Online dating isn’t exactly new, but it’s certainly gestated into a weird, mutated form of actual human interaction. Driven by the propensity for hating everyone you know and a desire to be able to just google the answer to every one of life’s problems, online dating has taken a hold on the romantically and sexually frustrated and refuses to let go.
Whether it’s one of the classic pay-to-plays that populate the marginal ads of the internet or the freemium swipers that everyone’s got tucked away on their phones, chances are, you’ve screwed around with these apps, and chances are you’ve been disappointed. And yet, so few of us are willing to cut that cable. Why? What has online dating done for you?
Consider the typical user of online dating. They are, to some degree, unsuccessful in real-life dating and appear to be at their rope’s end when it comes to meeting people in the real world. Rather than work to improve themselves, these people have retreated. They’ve eschewed the gym for flattering angles in profile pictures. They’ve replaced self-actualization with self-description in bios, replete with bent truths or even bold-faced lies. They’ve abandoned risk and still expect reward.
And they’ve joined these sites, thinking they’ll find someone that isn’t in the exact same situation.
Take the hordes of women on Tinder saying they’re looking for something serious, to whom you can only say, “Are you lost?” What masters of illusion must be designing these websites, that they are able to perpetuate such a ridiculous premise? Who seriously believes an app can bring them true love?
There’s arguments for online dating, of course; a few of them are valid. Some just don’t have the time or opportunity to meet people due to busy work schedules. However, most of the supposed “pros” of online dating hold little water.
For example, the notion that you’re being paired with an ideal partner, skipping people with whom you have no chance of connecting? Sorry, that’s not the way life works. You don’t get to remove yourself from people you disagree with, and you don’t get to skip the process of sifting through people. This is evidenced by the fact that not even close to every match you get is a guaranteed success. The perfect profile belies a person you may well despise.
This isn’t even a bad thing, though – opposites can often attract and make perfect pairs, as you elicit things in each other that you need. A dreamer can bring a realist out of their shell while the realist grounds the dreamer. You’re supposed to grow from a relationship, not become stunted by being paired with a rough sketch of the same exact person you are.
The problem lies in how online dating tries to make us forget this fact. They fuel the fantasy of the soulmate, as though there’s some perfect match for any of us, and as though we’re already exactly who we need to be, with no need for growth and development. You have to drudge through the bad dates to know what to do when confronted with a good date. You need to experience conflict to appreciate congruence.
All online sex dating has done is pardoned our fear of a challenge. We’ve supplanted the experience of pursuing something real with hiding, swiping and clicking our way into a numb dissatisfaction. And this is exactly what the dating sites want – an addiction to easy outs with no real solution to your romantic difficulties, just the illusion of one.