strike up a conversation online and work through the process to the first date it became increasingly more difficult not to judge them by an unrealistic standard because there were still hundreds of men to choose from that were just one more click away. This is a world where I could refuse to even converse with a man that was less than six feet tall. I could choose every characteristic about him, including his income, if he owned a car, if he had or wanted children, facial hair and the thickness of his body. If I didn’t like the options that came up I could simply alter the age by a year or maybe lower my standard to a man that is 5’11”.
From my perspective, online dating seems to promote serial dating. Come on now, we’ve all seen the photos that the websites promote of the beautiful, happy couple that met through their site. I know that it has been a very long time since I had a figure or a complexion like the woman in that photo. So the likelihood of meeting a man that looks like the man in the photo, and him being interested in me, were slim to none. But ladies, we can dream. And while we’re dreaming we continue to pay a fee for our membership to the online dating site. Dating has evolved into more of a meet-up which has virtually no emotional investment what-so-ever. They have become superficial encounters that consist of basically a cliche drink at a bar or coffee at Starbucks. I can’t blame the men for this, women have contributed to the demise of the traditional date as well. Who can blame a man for not spending upwards of $100 on dinner and a movie for two when he knows she’s already envisioning the next click before the main course even arrives?
I believe that online dating is a fantastic advancement to the dating society but that progress has come with a price. When online dating we have to be careful not to become overly superficial, unsatisfied version of ourselves in this process.
Recently, I reconnected with a man I had met online more than five years ago. We both really liked each other at the time but the timing wasn’t right for me for there was just to much drama with my ex and his wife at the time. Flash forward; We went on a series of wonderful dates and after a few weeks I called my best-friend to fill her in. She listened, intently, just as she always did. My married friends seem to think the dating thing is fun and love to live vicariously through me. When I finished she said “so, what’s the catch?” The catch, I did not understand. She said for sure I had a reason to move on. “I don’t understand” I said what in the world did she mean? “You always have a reason to move on, regardless of how great a guy is,” she said. Ouch, really? Had I really been that judgmental? “Not really” she said “you had valid reasons is ditching the last guy texting you love songs before you’d even met him.” Whew I thought, thank God she didn’t really think I owed him a shot because of his choice in music!
However, this puts it all in perspective. Maybe we serial date not because we are being to selective or there are so many options out there. But maybe we serial date until our hearts land on the right person. Perhaps it just all has to come together at the right time, right place, right guy. Then when things a-line, we’ll accept their faults willingly not because they’re perfect but because they’re perfect for us. So if this is where serial dating can lead us perhaps it’s not such a terrible thing after-all.


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