Maybe it’s something in the air. Maybe it’s the glorious British summer weather that reminds us we want to be out, being sociable, languishing in pub gardens and family barbeques with a partner to show off to everyone or at least not to have to be the only single at the party. But it seems to me that the desert of online dating is having a marked effect on some of us.
One day not so long ago, I snapped. It was mostly from not hearing from MG for 3 days over yet another weekend where I had nothing planned. But that was only a part of it and I went through my social media accounts deleting most of the ‘online relationships’ that have been rolling along since I jumped onto the dating carousel. I am bored of texters, the ones who I’ll never meet, the ones I was supposed to meet and failed at that crucial hurdle. It has no substance. There is NOTHING tangible about relationships like this and I am a person who generally keeps their word. I hate being let down. Online relationships don’t require effort, or consideration and they don’t give you a sense of worth, just a temporary ego trip which dies at the first hurdle when you realise they’re just another virtual companion. I do not need people on the end of another texting app. I need human beings. I need touch, taste and to hear someone’s voice.
I am also aggravated because my now (and very much still after two years) ex texts me more than any of my needy little hangers on and he just won’t take the f*****g hint. That day was the day I’d finally had enough. On the Saturday I went on a 12 mile hike away from everyone to try and relieve some of the stress and frustration I was feeling. It helped so I may have to ditch general disappointment in favour of exercise. I’m sad it’s come to that.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that my kind of dating, like any other kind of online dating, can fail to live up to expectation and I know that compared to some I’ve done fairly well. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what that expectation is since online dating isn’t known for its success rate. The odds are against you. Our attitude towards online dating has gone the same way as online shopping. It’s shallow, it’s instant acquisition, it’s instant gratification with minimum effort. It’s not the way to go. Not by a long shot. It’s destined for failure, so why do we persevere and continue to punish ourselves?
We’ve also gravitated towards online dating because of our busy lives, and our decrease in social interaction. We move a lot, we don’t put down roots, we don’t make the effort to socialise with our neighbours and our work colleagues like we used to. We don’t have those friend groups that naturally lead to meeting new people and potential partners. It’s why websites like MeetUp came into being. And it could be a better way to go. I have definitely made some strong friendships through websites like this, where I otherwise would not have met these people at all.
The problem is less about sex. It’s about a craving for communication, for connection, for intimacy on an emotional as well as a physical level. This is what is missing more than anything and that is why the online charade doesn’t work. There is nothing intimate or connecting about a text, or a dick pic, or anything else that some people seem to think passes for a ‘relationship’ these days.
I’m not quite sure what to do next, except go on a lot more hikes. I’m not expecting a miracle. Just people. But I may decide to hit the reset button at some point if things don’t change soon. So I’m going to don my walking boots just a bit more often. After all, you never know who you might meet on those long country walks.