It was a Sunday. I woke up, grabbed my cell phone, started swiping… and got only three options. Crap! I buried my phone under the blankets. My day was ruined. “Nobody wants me.” “Why does Jessica get so many dates and I get none?” “I’m going to be alone forever!” I wondered if my time on dating apps had expired – if I had expired. I moved the cat, unburied my phone, brushed away some cookie crumbs, and started swiping again… This time I threw the phone across the room. Maybe it was time to step away from online dating for a bit.
I’d been online dating for, dare I say, over seven years, first jumping on when my husband ran off with another woman. I’ll show him! I’ll find myself a new husband! I didn’t. Instead, I got my heart broken again, by a man I met on Bumble, who dumped me for a woman he didn’t meet on Bumble. And so began my long and sometimes tragic journey into the world of online dating.
I was a hot mess. I didn’t recognize the hopeless women staring back at me in the mirror. And all I wanted to do was check my phone to see if, in the last five minutes, Bradley Cooper had decided to go on Match. He didn’t. Instead, my cat vomited on my bathroom rug. It was then that I had that climactic, filmic epiphany and realized: Online dating was ruining my life. It was time. Time for a man-cation. Time for man-on-pause. Time to step away from swiping.
60 percent of those surveyed report having met their significant other online within six months; 76 percent within a year. But for those who don’t, online dating can become a bad habit, a negative course of action, even an addiction. Consider the following when you are feeling more yuck than yum, and reassess if online is right for you. If it isn’t, DELETE!
Revenge! It’s all I thought of when my heart cracked in two. “I’ll find another man and rub it in his face.” But when I couldn’t, I began to feel a gut-wrenching loneliness that only made me feel worse. In truth, many of us aren’t comfortable being single so we never are – regardless of the fallout.
I suggest giving single a try. You most likely will find that the peace and self-awareness that independence can bring overtakes the drama and pain of a sad heart. When I discovered I could spend an awesome evening with a yummy face mask, my pajamas, and a Bradley Cooper movie, I realized I was having much more fun than having dinner with a Tinder date who bored me, or ate with his mouth open. No thank you. I’ve got Bradley Cooper and Ben and Jerry and that’s just fine.
Have you and your precious time ever been out with a friend that incessantly scrolls her Bumble feed as opposed to looking you in eye? Online dating can be addictive. It can become a muscle reflex that gets us caught in a compulsive cycle of analysis; a preoccupation that can lead to a loss of perspective. “Why didn’t he write a longer text?” “What does the ‘hang loose’ emoticon mean?” “He didn’t respond. What’s wrong with me?” And just like any addiction, this can cause depression and anxiety. Put the phone down, girlfriend. Take a break.
When you keep seeing the same men over and over. When you feel a sense of dread at the thought of another date filled with small talk, awkward silences and calories you don’t need. When you find yourself thinking, “These are three hours I will never get back. I wonder what’s on Netflix tonight,” a negative attitude can emerge that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Delete!
We ask ourselves why it is that we’ve been online dating for so long and still haven’t found anyone meaningful. And we can turn against ourselves. Don’t! Let’s face it, the older we get, the less men there are on the planet. Further, men in mid-life crisis tend to put younger women on their age parameters. The few remaining men, with enough depth of character to seek age appropriate women, tend to get snatched up by those gals who are obsessing and incessantly swiping. While online dating is impersonal at best, some of us take a lack of success personally. But when we rely on success in dating, or on men in general for our self-esteem, we are going to feel the fallout when it doesn’t work.This lack of self-esteem, this insecurity could derail us from other roads to joy.
Please remember: You are gorgeous, smart, compassionate and funny. Bradley Cooper would date you in a heartbeat. Run, don’t walk, away from the apps!
With online dating so easy, offering a bounty of men to choose from, many of us have gotten lazy. We’ve fallen into the habit of swiping, and miss that magic moment where we could meet someone special in person – like way back in the good ol’ days of Duran Duran and flip phones. Too many of us spend our time looking down, not noticing Mr. Right when he’s standing right in front of us.
Take a look around. In person. Try Meetups – where you can learn how to salsa dance or make your own sushi. Or classes – where you can learn how to write that screenplay you’ve always wanted to write. Or workshops, from making pasta to planting succulents. In these situations, not only will you have fun but you will meet like-minded people, and those people will know other people who may know other people who know the man of your dreams… if you haven’t already met him in the pasta making workshop.
In truth, online dating has been the least successful way for me to date – for all the above reasons. And when I stopped, I felt a positive shift – a change in myself for the better. I felt relief. Have faith in the stars. Reprogram your brain. Reassess what’s really important. Put down your phone. Look up. Look out. Take a step away from online dating, and you just might find the man of your dreams. You might just find, yes, Bradley Cooper.