Here are a few places where you won’t find me: at a Starbucks, in a cubicle, and on anymore online dating sites. I have to admit that a few years ago, I took up the hobby of “dating.” Initially, I thought I wanted a boyfriend/partner, but really, I wanted to meet people and heal from a sour relationship. During that fun period, I hardly bought groceries because of all the restaurants my dates and I tried. There were some great, thoughtful people I met and others that I wanted to stab in the cheek five minutes in. There was the guy who was 80+ pounds overweight and had not placed current pictures on his dating profile. I didn’t recognize him at the barbecue restaurant he’d selected for lunch. After our food arrived, he took one bite of his sandwich and declared that he was “stuffed.” Turns out, he’d had a gastric bypass surgery, but no longer followed the diet and had regained the weight. On the other hand, there was a really thoughtful guy who planned a picnic at a park and brought all of my favorite foods and drinks. Someone else took me to LACMA, followed by live music at a tiny theater in Burbank and we ordered pie. There was also a pathological liar who fibbed about his international travels (how could he go from LA to Peru to Paris in a day?). Admittedly, most of the other dates and people fell somewhere in between and were nice enough, if not particularly memorable.
After all these dates, I eventually met “someone” and had a relationship that I thought was “it.” Well, another break-up ensued and some friends encouraged me to date online again. I learned that everyone is on Hinge and Tinder and so I joined both. Tinder and I are not compatible so that lasted about a week. But Hinge seemed a little better — it’s an app that connects people’s mutual friends. I went on a couple of dates from the site, and met some people who seemed interesting and smart. For various reasons, they fizzled. But, after about a month, I decided that it no longer served me either. I deleted my account.
Last week, I was a guest on the “Ask Women” podcast and we talked about online dating (the episode will air in a few weeks, and I’ll publish the link). I was asked to find some really good and really bad profiles so we could discuss them. Given that modern dating apps don’t really have “profiles” anymore, I had to create an OKCupid profile for “research.” I uploaded a few recent pictures and wrote a brief profile. Like all women, I got many likes and messages. I found a couple of funny, well-written profiles and also some really bad ones for the podcast. Driving to record the podcast, I reflected on the last six weeks of dating and realized that my heart is not in it. I deleted my OKCupid account immediately after recording the episode.
So now, I’m not on any dating apps. In other words, I’m done.
What? Why are you deleting your profiles? These are the common questions I’ve heard lately.
Here is my list of why online dating no longer serves me:
1. It’s a time drain.
Constantly having to check apps, some of which are clunky and outdated, takes up a lot of time. It means I’m wasting precious minutes (multiplied into hours) on people that I don’t even know. It also means I’m looking down at a little screen while thinking of something friendly, enticing, and flirty to say. Writing all of these messages back and forth doesn’t guaranty a date; in 2015, most people don’t want to talk on the phone so it ends up becoming a text- penpal relationship.
2. It detracts from my offline social life.
When I’m browsing, swiping and texting with strangers, I’m not actually doing the things that bring me joy or productivity. I really enjoy going to restaurants, cooking, taking day trips, exercising, reading, and spending time with friends. When I’m sitting with my phone in hand, I’m not able to engage in the real social things I actually want to do. It also keeps me in at night instead of being a social member of society.
3. I keep meeting the wrong men.
This is a big one. I’m attracted to a certain profile: it’s well-written with witty, dry humor thrown in. I’ve noticed I like a certain physique in men and they’re also often aloof. I’ve had enough experience to know that this doesn’t work for me. So, when they’re corralled into an app and so easy to find, I have to steer clear. If I were to meet one of these caricatures in person, I’d be able to spot the red flags immediately, but when we text for a while before meeting, I get sucked in. In other words, my online tastes (what I find attractive in a person’s profile) don’t match what I like in person.
4. Online compatibility doesn’t necessarily equal real-life compatibility.
The best things about dating apps are their convenience and the grocery store equivalent of shopping while hungry. Theoretically, it’s great to search for someone by geographic desirability, height, or drinking/smoking preferences without leaving the couch. I’ve matched 99% with various guys online, but in person have noticed our values and personalities are completely misaligned.
5. Online dating is emotionally consuming.
Checking the apps and waiting for messages, getting my hopes up, or feeling disappointed is too volatile. I get wrapped up in these actions far too early (sometimes without even having met the person). My friends and I joke that we’ve played out the entire relationship and have seen the joys and problems even before a second date. This simply takes up too much space in my heart and head.
6. Online dating makes me hate humanity.
I’m usually a people-person with a positive attitude, an open mind, and a loving heart, yet online dating makes me bitter, frustrated, and mistrusting of men. In the messages, I read a lot of embellishment and exaggeration. This gives me pause — and makes me think I can’t trust men. We have to trust people based on their actions and not on their words (and this goes for all relationships, not just online dating). Online dating is usually based on messaging and often does not progress to phone calls or in-person dates. How can we really get to know each other through texts?
7. Online dating is not fun.
Now, as the novelty of downloading apps and online dating wears off, it’s lost its luster. There’s nothing sexy about using algorithms and thumb swiping to find one’s next partner. I want to do things that are fun and truly support my values, and then meet people who hold similar values. Meting people through mutual friends and doing activities that are naturally appealing breeds actual fun.
My clients have experienced similar negative feelings when they’ve online dated for too long, and I’ve encouraged them to delete their profiles. Well, now I’m doing the same. I’ll let you know how my offline dating experiment goes. I’ll be concentrating on spending time with my friends and doing the actual things that bring me joy. Instead of finding me online, maybe we’ll see each other at the beach, at dumpling and taco restaurants, or visiting the myriad places in Southern California I’ve missed because I’ve been too busy messaging on an app. Please say hi.
For more information, please contact Coaching By Nina Rubin.