Maybe It’s Time To Go On A Digital Dating Diet

 

shutterstock_243839119“Enough!” said a friend recently who had it with online dating. She was fed-up, burned out, and ready to breakup. It’s too much work, with little return, she complained. In protest, she was going to delete all her dating apps and join a nunnery.

She’s no nun, but she does have a point. Digital dating IS a lot of work. All that searching, swiping, typing, texting, winking, liking, browsing and chatting is practically a full-time job. Add in the lack of follow up from potential dates, and you can see why my friend is frustrated.

Online dating is a giant time suck. A recent survey from online magazine The Week found that online daters spend an average of two hours a day on their mobile dating apps. That’s two hours of having your head down in your phone every day. My neck is killing me just thinking about it.

And then there’s the issue of “ghosting,” that online dating practice most used by cowards who disappear into thin air after making contact. Don’t they know it’s shitty dating etiquette to leave someone hanging?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-technology; in fact, I think technology is the greatest thing to ever happen to dating. So many apps, so many options! Swipe right or right click and you can find lasting love, or a quick hookup if you’re bored and horny.

Just in case you haven’t been introduced, there’s Tinder, a location-based dating app that matches up strangers; Hinge, a mobile app that accesses friends of friends on Facebook; Bumble, the app where chicks are in control; and The League, a dating app for elitists. And let’s not forget old standbys Match, J-Date, PlentyOfFish and OkCupid, which also have apps.

There’s a lot to love about digital dating: it can build your confidence, boost your ego, keep you busy, and get you back in the game if you’re newly single. I went back online after every breakup and I found it good therapy.

Thanks to technology I met my husband on Facebook, so I’m not complaining!

But digital dating isn’t everything. When you rely too heavily on your phone to play matchmaker or when your computer becomes your sole source of social contact, you’ve got problems.

Your dating life shouldn’t exist on a screen.

That’s why I suggest going on a digital dating diet. It’s not a breakup, and it’s not forever, it’s just a way to add balance and quality into your dating menu.

Diets are horrible and I hate them, but this one’s different. It will free you. You’ll feel lighter, less stressed, more liberated, and your neck will thank you. Here’s how to get started:

PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN, PICK YOUR HEAD UP, AND LOOK AROUND!

I guarantee you will see just as many dating options in front of your face as you do online, except these options are real walking, talking people, not profile pictures and usernames. You can see for yourself if they’re really that old, that out of shape, or that good looking!

The League dating app says it aims to “make offline cool again.” Excuse me, but when was being offline ever uncool? The last time I checked, meeting people the old-fashioned way, FACE-TO-FACE was preferred, not passé.

But just in case you’ve forgotten how to go offline, here are some suggestions:

A local coffee house

The grocery store

The putting green at a public golf course

The gym

The subway (not in L.A. yet, but we’re getting there)

A yoga studio

Hobbies and classes

Jury duty

One of the best places to meet people is volunteering. You can hook up while you change the world!

These places may not be fancy or sexy, but that’s the point. They’re opportunities to meet people that don’t exist on a screen. You don’t need to boot up, log on, or check in. All you have to do is make eye contact and smile. It’s like swiping in real life.

If you can think of dating apps and sites as a supplement, not as your entire subsistence, you might actually free yourself up to make a real connection– that is, if you can look up from your phone long enough.

So good luck with your digital diet, and don’t worry: if you get too bored and horny, relief is always a swipe away.

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The Agony And The Ecstasy: Memories Of Online Dating

shutterstock_242614333Before I got married, I had a love/hate relationship with online dating.

JDate and I had a torrid romance, an on-again, off-again love affair, filled with highs and lows, starts and stops, and plenty of hits and misses. There was never a dull moment for me and JDate; we broke up a million times, but somehow managed to always kiss and make up until I finally kissed it off for good.

Whether you’re on JDate, Match, OkCupid, Bumble, etc., most of you already know internet dating can be fantastic place to meet new people, make new friends, find true love, lift your spirits, boost your ego, or get laid.

Or, it can be living hell if you let it.

Dating online is a lot like a real relationship: when it works out, it’s great, but when it doesn’t, you hate its guts.

So how do you stay in love with internet dating? First, keep reasonable expectations so that you’re never disappointed. Second, don’t take it too seriously. If you don’t roll with the punches, you’ll go from dater to hater faster than a left-swipe on a Tinder dating app.

Looking back, JDate and I had some great times together. We had lots of conversation, coffees, and cocktails, but nothing that involved a real meal since that was too much of a commitment.

Most of my dates were “one and done.” Some lasted longer; some became good friends; and some I think back on and laugh (which is what you need to do with internet dating).

Like the E.R. doctor-turned-actor (always a red flag), who actually lasted for three months – practically a lifetime in the world of online dating. I can laugh about it now, but at the time, it wasn’t so funny.

After weeks of dating and courtship, and spending Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine, he dumped me on New Year’s Eve. Just like that, with no heads-up, no warning, nothing. His reason? He said I was the “marrying type.” He felt bad dating me since he wanted to have fun and I was holding him back.

His timing may have sucked, but at least he wasn’t lying. I saw him back on JDate trolling for more “non-marrying” types the very next day.

There is a fair degree of lying online, I’m sorry to say. Typically, the online dater is 10 years older, 20lbs. heavier, or a few inches shorter than what’s on their profile.

I realized this early on in my online dating foray when I arranged to meet someone for drinks at a popular bar on the ground floor of an office building. It was crowded with after-work business types. Going on my date’s profile picture, I scanned the place but couldn’t see him.

Minutes later, a much older fellow who had been practically right in front of me the whole time, introduced himself. It was my date, but he looked nothing like his profile picture. In fact, he kind of looked like my grandpa.

Not that older men aren’t attractive, they are. So are bald men, short men and chubby men. The problem is that some men (and a lot of women too) feel the need to misrepresent themselves online and don’t have to.

You know what’s attractive? HONESTY.

Sometimes though, they’re not older or heavier or shorter, they’re just jerks – like the aforementioned doctor-turned-actor, and others of his ilk who think internet dating excuses them from bad etiquette.

I remember my very first online date showed up 40 minutes late, without an apology, wearing a bad toupee, and carrying no money on him. The actual “date” last 20 minutes. And when the check came, he laughed glibly and said he “forgot his wallet.” So I paid for my wine (which I was going to do anyway) and beat a gracious, yet hasty retreat.

Then there are the guys online whom you suspect are still married or juggling multiple women. How do you know? Because they text too much. They text all the time, at all hours, and will not pick up the phone to save their life. In lieu of texting, they often times show up on social media to say hi or compliment your new profile pic. Guys like that also use their kids, their jobs, or travel schedule to get out of having to actually speak.

NOTE TO THE LADIES: If you meet a guy online and he prefers to TEXT AND NOT TALK, do yourself a favor and RUN DON’T WALK.

After being on-again, off-again too many times with online dating, I finally called it quits. We broke up for good and went our separate ways. There’d be no more winks, flirts, chemistry tests, or e-cards of any kind. Instead, I threw in the towel, and gave it up to the universe to find the man of my dreams.

And when I wasn’t looking and least expected it, he appeared on Facebook of all places–quite possibly the greatest online dating site of them all.