I can’t blame anyone but myself. I drank the Kool-aid quite willingly. I jumped into the pond thinking I would catch my lobster and swim to the other side. Nope. That dating pool riptide grabbed onto to me and I have been treading water ever since. It seems that online dating is more of a catch and release program!!
Logically, it would seem that online dating should be pretty straightforward! Put up some pictures, fill out a profile, answer some questions and start meeting those matches! I was hoping to get out and find my match with relative ease!
I have come to realize that it doesn’t work that way. In fact, after a few years of experience and a little thinking, it is fairly obvious that online dating is designed to keep people dating. The dating sites don’t want people to get out of the pond. Why would they? If it works, they would cease to exist. They don’t sell relationships; they just sell the HOPE of a relationship.
And their best tool?
The coffee date....or whatever else you do to meet your attractive stranger for the first time.
Well, that's how it is for me anyways. I suspect for others too. Why? Because I’m just a regular human being who, through the magic of online dating, has come across an attractive (to me) female who is single and looking for a long term commitment. (Well that’s perfect! That’s what I’m looking for). So we sit down and chat for a while....and then it happens. Hormones start lighting up, urges start bubbling to the surface and before you know it we are smitten with each other. (This is it....this is the one!! ). Not based on anything concrete at all, just lust and attachment collaborating to screw up my brain enough to make choices and decisions that shouldn’t even be considered at this point.
Does it happen every time? Of course not. Most of the time, the person isn’t really a match at all (another online dating issue!). In some cases, I really question the sanity of the person sipping their latte across from me.... and I’m sure there were times when my sanity was questioned in return!! Every once in a while though, there is a connection and therein lies the problem. The coffee date gets me into a relationship long before I should, with someone I don’t know, preying on my desire to not be alone and my need for companionship. How does that happen?
Since we are “attracted” to each other, we will likely go on a date. Then maybe another date. Now everyone is different, but the odds are pretty good that somewhere between date #2 and date #8...there will be sex involved. We are both lonely!! We’re both adults. We are just looking for affection and to feel close to somebody, and we are “hoping” for a long term relationship.
Now up until this point, I would not likely have introduced this person to any of my family, nor will I have met any of hers. In some cases, I might meet some friends, but not often. We have only been alone together a handful of times and we don’t want to introduce people too soon...because we aren’t sure yet!! But once we have had sex....things change. Suddenly there is something we need to deal with. Monogamy.
Due to our need for monogamy, it’s not very long after the introduction of sex, that the ultimatum presents itself. Are we in, or are we out. Relationship...or nothing....which is it?
So let’s think about this. I met someone for coffee...and we had some chemistry. I have not introduced her to family or friends; I don’t really know a thing about her emotionally, spiritually or financially. I have no idea if she knows how to communicate effectively. I may have a general idea on her life style, but it is limited. Sexually? Well it seems fun so far...but I have no idea what lies a little deeper. Yet here I am...having to decide whether to be in a relationship...or not. All because of the coffee date, combined with lust, attraction and the need to feel close to somebody.
You see....I didn’t see her from across the room and smile when I heard her laugh. I wasn’t given the opportunity to see her interact with others in her own environment. I wasn’t able to get an idea of her style and how she carried herself. I missed the chance to hear her speak and become fascinated about what and how she thinks. That moment was lost when I could see this woman that I hadn’t met yet walking across the room, as I followed her with my eyes trying to figure out how to get the chance to learn more about her. There was no time to get to know one another and develop something more than lust and attachment.
I need these things. I need the progression. I need the development. I need the period of courting and courtship where I get the time and opportunity to learn more about her organically. I want to learn what she thinks and how she thinks. I want to understand that she has truly moved on from her past relationships. I hope to discover her sense of humour, her personality, how she interacts with others, how she flirts and if there is that sparkle in her eyes when she looks at me...and when we interact.
I think we all need these things.
A long time ago, we got those opportunities. There was nobody online, no cell phones. We met people by going out and doing things. We would meet at the community hall, at a dance, at church, at the local burger joint, or a night club. It took time to get to know someone, to just get their phone number, to learn more about them and to be attracted to the whole person, not just an image and a self written profile that may or may not be even close to accurate.
These opportunities just don’t exist anymore. We need to start creating them.
That is why "A Conscious Partner" was born. We are going to do our part by creating workshops where people can come out to work on themselves. A place where people can interact organically and talk about real things with real people. Maybe...hopefully, they will see someone special across the room, and hear them laugh....and start wondering.......