The Unexpected Successes Of Digital Dating

November 16, 2013 4:59 pm

This week, a fellow Moon Project writer wrote about the death of the interactive, face-to-face dating scene, and how the rise of social media as the main interface through which we conduct the preliminaries of our relationship has maybe affected us a little too much – we talk so much online or through our various forms of technological communication that when we meet up, we have already established and spoken of everything that would be first date material.

online datingI understand completely where Miss Zoe Croft is coming from, so I have to write here of my experiences which prove the polar opposite point.

I dreaded online dating. You literally never know how much is masked and how much is genuine when first getting in touch with somebody whose picture makes them look cute, or who has an interesting profile, or who writes a couple of lines that strike a chord or make you laugh. My ‘Things You Didn’t Know’ Page on Facebook has informed me the vast majority of women are afraid of meeting a serial killer, whereas men are afraid of meeting someone who’s actually fat. It’s a very weird concept, when you think about it, like pre-selection, or the audition process, and chemistry and the timing of things, as well as people’s habits, foibles and little unknown dreams are easily swept under the carpet. A first date can INDEED be disastrous if you’ve already discussed everything that initially joined the two of you, but then, you must assume that this was then just a passing familiarity and not ‘It’.

But digital dating does and can work. My ex-neighbours from back in West London had been married several years and had their first baby. They met through Shaadi.com (which is Hindi for ‘Wedding’). Another friend has been in a relationship with her boyfriend for upward of eight years now, and they connected through Are You Interested? on Facebook. And then, most recently, I joined up to eHarmony, following my break-up from a long-term relationship, more than anything to see what my options were at twenty-seven, creative-non-bill-paying jobs and having had no option other than to move back in with my mother!

But, joy of joys, the gods chose to smile on me and one of the first chaps I started emailing seemed to be everything I wanted – sweet and quirky profile, VERY good looking, had his own kids (so all the pressure was off me, and I could decide for myself when the biological clock really started ticking loudly), creative himself, wanting someone creative, stable and…that other unnameable element of just having a really good vibe about someone. A lot of people ignore that, I think, because they don’t know how to use their intuition, or they’ve lost the ability to truly listen to it. But I used it, and after a few Get To Know You apps through eHarmony, I sent him an email to say I was down in London the following Friday and would he like to go to a party with me? Let me mention here that eHarmony gives you a lot of questions to answer. A LOT. To the extent you kind of go ‘Why would you need to know that to find a potential partner for me?’ and both myself and Andy kid of got to the stage of still answering them, but worried we were making a mistake. Nothing is not asked, be it sexual, regarding your family life and education, how much you drink or smoke, whether or not you want kids or not, right across to who your heroes are and whether or not you want someone who is earning more or less than you…

Thankfully, he seemed to look past my gingerness, my eclectic music tastes and my rather peculiar aspirations enough to say yes and we set up the date.

Now here indeed IS the place where it could all have gone wrong. Nerves kick in. We had actually looked at each other’s profiles a lot ( we’re both amateur stalkers), so we already knew a lot of the potential dialogue material that could have happened that night.

online datingBUT the unexpected element – the vibe – kicked in and guess what? We never stopped talking the entire night! We still can’t now, almost a month and a half later. And rather than be put off by information we found out about each other, it just seemed to solidify things and make us all the more keen on each other.

I here wanted to display the other side of the digital dating world which I am so grateful that I have experienced. It isn’t something to be feared. It definitely is not as straight-forward as the real-life, down-the-cafe, local-bookshop, friend-of-a-friend type of dating, but there is as much merit to it as those options. I dread to think how long it might have been til Andy and I met each other had we not gone against the little voice saying ‘What are you doing this for?’ and had instead completely ignored our instincts. Possibly never! We’re at present conducting a relationship with a distance of 170 miles – the first time I’ve committed totally to a long-distance relationship – are at completely different stages of our lives and I can’t even drive. But we clicked so suddenly and the chemistry between us was so present that those things haven’t dampened our unexpected emotion for each other. They make it harder, but also make the moments we snatch together all the sweeter.

Here is my advice, if you are considering it: Just try it. Nothing was gained by not trying. You might meet some real idiots at first, but on occasion, you have to go through a tonne of sand to find a jewel. You may have a few dates and then decide it’s not for you, but until you get out there, get sharing, talking and excited about sharing the lovely, interesting person that is you with somebody you find interesting or cute (hopefully both!) you’ll never know the potential! You might just find your future life partner – in the form of a profile at this stage at least – waiting for you…

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