Why I'm Giving Up On Dating Apps (For Now)

by Rachel E. Bledsoe
Originally Published: 
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It started with another divorce. Today, I’m tip toeing through the minefield called “dating.” I have one startling revelation which has never been had in my life. It is accompanied by the inevitable curiosity in one question: “Do I have a real, actual equal?”

I am not a half. Nothing is missing, besides sex. My extreme utter happiness resides in the all-knowing profound decision to find one possible good lover, although I prefer him to be more. There is the desire to have my creative freedom wrapped around a male in order to satisfy my sexual appetite. No more dullness. No more mundane. Instead, I want to find some kind of beautiful, a bright shining brilliant, sweat-inducing high. I crave this desire. I want it all the time every day. I will nag and ask and wonder when will I get to create more fantasies.

How many lovers toss me aside? What’s it been now, 4 or 5? I don’t want the pattern to continue.

Yes, I’m on the dating apps. These glowing lures only provide an easy, cheap instant gratification which occasionally leads to a few nights of mind blowing sex. It has provided me countless opportunities resulting in those always awkward first meetings. I am beginning to grow weary and worn from having to always meet someone new. At 37 years-old, “first dates” are beginning to become an unwanted hassle.

I keep making certain, repeated mistakes: I’m too accessible. Too easy. Too ready. Too much. Too open. Too honest. Too scared. Everything they learn about me in the matter of a night has to be overwhelming.

It’s a reminder how none of us lead an easy existence. I’ve heard their stories too, and I can relate to some of them.

Still, here I want the golden goose egg containing the answer to the modern dating world. One where I can drink, screw, work, and love, the place where every little niche is perfectly placed allowing me to have it all. The expectation, on my part, is they must have some damn devotion. That’s all I ask.

In this new modern electronic dating world, it’s beginning to feel as if we’re all replaceable here. Apps. Swipe. Welcome to the dating lottery. The roulette wheel lands on another stranger. It’s a coin flip to direct hookups and always available accessible sex, or is this the beginning of an actual relationship?

As I find myself judging another man based solely on his looks, location, and education, I’m questioning, “What does any of this have to do with chemistry?”

Take the personality quiz. Insert interests. Give people conversations starters, although most people will almost always start a conversation with, “Hi, how are you today?”

My mother raised me with manners so I respond, “Fine, thank you. How are you?”

It’s as if we’re running into co-workers walking down the hallway on a Monday morning, except this goes on all day and night. The stupid pleasantries, meaningless conversations are seemingly never ending. There are times I stop checking the apps. I delete them. I tell myself how apparently my equal doesn’t want to be found, the timing isn’t right.

I repeat how maybe he doesn’t exist on a dating site. Perhaps my equal is sitting behind a computer creating words, like I’m doing here. Or he could be under a car rebuilding his cherished classic. Or he’s out in the woods running trails trying to exhaust his mind as much as his body.

The Internet has made everything cheap, easy, and mostly faceted toward an imposter syndrome. We create who we want to be. We market ourselves as products, not people. The pictures are selected based on the how pretty the light is reflecting off our faces. We hold the selfie angle to the slimmest angle hiding our double chins, and we snap. Edit. Use filters. The end result is far from the daily image staring back at us in the mirror.

From these fake hyper-edited images, we’re online trying to find real love or a real lasting sexual partner. The ultimate end is even when we find something satisfying, it’s never enough.

Everyone, both men and women, are sitting at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Some of us are ordering the prime rib platter. No matter what the waiter puts down in front of us, we’re constantly eyeing what other people have sitting on their tables. Craving and salivating at what we didn’t choose, never taking the time to savor our meal.

This is the noticeable difference in dating today. Everyone seems to be constantly eyeing the menu after they’ve already ordered.

I’m watching men text, direct message, and swipe while sitting in front of me at dinner. This is the exchange we have made, and we call it “dating.” In being given every option, dating seems to be on the constant lookout for the next easy thing. And I’m too accessible. I’m too eager. I’m too ready to fall back into a comfort zone or at least a regular getting laid schedule along with some semblance of them pretending to actually care about me.

Throughout all these encounters, inside of me is still beating an unbreakable romantic heart. It tells me how men can still be faithful, how they are looking at me instead of a thousand others steeped deep within their phones. I do have an equal, and he wants the same things I want from this newly technological dating world. He wants an old-fashioned romance, and sex.

Dinner. Dates. Movies. Couch snuggles. Kisses. Morning sex. Midnight sex. Kitchen dancing. Inside jokes. Make believe futures. Adventures. Hiking sex. Vacations. Toasting to little accomplishments. Talking about the important aspects. Mulling over stupidity, and laughing. Waking up with arms wrapped around my waist. Consideration and true admiration. It is these everyday things I want. I’m holding out hope for something real.

My only hope is to one day sit at a place where there isn’t a phone in sight. To sit across from someone who isn’t looking for better, sneaking glances at other people’s orders, because we know we have exactly what we want sitting in front of us.

Still, one observation is always more powerful than dating.

I’m not single. I’m free. Free to choose. There is a freedom inside of me looking to make something which I’ve never tasted in my lifetime. I belong to no one other than myself. This is me as a whole, an entity entirely and completely seeking only myself. It’s a startling revelation to have defined at rather a dull moment in a lifetime. The exhilaration rests not in finding my equal, but perhaps in finding my true authentic self.

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