Why can’t I have a relationship too?
November 6, 2019 1:22 PM   Subscribe

After many years of health issues and setbacks, in late 2018 I decided I was ready to meet someone. I joined several dating apps and did my best, but I have only had a few dates (about 5 with three different guys) and only once did I get past the first date, in that case I got three dates and then he didn’t want any more.

I am trying my best to present myself well - I have lost lots of weight, put together a positive profile that I think shows who I am, and when I’m on dates I’m trying my best to show my good side, but it’s not happening for me. I’m at a good place in my life and I feel like I have lots to offer, so there isn’t an obvious reason for this.

I have been single for nearly 13 years, and lately I’m finding it really hard on my ego. I’m starting to wonder if I will ever be in another relationship again.

How do I know if I’m doing something wrong and what I’m doing wrong?
How do I avoid becoming desperate or jaded and bitter, as time goes on, if these efforts don’t work out?
Can you hope me, please?

PS i am currently searching for a therapist- have not found a good one yet but I’ll keep trying.
posted by EatMyHat to Human Relations (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is what therapy will be able to help you with, because you'll need an impartial and in-person observer to answer some of these questions.
posted by RainyJay at 1:38 PM on November 6 [3 favorites]


Please know that online dating is a numbers game, and you have to keep churning through it to find someone. Maybe you get lucky. Maybe you have to keep churning. Maybe you pause everything and take a break because this is all a lot of work. You don't have to do anything.

It's an awful process. Just because nothing is happening is not any reflection on you.

I get the frustration. I've been there, I am there. Be kind to yourself.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:52 PM on November 6 [20 favorites]


I think your experience, just in terms of numbers, sounds perfectly normal for anyone online dating, let alone someone new to online dating, let alone someone that has been single for a long time. There's no magic to online dating, you're going to get lots of duds.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:09 PM on November 6 [14 favorites]


I did online dating for ten months. During that time I went on dates with eleven different people that I met online (I also casually dated some friends, but we should keep this focused on the online dating angle). Eight of those eleven only had one date; two had three to four dates; one became my wife. My success rate (assuming that one defines success in this case as finding a long-term partner) is not remarkably higher than yours but I gave enough people a try that the numbers eventually paid off.

I count as my primary advantage that I enjoy dating. A lot of people who are looking for "The One" are specifically looking for "The One Who Will Save Me from Ever Dating Again" but I like meeting and learning about new people. Almost everyone that I met through OKCupid was rad; even when fifteen minutes into the date I knew that they were not someone that was a viable long-term partner for me I was still able to appreciate having an excuse to get dressed up and have dinner someplace that I would not have thought to go on my own and to spend time getting to know someone. Every date was a non-zero chance that I was about to meet my new favorite person and I was excited about that.

You should do online dating if it is fun for you and you shouldn't if it's not.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:57 PM on November 6 [39 favorites]


To offer an answer opposite Parasite Unseen: I hated online dating and disliked most people I met. I resented that I was wasting time and money trying to look nice and schedule dates that I rarely enjoyed. I treated it like an unpleasant chore I had to do because, at least with my hobbies and interests, there wasn’t going to be any other way I’d meet people.

Since I hated it so much but was also aware it was a numbers game I threw myself into contacting everyone who didn’t seem completely terrible. I did this because I realized that I wasn’t enjoying dates where the guys contacted me at all, it was a little better when I did the contacting. I’d email at least 5 guys a week and try to go on a date at least every month with someone who’d gotten back to me. I have no idea how many people I ended up emailing, or on a date with. I think out of a yearish of doing this, with breaks because I really was miserable, I only had 2-3 guys I went on more then one date with.

I am now happily married to a guy I contacted to make sure I met my numbers goal for the week.
posted by lepus at 3:35 PM on November 6 [19 favorites]


Five dates? That sounds like the number of dates I went on before I just shrugged and started meeting people at every opportunity. In the second year I went on another twenty. Made a couple of friends in the process, worked out a better idea of what I was looking for. Went on a second date with someone even though neither of us was all that overwhelmed by the first date. And now we've been together for more than 15 years and have two kids.

It's definitely a numbers game. That and relaxing into it, and not taking first impressions too seriously.
posted by pipeski at 3:36 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


This Is Why Online Dating SUCKS (And 5 Ways To Fix It) seems relevant to your interests.

Honestly, I think it's all just luck though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:45 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Lots of comfort and perspective to be had in the book "It's not you : 27 (wrong!) reasons why you're still single" by Sara Eckel.
posted by AuroraSky at 4:48 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Don't limit yourself to online dating. What are you doing outside that to meet new people?
posted by Miko at 6:43 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


How much time are you spending on the apps? Also, are you spending a lot of time messaging back and forth before you meet? When you match with someone, you can message back and forth a bit, but the best thing is to go ahead and make a plan for coffee or a very low pressure date so you can meet in person to see if there's chemistry. Are you asking people out or waiting for them to do so? If you think you like someone, go ahead and suggest coffee or a drink after work or something like that.

Dating is definitely a numbers game. I've been single for a few years and have gone out on so many dates. Multiple dates in a week. Multiple dates in a day. I've gone on a bunch of dates and not felt like I connected with anyone. So, yeah, go on lots of dates and be patient. The vast majority of my first dates are pleasant conversations where I don't experience any chemistry with the person--and that's fine! That's why we've gone out, to see if we have chemistry. But then I don't go on a second date with those folks.

You asked a question recently about how picky you should be. Are you focusing completely on looks? Sometimes people, especially men, don't have the most flattering profile photos even if they might be more attractive in person. You might try giving folks the benefit of the doubt when you are swiping.

You also asked a question recently about conversation starters. Unless you often find conversations difficult, I'd say that early on when you meet someone, if there's interest, there should be plenty of things to talk to about. So maybe try to have many more low-key dates and try to assess how easy it is to talk to people and if kind of easy conversation could lead to something more.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:02 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Oh online dating. Here's a story about online dating:

Years ago, I tried online dating for a while, without too much success (this was in the pre-app era, so we're talking OkCupid). After a while, I deactivated my profile because I wasn't really getting anywhere. Shortly thereafter, I met the woman who is now my wife, and we started dating. After we had been together for a while, we had a conversation in which we realized that we had both been active on OkCupid at the same time (both without much success), and were curious about each other's profiles, so we both re-activated to take a look.

"Wait a minute," I said as soon as I saw hers, "I remember this profile!" She had a very distinctive username, and it jogged my memory pretty quickly. I remembered seeing her profile and being interested. "Why didn't you message me then?" she asked. The answer, we found out, was that I didn't pass the filters she had set up. I was both too short(we're the same height) and too young (she's four years older).

Online dating is this weird thing where you're shopping on amazon for a person. I know plenty of people who've had some luck with it, but plenty of people who haven't. And, as my experience attests, it doesn't really say anything at all about whether you and someone else will hit it off. I'd suggest taking a break from it for a while.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:58 AM on November 7 [11 favorites]


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