John McElhenney just trashed his online dating profiles, so he can find his real match in the real world.
We’ve all heard the stories about all the happily married couples who met through online dating sites. I don’t know what your experience has been, but I don’t buy it. Why? Because all online dating sites, regardless of the algorithms, gimmicks, or “science,” are more like Facebook than real life.
Here are just a few examples of how online profiles lie.
- Pictures lie. Even recent pictures, when taken with the right light, can make a NOT look like a HOT.
- Words are made up ideas. Yadda yadda, we all like beaches and wine. Music, too.
- Chemistry is impossible online. You can’t imagine how that person will feel, or you will feel, when you’re physically together.
- The mind is wonderful, but even eloquent emails and text messages can add up to zero when you meet.
- Some people are on dating sites purely for entertainment not actually to date.
What online dating sites do well is up your odds of meeting people you might not otherwise ever come in contact with. And there’s a good reason you’re not already meeting these people in person. The people you encounter during your daily routine, when you are out and about and doing the things that are important and fun to you, tend to be people with whom you share common interests. There’s a reason that an extroverted creative type like me isn’t going to naturally run across an introverted mathematician. It’s because we have so little in common, virtually zero overlap. Put another way, you’re more likely to meet an animal lover at the zoo, an art appreciator at the museum, or a wine enthusiast at a tasting than you are to find these kindred spirits in cyberspace.
So I’m bored on a week night and have some unscheduled time. I can choose between a lot of different activities. I could go out and get some exercise—that would be healthy. But setting aside the self-improvement regimen for a minute, I could:
a. spend time on Facebook chatting about nothing,
b. spend time on Match.com browsing faces for a hit, or
c. do something creative.
What I’ve come around to lately is that c. is the only valid use of my time. Let me explain.
Facebook looks and feels like community. We call it social media, but it’s becoming more just media media. They’re showing you approximately 8% of your friend’s status updates and messages. The rest … is Facebook. Pabulum. Media. Consumerism. Today Facebook is a lot more like TV than it used to be. After taking a 99-day break from my FB habit, I’m happier and more productive. I’ve dipped back in a little, but no more hours socializing.
Online dating may also seem like a worthy activity, especially if you’re seeking companionship. But the illusion created by social media makes us think we have a pretty good idea of who these “potentials” say they are, and what they look like today, while in truth we don’t. Profiles on Facebook or OK Cupid are generally similar. You choose and carefully crop your most flattering pictures, list your best accomplishments and leave out your failures, and make note of your endearing quirks. Except on dating sites you don’t get to see the quirks. (Well, OK Cupid’s questions sections are full of quirks, and kinks, but that’s a different conversation all together.) No one’s going to tell you they snort when they laugh, have bad breath, or only like to talk about themselves.
Creative process is where I grow as a person and as an artist (writer, musician, poet, whatever). And as I am growing myself up, and growing into my creative energy I am also putting out more energy and more joy—which makes me more attractive and more fun to be with. I think this dating thing is all about joy. It’s a little bit about looks. And a little bit about thoughts. But the chemistry part is all about joy—mutual joy. If you feel joy at the sight of someone, or when you first hear their voice or experience their smile, there’s a hit. If you feel nothing or something less that nothing (negative), that’s a clear indicator of where things are headed.
I spent a good part of a week recently getting to know a new woman online, and I could sense the potential. I could admire her good looks, dark eyes, and flashing wit. And yet there was something that wasn’t coming across. I couldn’t decipher it right away. I was hopeful and encouraged by our promising start. And her persistence in getting back together again the next day. “Spontaneously.” I loved that. “Yes, yes, yes,” it said to my brain.
In my joyous engagement I was missing something from her that I couldn’t identify. I thought I was listening well, responding well, and behaving well. I thought we were moving things along nicely. But I could only make those assumptions about myself and my own thinking. While she was sharing a lot about life and asking a lot of questions about me, she wasn’t really lighting up. She was … reserved. She admitted to being an introvert, and I initially thought, “Oh, that’ll be interesting, to see how I am in relationship to an introvert.”
And even in the real world, with all of our faculties between us, the miss between us was something deeper. After three meetings and the promise of an actual “date” for the weekend ahead, I was feeling good and yet still mixed. I walked away from our last meeting wondering, “Am I the one pushing this one along? Am I making this one happen? Am I trying to invent my lover?”
The next morning, she pinged me saying she’d considered our time together and felt it wasn’t going to be a match for her. She was canceling the date. And she would catch up with me spontaneously as the occasion might arise in the future.
I was disappointed, but not totally surprised.
I had been feeling the miss, but I was trying to force it to be a match. I wanted “her” to work. And that’s when I understood it was time to kill my online dating profiles. I WANT a relationship too much. My focus has gotten lost in all this browsing, assessing, and pursuit. What I really need to pursue is my dream and my creative output. I am confident that if I do that, the rest will follow.
I have time for a relationship. I have the will and the energy. And if I want to meet a match, I need to put myself and my life in the places where “she” already is. In real life, not online.
Sure, I will have another great love. But first, I must become the great lover I hope to meet, by becoming large enough to call her in, without the help of a dating site.
back to Dating After Divorce
- The 6-Step Relationship Strategy
- Unlocking Touch – The Love Language I Speak
- How Long Will it Hurt? Divorce Recovery, the Road Back to Happiness
- Ready or Not-Ready for a Relationship: The Dating Game
image: dining alone, john mcelhenney, cc 2014