I am not saying online dating doesn’t work. It just didn’t work for me.
Many of my friends, colleagues, and relatives have met, fell in love, and married after finding each other online.
Full disclosure I have only had a handful of girlfriends and all of them I met either at work, through friends, or by being introduced through acquaintances. I have only met and dated one person online and it was short and awkward (much like me). But despite my lack of online dating, it’s not for a lack of trying.
There are plenty of success stories in the modern technological land of romance from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter encounters. And even from made for dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid.
But, despite being entrenched in the social media world and swipe-happy on dating apps, I had very little luck finding the right partner. I couldn’t seem to attract, persuade, or keep potential matches.
Using social media for work, I have had an amazing amount of meetings, meet-ups, gatherings, conferences, and parties. And with these events comes chances to meet many beautiful, single, successful women. And though I seem to get along and create strong bonds with many of these ladies, I can’t seem to convince them to be my girlfriend.
“I am not saying I have never had a girlfriend or I don’t know how to meet girls, but I am admitting that it’s been tough to find compatible people and online dating has made it worse.”
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
It started with Tinder then slowly grew to Bumble, Badoo, OkCupid, Pairs, Tapple, and Dine. I live in Japan so all these apps are either set to my area or are only available in Japanese. And although all of these apps are free, by paying a monthly fee you can access a lot more features like sending messages, direct likes, etc. I admit I paid for Tinder and OkCupid with little success.
For those of you who have never used these dating apps and have no idea what I am talking about here is a quick rundown of the apps I used and my reviews on them.
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
Probably the most famous app that started the swipe left/swipe right revolution, this app uses your location and finds people based on the gender you prefer, the age range you are looking for, and the distance from you. Profile pictures with a small description appear on your phone. If you are interested, you swipe right, if not, you swipe left. If a person you swiped right on also swipes right on you, then you match. Once you match you can send and receive messages. It gets more complicated with super-likes but that is the basic premise.
The problem is, it is mostly physically based, no one looks at the description and swipes based solely on looks. Which is great if you are good looking but for me it is a nightmare. I think I swiped over a thousand girls before I got even one match. And once you get a match, getting a reply is just as hard.
But after months of swiping every day, I finally got a few matches that were messaging back and we were having conversations. I even had my first date on Tinder. Spoiler Alert, it was the worst!
Bumble is similar to Tinder except more power is given to the females. Whereas either party can send a message on Tinder, if a man and woman match on Bumble, only women can start the conversation. Once she sends a message then men can reply and the conversation can go from there.
I am sure this was put in place because women get bombarded with tons of messages and dick pics from guys they matched with but were not interested in.
But for me, Bumble was the worst app because I had way fewer matches then on Tinder. And even those I did match with, none of them, I repeat none of them sent me a message.
The girls have 24 hours to send a message before the match expires and in every single case the match never sent a message and there was nothing I could do except seeing her profile fade away.
I think this app was my favorite of the dating apps. One thing I liked about this app was that it was a lot more detailed in its matching algorithm. There were a lot more questions, categories, and profile sections to fill in making the match much more reliable.
I also liked the fact that you could send messages to people without having to match with them first. This meant I could get a list of women who had a high match percent and send each one of them a message telling them why they should message me back and why I would be a good match for them.
I guess this feature also created a lot more competition and overloaded the girl’s mailbox with thousands of messages from desperate men.
In my OkCupid career, I am sure I messaged over 800 potential partners. I tried to be as honest and detailed as I could and although it took hours longer than just messaging a quick “hi” I thought it would show I was actually interested.
However, in the end, I received messages from about 10 people.
Which is pretty pathetic I know but from those 10 people, I went on dates with six of them.
Of those six, three went out with me more than once.
And of those three, I dated one for two months.
It ended because although she was a nice person and cute, I just couldn’t feel any chemistry between us and knew we didn’t match as a couple. It was a tough break (for her more than me) and although I tried to remain friends, she was hurt, bitter and angry so she decided it was best to disappear.
These are all apps that I briefly tried but the big problem was unless you were a paying member, even matching with someone you liked was pointless as you couldn’t send a message for free. I guess paying members might mean more reliable people and chances to have good matches but after spending money on OkCupid and Tinder, I decided the free route was better for me.
Badoo is also like Tinder — but to me, it felt more like a sewer. The people on there seemed to be sketchier, not real; fake accounts and scams seemed to be rampant and I am sorry to say but the profiles on the site just didn’t appeal to my tastes.
So why did all these apps and online dating options fail for me?
Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash
I guess I am older and was dating in a time where people couldn’t block or ignore each other. We had to call people on their home phone and we knew where everyone lived.
We knew their real names, where they hung out, who their friends were. If someone didn’t pick up the phone or get back to us after leaving a message, we could see them at school, work, the mall or just walk over to their house and ring the doorbell.
But now with the anonymous dating apps, names, faces, jobs, homes, and even genders can be hidden or faked. And if you are having a conversation with someone online and you are offended, bored, or just lose interest, you can just block or un-match and the person ceases to exist.
The ease of removing people from your life is so high in online dating that it made me lose all hope in finding someone.
I got frustrated because even women that matched with me wouldn’t message back. Or if they did, they wouldn’t continue conversations or would quickly unmatch if they were busy or bored.
I lost faith in women and started resenting them because their profiles stated things like “must be over 5’7” or “don’t just message me with a ‘hi’”.
Despite pouring my heart out in messages, the reply I got back would be “thanks” or “what’s up”. The hypocrisy stung.
Some women said they wouldn’t message or match anyone without a profile picture but their own profile was a flower or a beach. They said they were looking for funny, kind, and trustworthy guys but only swiped guys who were rich, good looking and tall.
The people I did match with and made plans to meet also ended up being failures despite overcoming the obstacles of matching, messaging, and meeting.
The women I went out with always seemed to have a look of disappointment as we met despite knowing what I looked like, seemed uncomfortable revealing more information about their life or themselves, and often had “complicated” issues with other guys they were seeing.
I started feeling like I would never find someone that would suit me and match my life and personality.
So I decided enough was enough and I would have to find women the old fashioned way. I would have to live my life, go about my day, and hope that she would somehow enter into my life. I wasn’t going to just wait for a special person, but I was going to try to find them in more natural situations like cafes, bars, language exchanges, clubs, sports gyms, etc.
So one day I went through my phone and deleted and uninstalled all my dating apps
And then this is the part of the story when I reveal that after giving up online dating, something amazing happened. The girl of my dreams came into my life and sparks flew. We were cosmically brought together and became a couple.
But this is not a made for Netflix romantic comedy. This is my real life.
Photo by Jairph on Unsplash
I quit all my dating apps so now instead of sitting on the toilet swiping girls, I read articles or uploaded Instagram pics of my weekend. I stopped panicking about girls I have never met checking out my profile and matching with me. I stopped waiting for that girl that matched to actually send me a message.
I started thinking of where I could go on the weekend with my friends where we could have fun and meet new people.
As I said, online dating apps might work for some but for me, they had thrown me into a tornado of hate, self-consciousness, and bitterness.
Now the wind and storm are gone and I am standing in a field hand in hand with a someone I did end up meeting after eight more months of being single.
How did we meet?
We literally saw each other from across a crowded intersection. But that’s a whole other story.
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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