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.