April 11, 2012 10:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm a finicky dater. Should I give up on online dating?

I've recently moved back to my large, metropolitan city after a year away. A few months ago, I put up an OkCupid profile in the interest of meeting people both for dating and general socializing (if the occasion should somehow arise!).. I've used the profile before without success for brief periods in the past. One of the main reasons I put it up again was due to my now depleted, post-college social options -- I thought dating would be a good way to meet new people, since friendships seem less and less likely a source for introducing me to potential partners.

I've been on quite a few dates, and they all go like this:

(1) Plan is made to meet for drinks/coffee. Yay! Being social! But oh no, I am not super excited about the person in question.
(2) Drinks/coffee happens, fine conversation is had, things are neither terrible nor sparky. The person seems like he could probably be a friend. Socializing is okay! But oh no, I am not intrigued and am having zero positive thoughts about even potentially kissing this person.
(3) We say goodbye and hug. I go home and feel happy to be home.
(4) Guy (usually) asks me out again. I feel deeply guilty as I probably over-kindly explain that I would rather not go out again.

This is how literally every single OkCupid date has gone. I have even asked out some people I think I might be attracted to, which leaves me feeling even worse when I turn them down for a second date after having felt nothing. In the past, I would go on several dates, but I eventually learned that the first date was a good indicator of how I would feel later on. I need at least curiosity or a sense of intrigue.

It has begun to occur to me that maybe I require the safety and charm of ambiguous male-female social interaction, however frustrating it can be. I don't think I've ever gone on a true-to-form verifiable date that's been successful without either knowing the person beforehand or already being in a relationship with them.

Being an introvert and an all-around over-sensitive person means the whole process is a lot more draining than it should probably be. I feel nervous before a date, mildly uncomfortable during when I realize I'm not attracted to the person, and sad afterward when I turn them down without having what could be considered a very good reason.

It might also be good to note that I've always been very selective when it comes to men, with the guys I choose (a decently varied group) both being mysterious/unpredictable in terms of physical attractiveness and making me feel comfortable and trusting. They're probably not people who would stand out that much in a crowd -- but I like them, for my strange, finicky reasons.

Finally, a few other notes: I'm not necessarily very physically reserved as a rule, so I don't think fear of intimacy is really an issue. While I'm extremely physically aloof with anyone I'm not very attracted to, with those I am, I don't wait all that long to commence with the sexytimes.

So, all that out of the way -- am I totally doomed with this online dating business? Has anyone with similar dating habits/experiences found luck with OkCupid? If not, how did you find luck? Is there a better way of finding potential matches that gels more with my personality?

(Last note: not sure if this matters or not, but I wouldn't really call myself "lonely" at the moment. So there isn't a sense of urgency behind this... I just think a companion could be fun, and a crush would be just stellar.)
posted by aintthattheway to Human Relations (38 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh! I should also say, since it isn't really obvious here, that I don't go out with everyone who messages me. I only go on dates with people I think I might be attracted to.
posted by aintthattheway at 10:30 PM on April 11, 2012

making me feel comfortable and trusting

If this is something you want from a guy from the get-go then dating within your extended circle of friends might be a better idea. Some stranger you meet online is basically by definition not going to be someone you trust yet, no?
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:33 PM on April 11, 2012

Date within your profession (via online). To me, it provides that basic trust level, for some reason, and a jumping off point for conversations about more than the weather.
posted by Pomo at 10:37 PM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

My sense is, ditch the online business and try to meet people in the real world. All the appropriate social cues and attractiveness information are RIGHT THERE. Definately feeling ya with the online awkwardness, I'm actively trying to expand my social circle right now.
posted by Captain Chesapeake at 10:44 PM on April 11, 2012

Don't worry about it. Casually maintain your profile. Live your life.
posted by jander03 at 10:53 PM on April 11, 2012

Plan is made to meet for drinks/coffee... But oh no, I am not super excited about the person in question.

Be more selective, and only go on dates that make you excited.
posted by eddydamascene at 10:57 PM on April 11, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: making me feel comfortable and trusting

This line really jumped out at me, as well. Especially for women, online dating can feel like...well, like a literal marketplace, with all of the icky connotations behind that. And especially when men take it as such, and even appreciate it as such...it can feel mercantile in a way that is death to the female libido. I would bet a not-insignfigant sum that's the source of this feeling of stagnation and lack of trust- it's kind of a holding pattern where he might be sitting there, waiting for you to say yes or no, and you feel like you're implicitly agreeing to participate in that kind of thing (which is also the source of the guilt you feel turning them down, I'd reckon) I mean, all dating can of course feel that way with the wrong guy in the wrong situation, but online dating especially breeds this particular strain of ickiness.

I don't really have a surefire easy solution for you, but I think there is a minority of guys out there who are genuinely good types who have thought about this very issue and actively work to make you more comfortable even in the medium of online dating- you just haven't run into them yet. And yes, they are sadly a minority.You can keep trying online, or date in the real world, but maybe just being able to articulate to yourself the source of the icky feeling (besides "I'm too picky") can help you move forward.
posted by quincunx at 10:57 PM on April 11, 2012 [11 favorites]

Plan is made to meet for drinks/coffee... But oh no, I am not super excited about the person in question.

Assuming 'not super excited' means 'I don't think I'll be interested in them after meeting' then you don't go on a date with them. Be more selective.

feeling even worse when I turn them down

You don't need to feel bad. This is how online dating works. If you didn't click with them, you're doing right by yourself and them by not wasting their time with another date. They can go on to one of the hundreds of other matches, and you can too.
posted by zippy at 11:25 PM on April 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: What you wrote about both your personality and experiences pretty much describes mine exactly. And I've kind of come to my own conclusion that online dating is not really a good fit for me. Sometimes people say it's just another platform for meeting others, and in a way it is, but it is also different from every other way of meeting potential dates in that you have to decide whether you want to go out with them before you meet them in person. To me, it feels pretty unnatural and uncomfortable, and I've tried it a fair bit. So I think it's perfectly fine to say that online dating is not for you.

I think it'd be good for you to focus on other methods of meeting single people. This is what I am currently trying to do. I've been focusing more on my social life, organizing activities with people I know, like group outings to dinners and movies. I've been emailing friends and acquaintances and I try to get a group together most weekends (I'm lucky to live in a university community where it's rather convenient to get people together). I really enjoy this because it takes the pressure off of "dating", while I can still spend time with guys and get to know them. I also don't like feeling pressured to accept or reject someone after a coffee date, or whatever.

Good luck, you are not alone!
posted by bearette at 11:35 PM on April 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

If you're only looking for dates from one source, and you're unhappy with the types of dates you've been finding that way, maybe you need to mix it up.

On the other hand, online dating is really a crap shoot. The odds of you clicking with someone on what is basically a blind date are really low. So check your expectations. The matching algorithms are basically useless.

It all depends on how you "use" online dating. If you think of it as an expert matchmaking service, you'll be disappointed. If you think of it as a repository of people interested in meeting you, it's just another way of finding dates.
posted by deathpanels at 5:13 AM on April 12, 2012

Oh! I should also say, since it isn't really obvious here, that I don't go out with everyone who messages me. I only go on dates with people I think I might be attracted to.

Have you tried messaging guys you're actually interested in, instead of waiting for guys that you're only kind of interested in to message you?
posted by empath at 5:30 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you tried messaging guys you're actually interested in, instead of waiting for guys that you're only kind of interested in to message you?

She said "I have even asked out some people I think I might be attracted to, which leaves me feeling even worse when I turn them down for a second date after having felt nothing."

I've tended to have basically the same experience on OKCupid, and I must have been on 30 dates from it by now. Even guys who looked amazing on paper and who I messaged first, most of the time there's not much of a spark. And conversely, thinking back on all the people I've liked in real life, I don't think I would have picked those people out based on a few photos and a personal essay.

I think part of the problem is that, for me, attraction isn't really based on the sorts of things people put in those profiles. (Similar tastes, hobbies, etc.) It's based on how they feel about and interact with the world. So I'm considering totally rewriting my profile so that it doesn't talk so much about what I DO, but more about my personal philosophical outlook, and seeing if that works better for me. Maybe you could try something like that.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:49 AM on April 12, 2012 [6 favorites]

I have exactly the same experiences with 98% of my dates from OKCupid, the other 2% being the occasional weirdo, and the occasional time that I am actually interested in the guy, but he is the one who never calls me back or texts me back after the date. Sigh.

I think that this kind of blah dating happens because for girls it takes more to be attracted to a guy than just meeting a them over coffee to talk about where they work and where they went to school, and blah blah blah.

So instead of giving up on OKCupid, just don't go out with the guys that you *should* go out with but don't think you'll feel anything for them. You know yourself well enough now to know when you won't be into the guy. Only meet the guy when you're really truly excited to meet him. I remember meeting a few guys off dating sites where I would talk to them for a while online before meeting them, see more pictures than just the 5 they chose to show off on the site, and I actually started liking them *before* meeting them, which is the only way that online dating has turned into an actual relationship for me.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 7:05 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

So there isn't a sense of urgency behind this...

This being the case, I'd do this:

0. Keep your OkCupid profile. It's free.

1. Quit going out with people you don't think you'll like. Alternately, quit making that determination too hastily before you meet people.

2. Give everyone you DO go out with a fair shot, look for the good. I get the impression that you might have a bit of your identity tied up in being picky, which I've definitely seen cause people to look for reasons to cut someone loose. Remember: being picky for the sake of being picky does not help you in any way.

3. Forgive yourself for not wanting to go out again -- that's how it goes. The vast majority of first dates are also last dates. If they weren't, there wouldn't be six billion dating AskMes.

4. Continue to live your life as usual.

If you're a picky dater and your tastes are varied and subtle, I think you have to do an unintuitive thing online: going out with people even when you think they might not be a good fit, because online dating profiles are inaccurate approximations of the people they represent, so if your tastes are more subtle than the precision of the average profile, doing too much pre-judging is going to cause you to go out with a lot of guys that aren't good fits and pass over a lot of guys that could be great.
posted by toomuchpete at 7:45 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is me, except I'm a guy. I've never figured out what to do about this but I continue to just plow through dates hoping there is the one out there that clicks. Good luck.
posted by spicynuts at 7:48 AM on April 12, 2012

Best answer: I would give up on online dating and focus on activity groups where you can regularly meet up with people. Like book clubs, movie clubs,sports leagues, cooking classes, activity groups - anywhere you can meet up with the same groups of people and form friendships. You are more likely to meet dateable friends of friends and it takes the one on one pressure off.
posted by gt2 at 8:05 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

Do you turn down dates because you felt "Hmm, can I kiss this guy? I dunno ..." Or because you felt "Kiss this guy? NO effing way!"

How many dates have you been on through OKC? I think this is relevant. If it's 10 - then heck, that's nothing. Get back out there. If it's 50 then ... there's a possibility that it might not be the guys. It might - and I mean this gently - be you.

Maybe somewhere in the back of your head you think online dating is skeevy. Maybe it takes you more than one cup of coffee with a stranger to relax enough for chemistry to happen. You can try to trouble-shoot this in a lot of different ways - start going on some second dates without taking it too seriously. Take a chance on someone you wouldn't normally go out with. If you always get coffee, go for drinks instead.

For some reason it took me almost a year of regular dating to meet someone I wanted to kiss who also wanted to kiss me. After that for some reason I started meeting a lot more guys I found attractive who were into me. So something changed on my end, I just don't know what exactly it was.

At the end of a "bad" date I shake hands and say "it was really nice to meet you." Usually the hint seems to work.
posted by bunderful at 8:59 AM on April 12, 2012

Best answer: Pick people who look and sound like trouble. You sound bored by people your frontal lobes are picking.
posted by ead at 9:02 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It sounds to me like you're being self-defeating by going out with guys that you aren't all that interested in. Like mentioned above, either stop going out with guys that you don't really want to or stop making that determination before you've met them. Other than that, there's really nothing "wrong" with how you're doing that, so much as there's no "right" way to go about this. Online dating is not as easy as people hope it will be nor must it be as hard as people often make it out to be.

It might help you to stop thinking of the first meeting as a "date" and more like the "ambiguous male-female social interaction" that you are more comfortable with - it may take the pressure of if you think of it as "I'm just getting to know this person to see if I'd like to date them" as opposed to "I'm on this date, now what?"

Another thing is that it's possible that your people-picker is off. You might be picking guys that you think you'd be attracted to but that you aren't really. I did that, myself - I was going out with and messaging guys who fit what I had been used to before, not what I was actually looking for now. If the guys you go out with have a common thread between them, you might want to explore that.

And, you don't need a "good" reason to turn down a second (or first, or fiftieth) date. I think it's nice that you turn them down without poofing but you don't need to justify that to anyone, except perhaps yourself, but it sounds like you already know what you need and just aren't getting it. So keep looking.
posted by sm1tten at 9:07 AM on April 12, 2012

I've never understood the mindset (from men and women) that there must be immediate sparks or sayanora. What's lost in a second get-together with the decent, smart ones who aren't hideous?

(Seems online dating makes it much easier to get a first date, much harder to get a second one.)
posted by ambient2 at 9:16 AM on April 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

It sounds to me like you're being self-defeating by going out with guys that you aren't all that interested in.

This, or you are letting things go on too long after you realize you're not interested. The reason that the first internet date is coffee/a drink is so that you only invest 1/2 hours, and if it's not going anywhere, you can cut it off easily. Don't accept the second date if you're not excited about it.
posted by benbenson at 9:29 AM on April 12, 2012

Take an all of the above approach. If you focus all your energy on "figuring out" online dating, then you are likely to stay in this spiral of dissatisfaction. Online dating is good for a lot of things, meeting different types of people, getting practice on dates, and most importantly figuring out what you DON't want, and hopefully clarifying what you do want in partner. As far as finding the ONE, many people have, but also many people end up like you...frustrated. So try other avenues too, such as taking up an activity, meeting people through friends, and being receptive to randomly meeting someone. Also, maybe taking a break for a few weeks might refresh you.
posted by the foreground at 9:33 AM on April 12, 2012

Pick people who look and sound like trouble. You sound bored by people your frontal lobes are picking.

Ead has a really good point. One of the most chemistry-ridden dates I've ever had was with a guy I had next to nothing in common with. If I'd been into something casual, it would have been perfect.
posted by bunderful at 9:37 AM on April 12, 2012

I could have written this question, word for word.

My solution is not to really give up entirely, but to sort of treat it as a background thing. I don't go on OKC that much, and I don't write back to the vast majority of guys who are probably perfectly fine and who I probably would have even liked if I'd met them in a real-life context of work or school or friends or whatnot. Every so often someone will have something really interesting about him, and I'll go meet him, because why not meet a person who has something really interesting about him. That sort of treats it as an ambiguous male-female interaction (although I've tried to trick myself into being able to like someone i met this way by not calling things dates, but it never works 100%).

I guess this isn't really so much a solution as a strategy to not drive yourself crazy wondering if there is something wrong with you because you don't function well in the artificial, stupid, contextless world of online dating. (There isn't). I vaguely keep at it anyway, though, because my choice of boyfriends in real life has been not great. If i would have seen any of their online profiles, I probably wouldn't have written them back. So maybe, in a way, online dating can shield one from bad relationships based on hormones. Then again, sometimes I miss bad relationships based on hormones. They were so effortless.
posted by millipede at 9:41 AM on April 12, 2012

Chemistry is a weird thing in that it can be a self-reinforcing feedback loop. One person shows a spark of interest, and then that causes the other person to relax and be slightly more charming and natural, which causes them to feel interest, which causes the other person to feel more at ease and flirty, etc. etc. In the same way when one person starts out closed off the other person senses that vibe and closes off as well and no sparks fly.

I'm saying this because these statements:
>I'm a finicky dater
>I am not super excited about the person in question
>I'm extremely physically aloof with anyone I'm not very attracted to

make me think that you go into dates with a closed attitude, like the guy is guilty until proven innocent. Guilty of not being attractive. Guilty of being a dud. Guilty of being too "boring" or not "mysterious" enough. And I can tell you from personal experience that guys pick up on this attitude very quickly and it kills the vibe. I can be charismatic in the right circumstances, but if I sense that the person on the other end is judging me from the get-go, then I just don't bother to turn on the charm.

I know part of the problem is that you don't want to lead a guy on, because you hate to have that conversation after a date where you tell him you're not really interested. But I'm kind of curious whether your dates would be more fun for both parties if you decided that you WERE going to lead him on a little - some meaningless flirting, teasing, physical contact. It could be that you start finding guys opening up more to you, being more relaxed and "themselves" if you opened yourself up a little. Yes, it might mean that you have a few awkward conversations with guys you didn't really want to go out with again, but I think you might also have more second dates.
posted by minorcadence at 9:50 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I too could have written this question. Online dating is only one channel, and probably not even a very good one. That's how you have to file it in your head. You dip in, get sick of it, take a break, try it again. It's just ... there when you are in the mood to shop. The problem is, there is no way to smell someone online (and that is a critical factor!) or get a feel for how they carry themselves or feel in their own skin. All those things are so much more important and telling than any laundry list or first date chatter. That's why it's so easy to fall in love across a crowded room (or at least fall in interest!) -- all your senses are firing, there's this primal famliarity, and you gotta get closer, catch the scent ... Sigh.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:53 AM on April 12, 2012

Sorry, that wasn't terribly helpful. But I feel ya. Just take a break now and then.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:53 AM on April 12, 2012

Best answer: I'm another you. My strategy:

-lay low on the profile when you aren't feeling the energy to meet more people (it's exhausting!) - I even take my pics down every few months, but leave the profile up just in case, and try not to check too often. don't force yourself to do it when you don't feel like it!

-be more open to second dates - treat the first meeting as less of a date and more of a meet - the second interaction is really the first "date" - unless there's clearly something that won't change, like a dealbreaker or no attraction

-don't rely on it, just do it once in a while to keep in "shape" dating-wise. It's kinda like thrift-shopping in that you can't go in with a shopping list and expect to find something good, you really just have to wander by every so often and see if anything (anyone) catches your eye.
posted by randomnity at 10:52 AM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think I'm a bit like you, and I've had luck going to meetups on meetup.com (or whatever meetup site is popular in your area). I think at meetups you can mingle and see people in context before doing any one-on-one dating. Maybe this will feel less icky to you? I, too, am nonplussed by online dating. But I've had fun and made a few friends at meetups. And these friends eventually lead to meeting people that I dated.

It helps to go to meetups with a friend. By myself, I like ones where there is an "active" activity, i.e. volunteering to paint something, photography, hiking, etc rather than, say, wine tasting. I find it's easier to meet people if you're doing something together.
posted by bluefly at 11:05 AM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Since your okcupid matches aren't working I suggest you only contact people who are more than 40% your enemy. While that makes no sense it might just work. But probably not.
posted by tarvuz at 11:13 AM on April 12, 2012

Since your okcupid matches aren't working I suggest you only contact people who are more than 40% your enemy. While that makes no sense it might just work. But probably not.

People who have THAT high of an enemy percentage with me tend to be crazy racists who ain't lookin for no gold-digger, so, um, I recommend NOT doing this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:38 AM on April 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

This was me, exactly---and it kept being me until I finally met the right person (on OKC, as it turns out) through a sheer numbers game of going back out there. Sometimes, I did take a break for awhile, or try a different website. What finally happened was this:

- met a guy who, it shocked me to say, actually made me feel hopeful
- went home, answered every match question I could and compared my answers to his
- the resulting super-high match number made me feel even better
- continued web chat and dating for about two weeks, spacing them every few days

At that point, I actually sat him down for a Big Conversation during which I explained that I really liked him, felt the potential for the first time since I went on OKc, really wanted to get to know him better etc. BUT that I am a slow burner on the physical stuff and that he would need to go slow with me and be patient if it took awhile to get to some of that stuff. He was VERY supportive and understanding and nurturing about it, which was another point in his favour!

It's been nearly a year and we just moved in together. So, a happy ending for me. But it took the right combination of patience, luck and a bit of accommodation on both our sides. I realize not every guy would deal as well with the kind of conversation he and I had to have about this in the early stages. But it was necessary for the kind of dater I was, and his patience and understanding with it went a long way toward making me more comfortable.
posted by JoannaC at 12:40 PM on April 12, 2012 [7 favorites]

Pick people who look and sound like trouble. You sound bored by people your frontal lobes are picking.

Seconding this. Over the course of about a year, I went on dozens of OKC first-dates with matches who were nothing short of 100% perfect on paper, yet nearly every one of them ended up being a dud (mildly enjoyable dates and all, but iffy chemistry and never a second date). The girl I'm dating now is quite the opposite - we're at best a questionable match on paper, and if I'd seen her profile on OKC I probably would've scrolled right past it - but for whatever reason there's really good chemistry.

This leads to my second suggestion - try as many avenues as you can. I'd recommend keeping your OKC profile active, but search out other ways to meet people. Despite my online-dating efforts, I always had way better luck meeting potential romantic interests in real life (and usually find the process way more enjoyable). Even if you don't get any dates out of it, it's still a great way to make new friends! Do you have any hobbies, interests, etc? Maybe try to find a related group - Meetup is a good starting point.
posted by photo guy at 4:01 PM on April 12, 2012

Best answer: It kinda sounds like online dating is not your psyche's preferred way of meeting men. It's not mine either--I also have the super picky problem, feel like shit when dating because I never like anyone, etc.

I would suggest trying to meet people in real life via classes/meetups/bars whatever rather than meeting people specifically in Dating Context, Wookin' Pa Nub. It puts that pressure on you to figure out if you want to date them again or not right then and there, and that seems to be what's getting you down. If you meet people in another context, you can get to know them BEFORE the sex thing is put on the table to deal with.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:58 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was decently successful on okCupid last year. My current boyfriend (whom I met there) and I went on our first date exactly 360 days ago.

I'm not especially hot, so guys weren't tripping over themselves to contact me, but by "decently successful" I mean that in 3 months I racked up maybe eight first dates, most of whom I never saw again, one aborted relationship, one successful relationship, one continuing friendship. I was also in a rebound-ish stage, so that added a particular energy to my proceedings.

If you were my friend, I'd give you the kind of personal development advice mentioned above, but I'd also offer to be your wingwoman. This entails bringing over a bottle of wine (or something), going over your profile together, giving some feedback that compares how I know you to be vs. how you are portraying yourself, and make sure you're mentioning my favorite things about you in your profile. Then we'd do what women do: look at and talk about men. "How about this one? Why not message this one?"

If you have a close, trusted friend, let them be a part of the behind-the-scenes process for a little bit. It might freshen up the process a little bit and make you feel less alone in it. Friends are also good for encouraging each other to step outside their comfort zones and take little, exciting risks. It's so much different to have to break down and analyze interactions by yourself, versus chatting with someone about your date last weekend, versus chatting with someone who has seen pictures of and read the "self summary" of the guy you met.

Good luck!
posted by itesser at 7:13 PM on April 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, and maybe try to go on more varied first dates. Sitting down and talking is nicely neutral, but doesn't often offer people the chance to be themselves. Some of my better first dates have been visiting a Buddhist monastery, hastily arranged drinks in interesting (but safe) neighborhoods, and a photo-safari in an abandoned zoo. In fact, there's a direct correlation between guys I met for coffee and guys I never saw again. (Whereas the ones mentioned above I saw multiple times.)

Free art exhibits are another good first date. I (mostly) hate modern art, but love going to modern art museums with new people to discuss controversial things.
posted by itesser at 7:25 PM on April 12, 2012

Best answer: I think an important factor to try to figure out here is: is the problem the guys you're meeting, or how you're meeting them? That is, do you think that if you met one of these same guys some other way, you'd be more into him?

If you think so, then try to change something about the date: do an activity together, go someplace more interesting than a coffee shop, maybe take longer emailing/chatting before you meet in person. See if you can think of a way to meet him where he's in his element, and can really show you something he's passionate about.

If you think the issue is the guys, then basically my advice is: hang in there. I met my fiance on OkCupid...after 5 or 6 years of on-and-off online dating (Match, Chemistry, and OkCupid, in NYC and SF). It was discouraging at times, and there were long periods where I closed my account and hid my profile. But I kept coming back because it was really hard to meet single, available people any other way I could think of (I tried joining clubs and activities, and everyone else there was either 15-30 years older than I was and/or there with their partner).

I always told myself: it's a numbers game. The more people you meet, the greater the chance of finding someone great. The odds of meeting your true love on any given date are pretty low, but they're 100% better than your odds of meeting him when you're sitting home alone on your couch.

Also, I think it helps if you approach every date with a measure of curiosity. This guy might not be the love of your life, but he's a unique individual who you've never met before, and if nothing else, the date is an opportunity to get to know this one person a little better (even if you decide in the process you don't want to keep seeing him).

Finally, don't feel bad about politely declining a second date. If you didn't feel a spark, the odds are the guy isn't head over heels. He had a good enough time to try a second date, but if you're kind in your response, he'll bounce right back.
posted by pompelmo at 9:42 PM on April 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I met my husband online and yes it is tricky. But i have seen that people expect miracles. It is the same thing as dating offline, the only difference is that you meet someone first online. Also, are you really ready to date? Doesn't seem like to me. Another point is that you pick your own pace and dont go at the pace of someone else. If you are not comfortable with someone end it but if you want a date once a week or more, that is just the way you should go. I find women are too picky and too quick to hit the Next button. Make sure you give the guy a chance first -the first date is always awkward for many men.
posted by pakora1 at 9:11 AM on May 5, 2012

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