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7 Reasons Why Online Dating is the Actual Worst

I should start off by saying that I’ve found dating in general to be relatively crappy. Getting to know someone can be exciting, but also incredibly taxing. It requires constantly staying on your toes and reining in some of those qualities about yourself that might be a little too eccentric for someone to accept at first.

But online dating?

Well, that comes with its whole own set of challenges, doesn’t it?

Let’s be honest here. It all starts with the shiny commercials that promise true love while featuring nauseatingly normal people who have found their match floating around in the interwebs. Doting couples with bright smiles are a dime a dozen in this world. And yeah, the whole thing seems a little bit too good to be true, but what have you got to lose, right?

I signed up for eHarmony shortly after my 22nd birthday. I was still in college, swimming in a sea of available guys, none of whom seemed remotely interested in anything beyond a hookup. After a nudge from an older friend who married her online match, I coughed up a few bucks after I migrated to LA temporarily. It was perfect timing, really. Plenty of people to choose from, none of whom I actually had to see again after I went back home.

I only met two men in person before I nixed my account. But upon moving back to LA, I decided to give Match a try, when I remembered why I actually hated the whole ordeal in the first place:

1. Judgey McJudgerson Friends

I’ve been lucky that the majority of my friends have been supportive in my endeavor, but I have stumbled upon a couple who gave me the ole skeptical lift of the brow and disapproving, pursed-lips hum. You know the ones I’m talking about.

“You’re young. You’ve got plenty of time. What the hell are you doing on an online dating site? You look desperate.”

Well, I’m almost 23 and I’ve only had one boyfriend. So, you do the math.

Kidding (mostly). But seriously. Why is there this stigma attached that a woman (or a man) must be desperate to resort to a dating service? I’m just looking for a nice guy with similar interests. Can I help it if I can’t find him on my own? Seriously.

2. What Looks Good On Paper Falls Flat IRL

He’s the guy of your dreams! Funny, romantic, passionate. What more could you want? Imagine your surprise when his idea of funny is actually a bad Adam Sandler movie and his passion lies in excel spreadsheets (I’m not even kidding. I once dated a guy who compared spreadsheets to an artist’s canvas).

And so many people (myself included) are better with the written word than conversation. So how do you really know if you’re gonna get stuck with a dud?

3. Those Creepy Old Guys

He’s 50. Divorced with three kids. And “Hey, age ain’t nothin’ but a number, baby.”

Um. No. Unless of course, you’re George Clooney. In which case, let’s talk.

(Honorable mention goes to those creepy smarmy guys who pretty much pay for a sex service).

4. There’s Actually No Polite Way of Admitting That You’re Shallow

I can’t lie. I’ve clicked away on several occasions without actually reading a profile, based solely on what a guy looks like. And yeah, when it comes down to it, personality comes first. Who wants to date someone you have nothing in common with (especially when you’re a film and television buff like me and people just don’t always get you)? But attraction is important, too.

So let me just lay it out on the table right now and get it out in the open. If you’re shorter than me and your hair’s longer than mine, then this relationship is over before it even got started.

5. The System Kinda Sucks

Look, I know dating isn’t an exact science, particularly because men and women are attracted to so many different types of people. Person A might be looking for someone the total opposite of them, whereas Person B might want a carbon copy of themselves (okay, I don’t actually know anyone quite like that, but they must exist somewhere, don’t they?).

Still. You’d think eHarmony would know better than to ‘match’ me with a guy who’s completely disinterested in all things entertainment and loves to analyze spreadsheets. Like, I didn’t spend hours (okay, 15 minutes) filling out those personality profiles for nothin’.

Well. For more than a free dinner, anyway.

6. It’s Hard to Stand Out

No wonder jerks like me are only checking out your photos when everyone’s profile sounds the same. I once connected with a guy who created a sarcastic page just to get a little attention. And I respected him so much more for it.

Assuming anyone actually made it to the part where he admitted to joking (does anyone actually hate puppies?), I’m sure he received a lot of responses.

7. No One Really Looks Like Their Best Selfie

Do I ever look like this? Rarely.

There’s a filter for everything these days. And you don’t need to be a Photoshop genius to nip a little here or tuck a little there. Blame it on the lighting, make-up, the flash. But things are looking a lot bleaker in the harsh light of day.

Olivia Rowe is an Ithaca College alum who recently schlepped cross-country to the City of Angels to make her screenwriting dreams a reality. You can usually catch her procrastinating via feminist rants on Facebook or sometimes-witty entertainment commentary on Twitter (@OliviaJRowe). Olivia’s also an aspiring novelist, television critic and VP to future Madame President Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Featured image via Shutterstock

  • Lenee Pulver

    Fantastic!! After several failed attempt at online dating I gave up and then serendipity struck and I fell in like with my brothers bff. Online dating really is just the worst. I think your selfish is totes adorbs and i’m sure u r irl. Thanks for the great read!!

    • Olivia Rowe

      Haha. Thank you! Ironically, I’m actually dating someone I met online. Guess it can’t all be bad! Glad you’ve found someone. :)

  • Jill Domin

    You’re absolutely right! I spent a couple of months this summer online dating and the majority of the guys looked nothing like their pics and were looking more for sex than a relationship (though their profiles stating they were looking for the latter). On an okay date with an okay guy, it hit me, “Why am I wasting my time when I’m not even enjoying myself and after so many mediocre dates, am I going through this?”. After I stopped the online dating, the date stress and anxiety went away. I honestly don’t miss it and am actually happier on my own.

  • Bee Rachael Greenberg

    I met a great guy online but it took a LONG time of sorting through the usual cadre of unsolicited dick pics, creepy old men, lame sexual come-ons, and totally out of left field fetishes (on OkCupid, for instance, a guy messaged me asking if he could pay me to clean my house–naked. In hindsight, maybe I should’ve said yes?). People definitely don’t approach conversation online the way they would in person. When was the last time someone went up to you in reality and asked you what color your underwear is? I rest my case.

    • Olivia Rowe

      Yes, exactly! I met someone a couple of months ago and it’s going great, but it feels like it took so much effort to even find him.

  • Jessica Navarro

    You’re right about online dating. I met one girl who thought we were exclusive after one text message conversation. I kept asking this girl let’s meet up for a date but she never wanted to. Then I went on one date/meet up to this day, I don’t know what the hell it was. She seemed cool but it fell flat. Ironically a few days later, I met and started to talking to my girlfriend. My girlfriend and I talked for a year, then met up for a date. Where did I met this girl online? But not through a dating website. haha. We since have gone on a real date, she has met my parents, and now it’s going really well.

  • Anne Castillo

    I was once a frequent visitor to a two or three dating sites for a long time…just checking and see if I can meet someone I’ll be interested or vice versa…but…nada…too perfect or too creepy! lol…decided to quit and just concentrate on my twitter friends while in the boring office…but then…I gave one last try for the last time, I met this one incredible guy…I fell inlove! and now we’re near to one happy year :) it can work for someone, or not…there’s no harm in trying. Different lives, different fates. Find yours 😀

  • Tessa Randolph

    Not only did I meet/marry someone I met online, but so did my sister and mom. Plus a few others. I know everyone has a different experience but I always suggest people keep an open mind and give it a try (maybe a few different times). I signed up and went on a few dates with an Ok guy, but cancelled after one month, a few months after I decided to try again and I had a message waiting from my now husband. We have been married over a year and extremely happy. I’m extremely thankful for online dating.

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