I am here today to share with you the wild world of online dating. If you haven’t had the opportunity to engage in such an adventure, I highly recommend it. It is a special form of torture in this technologically savvy world. If you are familiar with the online dating world, I commiserate with you. From what I’ve heard, even for many couples who have had success from online dating sites, the process was tiresome and frustrating at times.
Here’s how it has gone for me:
I decide to take a risk and sign up for online dating. I spend hours writing a profile and picking pictures where I look attractive, but not unrealistically so, and post it for the world to see and judge. These few pictures and paragraphs become my essence on the screen by which men decide if I am worth their time or not. It is an incredibly vulnerable experience. Based on a magical algorithm, I get matched with several guys every day and look at their profiles to see if I sense the possibility of connection. I reach out to any guys where I see potential, and hear back from approximately 5% of them. Those statistics, and the associated feelings of rejection, alone are enough to make me mad.
Here’s my initial requirement list:
- Loves God (mentions something religious or spiritual in his profile)
- Has a job
- Can write a coherent sentence
That’s it. That’s my first wave of weed outs. I’m not asking too much, and yet there are many, many fellas who don’t make it past wave one for many reasons.
My Oh No-No List.
Just as I have an initial requirement list, I have a list of deal breakers, which after the character of Tom Haverford, I have named my “Oh No-No’s”
- Shirtless selfies in the bathroom – just stop. I’m glad you work on your fitness, but this should not be your profile picture. It makes me feel like you expect me to reciprocate!
- Pictures hugging another girl – I realize that this is a good photo of you, but perhaps another photo without your ex girlfriend’s face whited out next to you would be more alluring to future romantic prospects.
- Banana hammocks – See Oh No-No number one.
- Too many consonants – any sentence which begins, “Hey Girrrrrlll” Sorry, we’re just not going to be a match. Quality words are my friends and love to write, so I need someone who can converse on another level, with the right number of consonants.
- One word answers. “What are you most passionate about?” “Who has influenced you the most in your life?” “What do you love most about your life right now?” These are large and powerful questions! Entire books could be written on these questions! If you answer them, “Food. Mom. Sleep.” respectively, I fear we won’t have much to talk about.
- Lying about your age – Your profile says you’re 36, but I would bet $1000 that you are no less than 66. That seems like kind of a big difference. Be proud to be your age! It’s okay! But lying about it isn’t.
(Before you ask, yes all of those are absolutely real situations.)
I try to view this online adventure as my opportunity to better someone else’s life. My goal in dating is to leave the person better off than I found him. I seek to share some encouragement, mention a quality I see that is positive, or share how his words have affected me. I focus heavily on seeking to better the other’s life rather than trying to find something to shut down the link. I want to have hope, but have come to the conclusion that my prince is on a turtle somewhere…
While online dating, I’ve met some quality and classy guys and a lot of duds. Every time I log on to my profile, I wonder if today could be the day that I meet someone special. Could today be the day a new story starts? And when I log off I remind myself that my life is wonderful and that my story is being written by a Heavenly Author who knows the end, even if my chapter of singleness was longer than I had planned.
Here’s what I know:
Singleness is not a punishment and marriage is not a right.
Everyone suffers. Marriage is not the arrival point or finish line and it doesn’t make life easier.
God is at work in my heart and is drawing me closer to Himself with every experience, good and painful.
I am surrounded by people who love me.
With every excitement, possibility, and celebration, I have been able to call on friends who have been excited with me. With every closed door, end of a relationship, or disappointment, I have been able to call on friends who have sat with me in the mess of life and let me cry… and maybe brought ice cream.
So with my team of people behind me cheering me on, I dry my tears and forge steadily onward, knowing that I don’t know the end, but I will trust the process. Correction: I will trust the One who directs the process. And I will enjoy the story He’s writing in my life… no matter what.