This is a guest post by Alex Reddle.
I recently decided to tip my toes into the murky waters of digital dating. Why murky? Until you’ve wholeheartedly embraced the technology, and your mugshot and most up-to-date profile are merrily circulating the worldwide web, the thought of going online to find a partner can seem rather daunting. But if you’ve secretly grown a little tired of the conventional scene, of seeing the same old faces in the wine bars and clubs you’re used to frequenting, the logical next step is to meet singles online.
I first typed ‘online dating sites’ into my search bar about a month ago. So there are several million-dollar questions. What happened next? Do I have any regrets? Was I successful? Did I encounter any nightmarish bunny boilers or were they all the women of my dreams? In fact, my answers to these basic questions are all covered in considerable depth in the following reasons to embrace online dating.
I don’t want to equate choosing women to date with poring over a glossy menu from your local takeaway restaurant. There are certain similarities: the fact you can spend as long as you want studying what each dish has to offer before making your choice, that the dishes on display are frequently exotic and mouthwatering, and that the whole experience can take place from the tranquility of your own home. That latter aspect is certainly worth underlining when I recollect all those weekends of waiting outside nightspots in all weathers, queuing among all the other drunken revelers before being prodded inside a dingy and sweaty interior by scowling bouncers.
But as for the menu, there is a world of difference. With takeaway orders you aren’t exactly encouraged to make a meaningful connection with your starter and main course. With online dating, there is so much more on offer than simply browsing through a list of hot-looking dates.
Dating sites are nuanced. If you’re looking for some no-strings-attached fun, then there are a variety of options. Some of my friends have tried out sites where there is never any question of matchmaking or the forging of serious relationships. It’s all about the convenience of hooking up with partners who are looking for casual encounters with someone just as horny as they are, preferably with a consenting adult who is in the vicinity.
Nor does it have to be all about casual encounters. There is a whole universe of serious dating preferences out there, from single sex to fetishists, from professionals looking for other professionals to guys with a taste for much older women.
My own preference is for websites catering for those whose outlook on life isn’t quite so shallow. Here the emphasis is very much on compatibility. While signing-up involves paying a membership fee and agreeing to a degree of commitment, the longer term prospects are far more rewarding.
The personal profiles you submit to be displayed before fellow members can be finely tuned, with the algorithms built into the site management ensuring you’ll only be paired with candidates on your wavelength. Gone are the days of blind dates where you find yourself confronted with a complete stranger, and doomed to waste the next few hours of your life listening to a self-centered bore spewing dodgy political viewpoints while throwing alcohol back like juice. The beauty of going through a reputable site is that there is a filtering system designed to eradicate the unsuitable.
No more awkward silences
Unless you’re dating someone who has been part of your friendship circle for a while (sometimes a recipe for disaster – have you seen the movie When Harry Met Sally?) meeting someone for the first time can be a daunting prospect. What if you have nothing in common? What if they have personal habits that grate, such as continually consulting their mobile phone? What if they’re lacking in other social skills and are rude to waiters or taxi drivers?!
With online dating you’ll have been given the opportunity to get to know this person for quite some time. You don’t have to plunge in and arrange a date within moments of being acquainted. On the contrary. You can exchange messages over as long a period as you like, gradually getting to know a lot more about them, finding out about their hobbies and interests. This way you can really find out what you have in common, and this will go a long way towards creating the necessary chemistry that is often such a struggle in the traditional ‘blind date’ scenario.
Online dating paves the way for a relaxed and informal time, a scenario where you don’t have to fret about dressing to impress or worry about spontaneity. Hopefully you’ll have already spent considerable time and effort getting acquainted. The ice will have been broken a long time ago.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.