I mean categorically, yes. That wasn’t a trick question.

For anyone who’s spent any length of time in the world of online dating, I know you’ll agree, it’s utter shit. I thought upgrading to digital was supposed to make life easier? But when it comes to online dating, it’s added a whole load of extra. And that extra is exhausting as fuck, self-depleting, terrible for any kind of self-worth, and totally lacking in connection despite all the technological ‘connectedness’.

It’s in part why I took a total time out of online dating. Which is a bit disappointing, considering it really is so hard to meet people in real life nowadays. But the alternative was a plethora of quantity and a bucket load of low quality. Ghosting, mosting, catfishing, blocking, half-hearted, still married, situationships (and that really is just a few off the top of my head). And the people who tell you its all okay, because Aunt Rita’s second cousins friend met the love of her life online, so there’s still hope! They’re wrong. Unfortunately, that’s a rare exception, and not a growing rule.

Before I make a suggestion on how we can change this up, I’m going to run through what’s wrong with online dating.

‘Look, there are so many people to choose from,’ the apps imply

Has this lead to a culture of disposability, by having so much choice? We can pick up, use, play around with for a bit, casually date, and then onto the next when we’re done. I know, Aunt Rita’s blah blah blah. But seriously, exception not rule!

The quantity issue doesn’t just appear to make people treat others like objects that can be returned after a 14 day free trial, but they don’t seem to value the item they’ve chosen, because all they’re thinking about is the upgrade that’s waiting for them down the line. How can you choose just one though, when so many are out there ready to be chosen? Online dating has extremely heightened FOMO on someone better.

Throwaway, disposability, choice after choice, option after option. It all seems to have lead to disrespect

I’ve had a one night stand where a man choked me around ten minutes into sex. Hooked up, for them to block me the next morning (I mean seriously, just say thanks for a great night and have a good life, it’s called politeness. Which feels like a nice departure when you’ve chosen to spend some time getting acquainted with my vagina). People who’ve ghosted without any explanation (Radio silence is not the one. Look, if I’m having the same conversations again and again, everyone must be. So at least give me some feedback, say ‘Nice to get to you know but I’ve found someone else / moved to Spain / aren’t feeling it / You’re crazy AF’).

There feels an unwillingness to commit to anyone, and cheating is bloody rife. Oh I won’t bore you with all my dating experiences, because if you’re currently dating online, well, you know it all first-hand. But hopefully my point is clear. Disrespect in all its forms is a frequent and not so nice little experience of dating today.  

We’re lost in this sea of online dating choice, and never sure if what we find is enough. Because surely, there’s something better?

Sounds pretty terrible to say that out loud, right? Well imagine being the one discarded time and time again. Now that’s pretty awful for your self-love vibes and feeling any kind of self-worth. If you’re anything like me, even in my thirties with a pretty thick skin and a strong independent nature, I got sucked into the whole ‘Maybe I’m not enough, but if just one of these bastards chooses me, that means I am’ mindset. So then you start chasing after the many options, hoping to be picked by anyone, desperate to be loved by just someone. And that’s how you fall into the ‘seeking validation from someone else’ trap. To avoid repeated rejection. Because even virtually, rejection feels naff.

Or you go entirely the other way (Ahem, like I did) and reject modern dating completely and decide that self-dating is the new way forward (I mean it was, I needed to sort some shit out, but that’s another blog for a different time).

Everyone catfishes everyone, it’s fact. But also, why wouldn’t they?

One of the things people get aggravated about the most as a dating problem, is cat fishing. But hardly any picture I see online hasn’t been filtered in some way. We all want to look our best and unfortunately, phones allow us to amend the image with just a click of a button. So when you’re up against a shit load of swipes versus you, it makes sense to upgrade the pic. It’s just good marketing strategy peeps. So you do, and then you’re left wondering how your date looks so god damn different to their profile, and sat there in anxious mode wondering how you’re measuring up to your own images. Anxiety is rife, I can tell you. And it leads to a real uncomfortableness about your own body and looks.

I could say I had a gift for attracting the wrong type of person. But the truth is, those online dating profiles give you pretty much zilch to go off

Plus if the images they do display are filtered, what the hell is real about them? You can’t exactly make wise choices with a 0.001% piece of information to go off and a fake image before heading into message territory. I didn’t have a gift for attracting the wrong person, I just never had a chance to make wise choices with such limited data to hand. And they couldn’t make an accurate choice of me either. So basically, we are just hoping for the best from that swipe. The next step is either full on interview territory or a half arsed attempt at some preliminary messaging before getting bored.

Instant gratification is an expectation today

A study of online daters found that only 1.4% of dating app conversations lead to something more, and FYI that something wasn’t an in person meet, it was just getting to exchanging phone number territory. It also revealed that almost half of those preliminary messages were never responded too. And I think this is a lot to do with the lack of information in the first place, meaning the swipe isn’t given much more than a few seconds thought, and so everything rests on that now incredibly important and pressured first intro.

Plus, maybe people want instant connection, definite good vibes, time and attention, sparks aplenty, banter galore, like, immediately? Grab my attention in two seconds flat, or don’t bother at all? I mean, I was guilty of this. But after nearly six years of online dating, I honestly was so exhausted from it all that I didn’t have any patience left in me. But is any of that really possible with online dating anyway?

There are such high expectations to meet, and there are so many obstacles to overcome. With little to no background information on someone’s character, and a hell of a lot of importance placed on a few texts. Plus that need to be gratified as quickly as possible. Be what I’m looking for, or get out my DMs, quick sharp. Because time and energy are limited, and become less and less aplenty as the years of online dating roll on. Your patience wears thinner, everything feels more and more superficial, and then you’re just opening the app feeling totally deflated and almost expecting people to let you down before you’ve even sent a, ‘How RU?’.

Online dating is so much STRESS. Like seriously, it’s almost a part time job

I mean I started off having just one chat with one person, but quickly got caught up in the whole ‘If you can’t beat em, join em’ mentality. Conversation after conversation. You know, better my odds and all that. Because you feel it’s a must in order to root some quality out of all that quantity.  But it takes a hell of a lot of mental energy to keep multiple chats going at once. It’s quite overwhelming actually.

And yet nothing feels authentic or connected from it. Understandably so. I mean how could I build a connection if I was chatting to four people at once. And they’re chatting to four people. And on and on it goes. With no-one paying any real attention to anyone. But wasting entire evenings of my life with people who rarely had any intention of meeting IRL, leading to more feelings of stress, anxiety, confusion and just general disappointment.  

Something needs to change about online dating and these effing online dating apps

This wasn’t just a ranty blog about how utterly crap it all is and some of the dating problems out there. Because I have a solution to the online dating problems. Online dating feels less like the answer, and more like the thing to avoid in order to find anything romantically meaningful.

So, my solution? Don’t do it.

The game itself can’t be changed. It’s too far gone, corrupt and fucked up

No one can make online dating better. Because online dating will always be worse than meeting someone in real life. It might feel like it’s the only answer – because we are in an era where it is harder to meet people in real life – But it’s certainly not impossible. And online dating hasn’t so far, actually offered many decent options as an alternative for me.

So if you’re feeling tired, exhausted, frustrated and just full on fucking over online dating. Stop doing it. Honestly, delete the apps. The peace I felt once I ended that relationship with those dating sites, was unreal. Sure, I’d have to look into some alternative ways to date. However there wasn’t much wrong with the way we used to do it. Like back in my 20s. When I saw a person I liked, caught some feels, went on some dates, and naturally discovered whether it had legs.

No evenings of wasted time on messages only to be ghosted without reason

No asking to see my tits before the barman pulled us a drink. They didn’t say yes to spending some time dating when they couldn’t give a fuck about wanting to know more about me. There wasn’t cat fishing, because I’d already taken a good look at them before deciding if I liked their face. Back then it felt real. And I think we’re over the fake, shitty environment these dating apps are responsible for. Let’s not pay a penny more to an industry that is making us unhappier, more stressed, and slowly depleting our self-worth with every swipe.

Online dating has become an untamed beast that is absolutely not a place that feels good, in any way

You can’t come out of it feeling better about your single status. A relationship, feels further out of reach than it ever has once you’ve spent a bit of time in that online dating world. It exacerbates emotional unavailability. Makes people treat others as if they are disposable, reject-able ‘non real’ entities that require no decent treatment or respect. It creates a perfect environment for mistreatment. Sends your mental health into a fucking spiral. Tears down your self-worth. Never guarantees a relationship at the end, but does guarantee you a shit load of problems you didn’t want or need.

What’s your take on online dating? Do you think it needs solutions, or pretty great as it is? (Aunt Rita’s second cousins friend, you are not permitted to comment). What dating problems have I missed?.

By Amy Roullier
By Amy Roullier

Amy is the Founder and Editor of The Authentic Optimist. She talks all things life. From the highs to the lows, to all those messy bits in-between. She is a writer, rambler, lover of carbs (her true soulmate) and she is especially passionate about dispelling myths about women in their 30s. Amy lives in Lincolnshire with her two greyhounds.

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