OkCupid. It’s a fine online-dating service. Free. Not sketchy, unless you’re meeting someone “normal” and then he tells you he can’t drive and “hey, can you pick me up?” and “sure” and then you find out he has gangrene in his leg that prevents him from driving. The gangrene is no problem – the sketchy lie and inability to think outside-the-box (Uber much?) are.
One of the questions on OKC – you answer a series of questions to determine how much of a match you are with other daters – has interested me of late.
“What makes for a better relationship: passion or dedication?”
I know enough about lasting relationships to believe dedication is the answer.
Could the issue be that people view passion as an all/nothing thing? Just like gender, passion operates on a sliding scale. Sometimes you will be attracted to your partner. Other times you won’t. It’s in those moments that dedication takes over – and you find the passion again.
Sometimes I wonder if other daters (men) think that “dedication” is an unsexy answer. I’ve never seen a guy answer “dedication.” I get it. It’s scary to think about getting stuck in a sexless relationship/marriage. Even girls don’t got time for dat. Maybe guys are answering based on girls’ perceptions. I guess if I saw a “dedication” answer I might think the guy was a bit feminine too.
If you believe recent studies – and Kate Hudson – monogamy is not a natural state for human beings. We can talk nation states, institutions and power vehicles that impose monogamy upon us, but that’s not the point. If you want to be in a monogamous relationship, know it will take work. Sometimes it’s ugly. If you’re looking for the happily-ever-after, you have to trudge through the unhappily-forabit-after. But did you know – men who help out around the house are found more desirable by their female mates? A prime example that demonstrates dedication can lead to passion, maybe a hotter passion than before.
When I read about Tinder late last year, I sulked. (Admittedly dramatic.) Another app where the hook-up culture finds willing participants in its game. Tinder isn’t made for me, I thought. I projected how I felt about myself as a dater unto the reputation of the app and decided I was, once again, left out of the party.
But after downloading the app and using it for four months, it’s been the best dating tool I’ve used, even in looking for a long-term mate. Here’s why.
When I was 26 and on eHarmony, I put my geographical distance for matches at a solid 60 miles from my location. You start to re-think those decisions as you get older. I changed my eHarmony match parameters today – I am matching with anyone located in the 48 contiguous states (plus Hawaii and Alaska), who has also requested those parameters.
As I get older, I find that finding that important person has become, important. I’ve never told myself I wouldn’t relocate for love, but I haven’t been open to it. The thing is – taking a look at why we might not be open to relocating is important to figuring out where to go from there.
Deep, deep, deep (you have to dig really really deeply) down, I love Los Angeles. There is a busyness and hectic feeling to the city I don’t know if I could keep up with as I get older, and certainly money and the want for a house will become problems at some point, but my unwillingness to relocate does beg the question: do I truly believe I’m ready to meet my mate? If I knew 100% that I would meet the person I will eventually marry in a particular city in the next year, would I move? I *think* so.
I don’t see myself living in LA for the rest of my life. I can work in any city. I would prefer to live in a moderate climate, but I think I could acclimate to one not-so-moderate. So, why stay? Particularly when it feels like time is running out? Is a fairweather lover – in the form of a metropolis – a good enough reason to stay put during years that could become do-or-die?
On the one hand, wherever you go, there you are. Would Portland – a friendly utopia even for conservatives (I think?) – offer a better singles’ scene? Austin? Is it me I need to be working on? Isn’t the happiest version of me going to effortlessly fall into a relationship and maybe I just haven’t finished sculpting myself in that direction yet?
I don’t think we need to know the answers, and I think the answers change for us. A lot. Changing my parameters on eHarmony demonstrated a shift. It means I’m in a new spot, and I have new internal ground to excavate surrounding my perceptions and stigmas around relationships. I’m not the same dater I was at 26. Just looking at areas of improvement allows them to take hold in our minds; we can act/not act in accordance with them when we have further information that will allow us to move in the best direction for each of us.
Maybe, darnit, I’m really not ready.
I recently received the following message from an individual interested in me based on my profile on the popular online-dating vehicle okcupid. While I typically let such inquiries go, I felt it necessary to respond to this individual, as based on his message he seemed quite eager to hit the ground running.
Having been on 60-70 dates as result of online-dating hijinks, I consider myself somewhat of a craftsman of the online-dating game. I’ve done the “serious” sites – eHarmony – and the not-so-serious (Plenty of Fish, now endearingly abbreviated as PoF). I’ve met some awesome people and learned a lot, and I even met someone on PoF I have dated on-and-off for 5 years. (Let’s ignore the fact that this could be deemed “dysfunctional.”)
I definitely think the positives outweigh the negatives in online dating, but that’s not to say there isn’t weird, weird stuff that goes on. In celebration of my recent foray back into the online-dating world, here are a few tips for the men on the “less serious” sites who are wondering why girls aren’t responding to their messages.
“You’re a borderline compulsive liar.”
The words I heard last night whilst texting with the person I have been thinking of for months. The first words I thought of when I woke up this morning.
Somewhat out of the blue, the guy I dated over the summer – the one I thought I was in love with, texted me last night, willing to engage in more than the pleasantries we had awkwardly exchanged over the past few months. Somehow (doesn’t this always happen?), we got on the subject of singlehood. And loneliness. I mentioned that married couples could be lonely and bored too.
His response: “You’re married now, eh?”
“Yes! 15 days!” I responded, and I followed-up with a pic of my unadorned left hand indicating I was, in fact, not married.
What I got from his subsequent texts: this, among other similar behavior, makes me somewhat of a liar. It’s not intentional lying – and I’m not trying to hurt anyone, but I am exhausting. He has to decipher everything I say, figuring out if it’s a trick or a joke. Ultimately, he said I operate with “too much sarcasm/opposite/dry humor.”
I was floored. The texts were so jarring I felt like I was talking with a completely different human being. An all-out angry one. This was not the charming, kind person I had met in May. This was not the guy who brought me flowers and a Bluetooth, because he was concerned about me driving without one. What IN THE HECK happened?
I have an index card with an affirmation/inspirational quote on my wall. In my faded handwriting, it reads: “We find what we expect to find, and we receive what we ask for.”
There really is no ultimate answer as to “why” he and I expected what we expected from the other, but we did have expectations, and because of them, we conjured up two completely different people from the ones we actually are. Perhaps because of his past and nature, he expected that I would let him down. That I would act erratically. He reacted accordingly, viewing my texts through those filtered glasses. I did the same – putting on my he-is-charming glasses, assuming I did something wrong when he said things contrary to his always-charming nature. And I assumed or even expected that I wasn’t enough.
I don’t believe I am a compulsive liar, and I’m not sure there is anything I can say or do that will change his mind. I don’t think he is a bad person – he’s an individual, like the rest of us, doing the best with what he has. But I am too, and what I do with the knowledge of how I expect I am (wrong, good, bad, doing my best) and how I treat myself from here on out, is up to me.
I’ve never been in love. At least I don’t think.