Well online dating anyway.
I know a couple who met eight years ago through online dating. They were both looking for love, both wanting a family and found each other… cue fairytale ending of marriage, kids etc.
It’s a true story, the couple are still together, the online dating thing worked and for a while it was a great resource for those wanting to find love. But I have not heard a story like that for a long time.
Now I hear nothing short of horror stories. It seems to me that men have cottoned on to the fact that they can use the internet as an online sex bank – it’s the middle aged equivalent of the student meat market. They’ve realised that women, especially those my age want to meet someone to have a relationship with and their male counterparts are milking the proverbial cow. One bloke equates glasses of wine drunk with a ‘putting out’ ratio – where three big glasses is usually followed by the full monty. And of course, because there are plenty more fish in the sea, there’s no need for any kind of relationship proper or any comeback.
I don’t have a problem with the concept of online dating scene per se – it is unbelievably hard to meet people in the rush of modern life. But there should be some ground rules. It’s not that I want to see everyone paired off and married with 2.4 kids. But what I do KNOW for sure is that my girl friends who are doing this are now 40 and are fragile. And, although some might think they are in control, I would argue that they are being taken advantage of.
All of them are powerful, confident women in the outside world. They hold down fantastic jobs in a variety of fields, but emotionally the dating game has taken it’s toll and they are raw.
They want to believe but know they shouldn’t. Every time there’s a glimmer of hope, that long held dream of a family or partner to share life’s ups and downs with is fired up, the long subdued embers of a fire given oxygen to be able to wish and hope again.
Recently no less than two girlfriends have had their online dates come up with the line “my mother’s dying” after a couple of dates, only to find them back online the next day (yes you can tell). A few months later both men recontacted my friends, up for a second go. Could it be their mothers had both made miraculous recoveries or rather that they had had multiple dates on the go and the mother line is essentially a way of putting girls in a holding pattern whilst they give one a test run. When that doesn’t work out, they return to the rest of the pack and pick another one.
So the women go out with them again, open up again, allow themselves to be vulnerable again and then, inevitably it seems, the bloke’s mother starts dying again or they just bugger off without a word. The women’s hopes, having being raised are dashed, once again.
The latest cruel blow is a chap who, as he left my friend, having been basically living in her apartment for 2 months, used the excuse of – “we’re not physically compatible. I don’t feel physically attracted to you” (Clearly he’d hidden that very well considering they’d been having nightly fun n’ games).
So despite warnings to keep her guard up, not let him in emotionally, his comments hit the jugular. She’s been on a diet since September, has lost 3 stone, and was just feeling good about herself for the first time in years. He knew all this, yet he emotionally sucked her in, gave her a taste of couple-dom and then spat her out in the cruellest manner possible, by criticising her physical attractivenss – ie by blaming her for the failure.
Many 40-ish single women question why it is her that is single and not, well me for instance. They question their looks, their character, their nature. Everything. Self-doubt is everywhere, except for the workplace.
This man not just stuck the knife in but he twisted it too. He has emotionally battered my friend. She is shattered by it, her exaltation at her weight loss replaced by “what’s the point. I liked having someone to cook for and come home to and make porridge with. I hate my life” etc. I would like to batter him in the same way – or physically – either would do.
I fear that the ease of online dating has made many men forget that we are all fragile humans and no matter how much it says on one’s biog that we’re easy going and carefree, very few of us are and we are not there to be chewed up and spat out. Being rejected hurts whether you’re 16 or 60.. I wonder how long online dating will continue to be used – by women anyway – when the men they meet on it treat them with such flagrant disregard. I do know a few who have stopped already because of all of the above.
In the immortal words of Bonnie Tyler I would like to know “where have all the good men have gone?”