The Eight Stages of Online Dating

online dating

Ah, online dating. If you are single in your twenties these days, either you have tried online dating, have thought about online dating, or been harassed by friends and family members because you aren’t trying online dating. Tinder, OK Cupid, Match, Plenty of Fish (Pof if you’re in the know). The possibilities are endless. If you find yourself single for a significant amount of time, odds are you’ll dabble into online dating a bit.

Be prepared! It’s a dark, scary road. Here are the eight stages you should expect to experience.

1. Avoidance – When you are single, it’s inevitable that people will start suggesting online dating to you. “If you’re single, what else are you doing with your time? How could you not be using every means possible to find a significant other?” But you know better! You’ve seen enough SVU episodes to know how this ends. You don’t want your 15 minutes of fame to come because you were murdered by the guy you met on Plenty of Fish. Besides you have this all figured out. You’ll continue going through your daily routine falling flat on your face every five minutes. Eventually you’ll fall into the arms of a hot stranger. Right?!! That’s what the movies keep telling you will happen!

2. Disbelief – After people suggest you should try online dating, they will no doubt tell you about a success story. It’s usually their sister’s brother’s aunt’s uncle’s dog’s friend who knows someone who knows someone who met her husband online. This online married couple is probably best friends with the married couple who started out as a one night stand. Do these happily married couples who met online really exist? You are highly skeptical.

3. Reluctance – Eventually you cave. Maybe you spend one too many nights in your bed watching Netflix and eating a whole pizza pie by yourself. You think, “It would be nice to order TWO pizza pies and have someone I can be fat with.” So you create an account on Ok Cupid, Plenty of Fish, or one of the other free online dating sites. Match and eHarmony can suck it with their fees!

4. Intrigue – So you finally join the online dating world but still have a lot of doubt. There is no way you’ll actually find someone. Then it happens. You get a message and it’s grammatically correct and actually has some substance. You check out his profile and not only is he cute but he seems relatively normal and intelligent. Could it be? Have you found someone normal and attractive online? After an hour-long deliberation on what to say, which usually involves friends and wine, you message him back.

5. Disgust – By now you’ve gone on a few dates. Mr. Seems Normal and Sends Interesting Messages turned out to be a total bust. Seems that people aren’t always what they appear to be on the Internet. Who knew? If you get one more message from a guy explicitly telling you the things he’d love to do to you, you are going to throw your laptop out the window!

6. Questioning – There will come a point where you start to question who you are as a person. You come to the conclusion that everyone on the online dating site is insane. So, wouldn’t that also make you insane? You think, “OMG, I must be just as crazy as these wackos. There are no normal people on this site, myself included!”

7. Deletion – After your hundredth creepy email, you give up! This whole online dating thing is doing more harm than good. The guys disgust you and then you start feeling disgusting about yourself. This isn’t giving up. This taking back your life. You come to the conclusion that online dating is the worst.

8. Withdrawal – So you delete your account and for a while you are doing fine! You’ll find someone on your own time. You don’t need the Internet to help. But eventually thoughts will start to creep into the back of your mind. “Meeting people in real life is damn near impossible.” “Maybe not EVERYONE on the Internet is crazy. I just need to be more selective in who I talk to.” So you cave once again and join the world of online dating vowing that this time it will be different.

*Spoiler: It’s not different. Be prepared to continuously repeat stages 3-8.



  1. My ex joined AdultFriendFinder WHILE WE WERE STILL TOGETHER to “just see what kind of responses” he’d get. I’m terrified of online dating. I just feel like guys lie enough, so can you imagine what they’re lying about online? But hey, that’s just me. Forever alone….with my pizza.

  2. HAHAHAHA! I went through those 8 stages a couple of months ago. I lasted 4 days online and went on one date with a jaded workaholic who talked about his ex-wife for 3 hours during our fancy 10 course meal. The rest of the guys were also just into hooking up, which I was not looking for. My friends were and are still concerned that I am 27 and still single. And you’re right, you start to feel disgusting about yourself. So after unsuccessfully dabbling in online dating, I’ll just do things the old fashion way and actually meet someone doing the things I love to do. Don’t cave in!!

    1. I’m 28 and I definitely feel that some people are starting to think there is something wrong with me cause I’m still single. It definitely is still better to meet people the traditional way, it just seems to be getting harder and harder.

      1. I was single for three years, my Mum said she still loved me if I was a Lesbian and I didn’t need to worry about it, but would I still consider having Grandbabies… 7 years later this is still the weirdest conversation I have ever had!

      2. I have had people ask me if I were a lesbian. As though people are either in a relationship or they must be gay gay and there is no such thing as being single.

      3. I know right?! Besides if you were a Lesbian then there is no guarantee you wouldn’t still be single. Being a Lesbian does not automatically equal relationship status hahaha.
        From my Mum though I think she was aware I wasn’t even looking for a relationship and my best friend and I were joined at the hip and he is gay and always used to tell me I should give it a go because I was “wasted on men” hahaha. So I think it was her way of saying if I wanted to experiment I didn’t need to worry that my family wouldn’t accept me. Rather nice, but way awkward haha.

  3. Haha oh my stars, I can’t tell you how many times friends/family have tried to get me to try online dating. I mean, something must be wrong with me if I am 27 and still single, right?! Wrong. I am actually quite content being single and fabulous right now (and even if I wasn’t, online dating just scares the beans out of me for some reason). Too many weirdos (and have you seen the show Catfish?! Yeah, no thank you ma’am) 😉

    1. Haha. I’ve seen a few episodes of Catfish and I do have to say the people on that show are on another level. Like one lady believed that some guy was a rapper and started “working” for him or something like that. The rapper would have her order all these things promising that he’d reimburse her and start paying her. Obv, you know how that ended. He wasn’t a rapper and she wound up being in debt.

      Online dating can be entertaining if you do not take it seriously and be smart about it.

    2. That show scared me off dating online, plus a friend of mine showed up to a date with someone she’d been talking to for a few months and he was like 50! Not 25 as per his profile and photos and can I just say… he was no Brad Pitt 50, he was more like Tony Abbott. RUN!

  4. A few years ago when I was in my mid-20s and single, I went on several dates with guys I met online. Most of them were duds (none were like offensively bad), but I actually dated one guy off and on for several months. He was a completely normal 20something guy in a doctoral program and we got along really well and then I moved and started dating someone else, but we’re still friendly even a few years later.

  5. These are so right! Spot on! I actually never ended up going on any dates when I succumbed and created my profile. The guys all ended up being creepy, just. no. Not for me.
    Someone needs to hold singles events called, “Singles party for people who hate dating sites” hahaha.

  6. Dating is crazy these days – and I just don’t get it. I’ve heard so many success stories and so many fail stories from online dating, but man, the fails are BIIIG FAILS.

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