Online dating: Are you done?

So you have matched and harmonized, you have said ok to cupid and swam with plenty of fish, you have tindered and grinded and yet, you are still single. Newsflash: Online dating is a business! A big business!

Do you feel like you are the only single person left in your neighborhood, town, or world? You have friends that met each other in high school, or college, or in their 20’s at work, or through friends. However, you have yet to meet anyone. You are not into the bar scene or you feel too “old” for it, you work a lot so you do not have time to meet people, perhaps you live in a suburban area where it seems as though everyone is married. Of course you turned to online dating, what else would you do? Yet, that does not seem to be working either.   You have been told there are great results, you have seen the ads, and perhaps you have heard of a friend of a friend who met their perfect mate online. (Those things do happen, I honestly have a good friend who found their perfect match online).

You put your profile up and you go on some dates. You constantly see the same profiles. You are not getting any interesting connections and then you get a creepy email from some guy 20 years older than you who lives 2000 miles away, so you hide your profile and you swear off the dating website. You tell everyone you are taking a break; a friend tells you of a really great new dating site you decide to give it a whirl and repeat.

Does any of this sound familiar?

First, it is important to note the people who met each other in high school or college or right after college, that typically happened organically. People met through others or at class or on the job. They had time to get to know each other. They probably shared similar interests or friends. They had some connection other than both being single.

The only connections two people know they have on dating websites, is that at least one of you finds the other attractive and that you are both single (and even that is not always guaranteed). If the attraction is strong enough, we will go on a date ignoring all of the other information that tells us this person is not right for us. If we have a good time we even further ignore all of the things that are wrong because we had fun, we are attracted to them, and they are single. And that my friends, is the recipe for the repeated online dating disasters.

Now, I am not saying you should completely give up on online dating sites; but be honest with yourself about what they are: a really big picture books that you flip through and occasionally read some of the captions.

If you want to meet someone more organically or that you may have similar interests with; expand your social network. Join a club that focuses on a hobby you like, or try some new meet up groups. New is the key word there, if you are already doing some clubs or meet up groups, try some new ones. Expanding your friend circle expands your probability of meeting a potential mate; bring your best business networking game to your dating game. And don’t forget to hang out with your married friends. Your married friends have friends you do not know, and more than likely, they have divorced friends.

And remember: there are more single adult Americans than married adult Americans.

Sarah Stewart, MSW, CPC

Author and Life Coach

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