The emotional toll of online dating

Every relationship takes emotional energy but also has its rewards. With family and friend relationships it’s usually an easy sail. You know what to expect and you rarely have to part ways, until one of you dies.

Online dating, however, is the most energy and time-sucking experience I have ever had. One gets to experience the whole rainbow of emotions in such a brief time that it takes a huge toll. Unless, that is, you hit the jackpot early on in your online dating journey or have such thick skin that you no longer care. Unfortunately, neither of these two options is the case for me.

It takes me about a month to recover from a date gone bad to even think of trying again. I take breaks from online dating. I always say to myself, never again, but then I’m convinced by someone to keep at it and eventually I go back to online dating, hoping that the next time I will be: more open-minded, more forgiving, more assertive, more understanding… more… anything that I probably should not try to be. I always give others the benefit of the doubt, and I am starting to think I’m wrong. I should be following my gut from the start and always doubt online daters’ intentions until I’m proven wrong.

So far I’ve learned:

  • Make a list of what you don’t like in a potential partner even before you go on an online dating site.
  • Friends come first. Never change a plan you have with friends for a date.
  • There’s no rush. It could take a year or a lifetime to meet The One.
  • Maybe it’s best to start any relationship with the premise of friendship first and then, much later on, decide whether it’s going anywhere romantically or not.
  • Pay attention to all the red flags and if he shows “ He’s not really into you,” believe it!
  • Meet his/her friends as soon as possible. We are, after all, the sum of the friends we hang out with. By knowing his or her friends you will know your date better.
  • Don’t try the impossible. If you know it’s hard to meet for dates because of distance or schedule, and you don’t like that, it won’t get better. Don’t even set up the first meet & greet!
  • True intimacy comes from talking and telling them who you really are and vice versa, and through actions. Chatting online is not the same as having a real-life relationship.
  • Give the relationship up early if you have any doubts at all. If your gut says “there’s something weird about him,” there probably is!
  • The heart and the brain don’t work together all that often. Listen to your brain first and foremost.
  • Not everyone reads your bio on an online dating site. They may simply just look at your photographs. So, good pictures may not be such a great idea after all.
  • If the date takes too much energy from the start, it’s not worth it. It should be fun and easy most of the time.
  • Just because the person is fun and interesting, it doesn’t mean it will work out for you as a couple.
  • Make sure from the start that you both are on the same page. If one of you is looking for a fling and the other one wants a life partner, it’s not going to work!
  • It’s more than OK to be alone. This is a good time to establish a great relationship with yourself. When you like the person you are with (you), you are never lonely.
  • When someone doesn’t pan out as expected, switch out feelings of rejection for relief.
  • Don’t read between the lines. Ask and be straightforward. Cut to the chase and don’t waste time and energy hoping to figure someone out.
  • If there’s something that doesn’t add up, lace up your shoes and run for the hills.

Now, I’m in recovery mode from my last experience. Let’s see how the next chapter goes! Live and learn, is what I tell myself. Everything worth doing takes practice.

One thought on “The emotional toll of online dating

  1. Tammy Hall

    Laura, Thanks for being so vulnerable with us! On-line dating is definitely a roller coaster. Why is it so difficult to meet men organically? I read recently that over 60% of the on-line dating community is men! So the odds are in our favor, but its still incredibly painful!! Even with that statistic, I haven’t been able to bring myself to try it again. Instead I’m trying a new approach where I tell everyone in my network that I’m single and available. This is something that I’ve never been vocal about, but I’m sucking it up and putting on my big girl pants : ) I’m not sending out a broadcast email or posting it on Facebook (although that might be kind of funny). Instead, I’m working it into as many conversations as I can. I have no idea if this new approach will pay off – but hey, at least I feel empowered!

    As an FYI, I live in Phoenix and I’m in the process of launching my own blog on the side. Unlike you, I’m not a writer. I’m more of the analytical type – so definitely a huge stretch for me. I work for a F100 company and I’m so tired of the corporate rat wheel. Just want to do my own thing.

    Wishing you much success, love and happiness!


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