Online Dating gets a lot of hard opinions. It’s superficial, the possibilities for dishonesty are endless, it’s not real, it’s cowardly, etc etc.
All that is true. There are a lot of dishonest people on the internet, particularly on dating sites, trying to take advantage of love-desperate people. Certainly nearly everybody puts only their best photos online, meaning that the first real life date can be quite a surprise. And yes, when deciding whether a person is interesting or not, there are only photos and claimed interests and basic data to go by. And I agree, writing a quick little message to a photo on a screen (or ten) is way less intimidating than actually walking up to a real person and talking to them.
I think online dating is a great thing. Not because I’m too frightened to get out and talk to people, or need to use fake photos to seem interesting. I have been on one site for a year now, with a break of a few months. It’s one of the free sites, not a professional expensive high profile one. I don’t believe in those.
Anyway, I have had some interesting experiences with people on that site.
One of them being that I because proficient in the language of the country I live in, finally. This is also the reason I am online again – I am trying to get proficient at Mr D’s language. Another, positive point is that I got some insight in the dating behaviour of the people around me. I have got to know the huge differences between dating men this side and the other side of the closest border. I have also chatted with people who really don’t care a bit, who just want their sex drive satisfied – and others who selfishly depend upon having an emotional relationship with just about anybody. I have spoken to frustrated people, and to unfriendly people, to rude people and to people who just don’t know any better. And, I have spoken to a few interesting people. I could do all that without having to spend evenings out, which I don’t really enjoy doing much. And I have been able to learn from all these people, without having to spend real time with them – there are many I enjoyed talking to, but would not have made the effort of meeting up with. I learned to tell within a few sentences whether this was an interesting person (man or woman!) or not, and don’t feel that I wasted any time there.
Anyway, I am drifting off.
What I was going to describe is the way Mr D and I got to know each other – via that same shady dating site, and why I couldn’t have wished for anything better.
Mr D appeared on my “radar” because he seemed interesting, and because one of his interests was “arty”. His first message was also – unique – and caught my immediate attention. But after a bit of the usual “what do you do, where are you from, how old are the kids etc”, we went to messaging with pictures – he had this way of showing me bits of himself, without filters. Glimpses of himself with his kid, at home, dressed to the nines, dressed normally, paintings of his, his home, just… everything. And I was sharing in a similar dimension. We decided pretty quickly that we felt attracted to one another and went to talking on the phone. We were both a bit shy to start with, but eased into talking and spent an hour on the phone that first night – basically still two strangers, but feeling very connected nevertheless.
And from then on, we were moving forward.
We were connecting through messages, pictures of current life situations and phone calls. I had no idea what he felt like, what he smelled like, or what his personal aura felt like. At the same time, I was getting to know his personality, his ideas about life, his humour, his moods and attitude, his interests and passions, and his voice, and I was falling in love with all these things. I feel now that this was the best way possible, as there was no way to be blitzed by pheromones, touch or other animal senses. We were able to talk about our expectations, how we view relationships, jealousy, commitment etc without immediate desire, but instead with honest interest for the person at the other end.
All this lead up to both of us feeling very sure about wanting to meet in person. The main questions of personality we were able to clarify very easily and early on, so that when we did meet, it felt like adding a new dimension to the person we already knew.
What did strike me was that after talking and messaging so much, it wasn’t until we met that all the information and glimpses I had of him actually fell into place. It was as if all the bits and pieces were finally coming together and made more sense than ever. I liked the full picture very much – and fell in love with the whole person at last.
Therefore, I think online dating has a huge potential, especially for people like me who don’t spend much time hanging around in bars and late night events – if only one can learn to distinguish the interesting people from the scammers.