Name: Dragon Lady
Question: Hey Moxie,
I’ve been a longtime reader of your blog and have become a big fan of most of your advice over the years- you’re just about always right in your advice columns! Perhaps this question is burnout related. I’ve been online dating in a major Northeastern city for a couple of years now, to varying degrees of success. I’m still single, though, so I haven’t found what I’m looking for yet.
My core question, to keep things succinct, is that, on and off, I’ve been struggling with feeling a good deal of anger towards men. I do not get overly invested up front and do not pursue men patently out of my league. I stay realistic about my expectations and am looking for someone similar. After two years of ups and downs though, and witnessing single friends of mine also go through numerous disappointments, I’m having a hard time combating this sense of anger and bitterness towards men in general.
Basically, I feel as though men get to behave in as craven and cruel a manner as they want, and they never suffer or get called out on it. It’s led to a few embarrassing text exchanges, for sure. The supermarket mentality is in full swing even in men in their 20s, and they can be infuriatingly vague about what they are looking for. Moxie, I’ve never been a “crazy girl” but the behavior of men out there is inching me towards their territory. I believe in having an internal locus of control however and could use some advice about how not to let these feelings of anger and of feeling slighted get the better of me. For reference, I have a good job, a great group of friends, and a healthy lifestyle and hobbies outside of dating. I’ve slipped in and out of phases like this before, but could use an objective point of view. Looking forward to hearing from you.
I do not get overly invested up front and do not pursue men patently out of my league. I stay realistic about my expectations and am looking for someone similar.
Let’s start here. I’m sure many people – even me – believe that they don’t shoot out of their league and keep their expectations in check. But even I can admit to frequently aiming a little higher than I know I can pull “just to see if they respond.” So, while you probably are staying realistic for the most part, I’m going to guess you’re taking chances here and there like so many of us do.
Guys aren’t any bigger assholes than women who use these sites and apps are. Everybody sucks. Everybody. The goal now is to find someone who doesn’t suck as hard as the others. People just don’t care. I’ve now received seven matches on Bumble and have messages all seven of them. Know how many of them responded? Zero. And now Bumble has instituted a new policy where the guy has to respond to the woman’s initial message within 24 hours or the connection is gone. It’s like these people who make these apps don’t even date themselves and don’t understand how people think or function.
Your frustration is universal and runs across both genders. Trust me, the comments of this post are going to fill up with whiny dudes talking about how hard online dating is for them, so there. This is not a gender issue, this is a medium issue. These apps are fostering a flaky, no accountability, no effort environment, and it’s spreading over to traditional online dating. What you’re struggling to accept is that this so called “craven” behavior – ghosting, cancelling plans, looking for hook-ups – is now the baseline norm. These sites and apps ARE NOT the place to look for relationships. They’re just not. They are a means to get dates only. The days of wedding announcements from people who met cute on Match.com are over.
As I have said numerous times now: dating these days is a slog and I don’t find it worth my time. If I use an app, I swipe here and there and close out. It has absolutely no meaning for me. You’re getting angry because you’re getting invested, and that’s your mistake. Nowadays, you shouldn’t be giving a shit until several dates in. That’s the honest to God to truth. While a few years ago it was safe to relax after a couple of dates and let go a a bit, now that window of time has stretched to several dates. People use to ghost after just a couple of date. Now you could date someone regularly for a month and then one day – poof! – they’re just gone.
I just don’t know how many times or in how many different ways I can say this: the online dating we knew a couple of years ago is dead. It’s a whole new ballgame thanks to the swipe related apps. The only way to survive it is to not care. I know that sounds depressing and dire, but it’s the truth. People simply do not use traditional online dating anymore, and the ones who do have to.
I wish I could put a more positive spin on this but I can’t. It sucks. It’s infuriatingly hard to make a match and just as hard to get people to respond, let alone set up a date.