Online Dating Jungle

Friend zoning, ghosting, bread crumbing, benched, textlationship…what does it all mean?? Online dating is exhausting and confusing – its a jungle out there.

After 9 months of on off online dating, I am left bemused but hopeful as I’ve finally met someone who I really like and who likes me back. I won’t get ahead of myself though because that is not necessarily the end of the story and brings its own issues.

Let me start at the beginning then or the end I suppose; the end of a two and a half year relationship with a man I loved deeply. The problem was he didn’t love himself too much so couldn’t receive my love or give me his in return; he was running on empty. When he ended it, it took me months to untangle myself emotionally.

My online dating experiences were part of that untangling. Here are some of them:

Date 1 – We start texting and have good banter, texts are regular but not taking up too much time and I’m not grasping. We arrange to meet. The date is fun, we get along, chat is easy. After a hug goodnight, I definitely would like a second date. The next day I text as normal and he doesn’t reply as quickly as normal. I sense something is not quite right and then I get friend zoned, translation, he’s not that into me.

Date 2 – A few sporadic texts, not flirtatious at all. Very laid back style almost to the point of wondering if this dude actually wants to text me, let alone meet up. After a few weeks we finally meet and find there is no connection, surprise surprise. We don’t text each other again.

Date 3 – We text and text and text and never meet up and when I suggest meeting, he comes up with excuses. After a few weeks, it fizzles out.

Date 4 – He just wants a bed buddy and then disappears when he meets someone seemingly better, I get benched.

Date 5 – He’s working away for a few months so we begin a textlationship. We get addicted to texting and receiving a text from him gives me a rush. After a length of time and investment, phone calls, sexting, we finally meet, it’s weird physically meeting him but it has potential. Soon after my intuition is pricked that something is off. I’m proven correct, he turns out to not be what I expected. We never speak again.

In between the actual physical dates, there are numerous messages to different men. Sometimes all the texting makes you feel like you are a priority to these people and sometimes you feel the last resort. You are just part of a long list of women being messaged, you are easily benched for a rainy day, you’re in reserve. Sometimes you are simply swiped away and all conversations are lost. They vanish and there is no control over this happening.

The torture of it all, the lessons.

I’ve heard it put that there is a lid for every pot and that dating isn’t a numbers game, since you only need to meet one person…the best one person to fit you.

It does feel like a needle in a haystack. Some people are lucky though, I was the first online date of the man I’m seeing now and I class him lucky that his first date was me! I still would have gone through the roller coaster of my dating experiences if it meant it led to meeting him though. Plus, I have learnt a lot about myself and although I profess it as a negative experience, I am grateful for it all. It has helped me realise a sensible, heart felt list of 6 non negotiables.

It is so important to know what you want in a relationship and stick to your boundaries. Let’s not stay with or make excuses for a man or woman because we think we can change them to fit our non negotiables or because we don’t want to go back to the jungle again. Don’t settle.

Dating in the U bend is undoubtedly tricky to navigate, it seems there are slim pickings out there. Online dating takes time and energy. It’s an important lesson to feel whole and happy in yourself and love yourself before asking someone else to love you. Online dating will not fill a void in your life, it can even feel more vacuous. This is my experience anyway, it was a relief when it stopped. I’ve taken on the lessons, it both helped and hindered my love journey, ultimately, I’m glad it’s over and hopefully I won’t have to log on again.