near misses

by rantywoman

Last year my online dating experiences looked a lot like this:

But even at its best, online dating was like this for me:

And with my spirits high, I go on these dates and hope for the best. More often than not, I have a good time; almost as often, there’s no second date. Online dating may make it easier to connect with attractive singles who share your taste in pop culture, but it doesn’t guarantee a lasting interest or deeply felt connection. And after awhile, I find my enthusiasm beginning to fade, as it becomes harder to gin up interest in meeting a stranger for an evening that’s unlikely to lead to anything of consequence. Unlike Jacob, the longer I engage in online dating, the more I find myself craving some semblance of genuine connection; the more I find myself desperate to find someone I truly, deeply like so that I can break free from the endless, exhausting parade of first dates.

Which brings me to the strange irony of my experiments with online dating: Though an online dating site landed me my first serious relationship, in the 12 years since, it’s never led to one again. Oh, it’s brought me brief flings and best friends and plenty of interesting experiences, but—despite the sense of possibility, and continued feeling of promise—it’s rarely paired me up with anyone I felt a deep, lasting connection with. Online dating may offer up the illusion of infinite choice, but it quickly reveals itself to be a world full of close calls and near misses. And though some may see that as a reason to continually dig in search of an endlessly more perfect match, to me, it just makes even the hint of real commitment feel all the more precious. And when I find myself in the presence of someone I actually, genuinely feel for, I’m hardly inclined to dive back into the morass of Internet dating to see if there’s anything better: no, when I find something that wonderful, I hold onto it and run as far away from the online personals as I possibly can.