Online dating – don’t let the game players hijack your time, energy and heart!

Online dating may work out well for some, but for so many others it eats into their time, emotional energy and self – confidence.  I am no man – basher, but it appears that too many men are treating online dating sites like supermarkets. They are popping things (women or other men) into their trolley, whilst continuing to browse and keeping their options open. Because they haven’t yet committed to actually purchasing the items in the trolley, they feel free to put them back on the shelf and choose something else, as the mood takes them. Which it often does. I am sure that there are women who behave in the same way, but it does seem to be more of a masculine habit.

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And there are too many looking for friendship, rather than love. They start off well, chatting, sharing their history, discovering mutual interests……..but it never really develops much further. And they collect a whole load of ‘friends’, whilst making no real effort to develop one particular friendship into something more emotionally intimate. But the friend – gatherer is rarely honest, and implies that a relationship COULD develop, whilst continuing to communicate with a number of other interested parties, and so a hopeful innocent is caught on the hook. We could say “More fool them…..” but it isn’t always that simple. 

Online dating sites are a bit like X Factor. People have become programmed. “How ELSE am I going to be able to meet a partner? I never go anywhere.” is the same as “THIS is my ONLY chance for success……if I don’t win I will be devastated!” Neither statement is helpful, and both are incredibly self – limiting.

There were no dating sites when I was younger, only a small number of dating agencies, which were run from offices. There were reams of forms to be filled in, video recordings to make……and vetting. Well, that’s how I understand it, anyway.

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And then life moved on, and adverts for telephone lines appeared in newspapers. You would call the number, listen to a selection of recorded messages from lonely hopefuls, choose the one you liked the sound of, and leave your message and number……and wait with, baited breath, for them to call you. The ‘new’ way to meet the love of your life. And I did use this service. And I did not find the love of my life. I found a chubby policeman who helped me move from one flat to another, and guzzled copious amounts of pizza at a rapid rate of knots. I met a weird guy I quickly found an excuse to escape from, who followed me to a club and hurled abuse at me (in fairness I could understand his hurt feelings). I can’t remember who else I met, but suffice to say it didn’t open up a whole world of romance and passion.

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Online dating provides those who are lazy, those who have commitment issues, those who are pretending to be what they would love to be but aren’t, and those who feel empowered when they have a string of interested parties unknowingly on the hook, with a place to hide. Like the Wizard of Oz……a weak, frightened little person hiding in a tower, using a megaphone to make himself sound bigger and better than he is. And open – hearted, genuine seekers of love, who are not natural game players, can be easily fooled…..BECAUSE they aren’t game players. Okay, some game players are obvious, and some ‘victims’ are seemingly blind and silly……but the seasoned game player can be incredibly hard to spot, at least until a good deal of time and energy has been wasted. 

The world of online dating has, for some unfortunates, become an almost permanent place of residence. They are spending hour after hour trawling the depths, and chatting to people they are never going to meet, and becoming caught up in a fantasy of idealistic love…….and that in itself is hugely seductive. Women have told me that a guy they have been chatting to but have never met, or associated with in real, everyday life, is their soulmate. Maybe they don’t even really want it to develop any further, deep down inside…..maybe  a real relationship with all of the normal, usual, highs and lows, the love AND the blood, sweat and tears, is too big to actually enter into. Maybe they feel safer where they are. People say that we should never meet our heroes……and maybe we can add that we should never come face to face with our fantasy.

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But for those who just want to meet someone sane and relatively emotionally healthy, who aren’t into game playing and time wasting, the world of online dating can be confusing and frustrating. I have come to understand that men communicate their truth through their actions and not their words, and this is incredibly important to remember, as a woman using online dating sites. He may be an amazing listener, he may promise the world, and speak with love and adoration…….but where IS he, in normal, everyday life? How much effort is he making to develop the relationship on a one to one basis? If he is so far away that it would cost hundreds to meet up, and if both parties don’t have that kind of cash to throw around, the relationship is unlikely to develop into an actual, grown – up commitment. If it is the woman who is making all the plans, finding the means to travel to him, and is doing most of the actual, physical and practical running (not the talking and promise – making), a warning bell should be ringing, loud and long. Feeling desired, appreciated, and validated, is a powerful aphrodisiac, and once we have had a taste, it can be hard to let go of……even when the evidence screams that we should.

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Online dating sites HAVE worked well for some people, and so they do have their place in the modern world. But they should be used with caution, and as a potentially useful tool, and not as a replacement for real life, and those who use them need to be able to read between the lines, and separate idealistic b******t from genuine connection. And if we feel we have been developing a meaningful line of communication with a potential love interest, but find they are still active on the dating sites, we need to prevent ourselves from becoming hooked up with what is probably nothing more than a cowardly, game playing friend – gatherer!#datingsitegameplayers. 

 

 

 

 

 

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