I am both excited and honored to have Peonies ‘n Mint’s first guest post be from the ever-wonderful Hillary at an oklahoma girl. Hillary and I were discussing her love life recently (because we’re at that level of blogosphere friendship) and she was recanting the demise of online dating in her life. From someone who has posted about online dating and dating apps in the past, I asked if she’d be willing to share her story on PNM for all of you to enjoy. She was more than happy to oblige!
We all have our own dating horror stories. Perhaps they are not through the Internet or apps, but they’re creepy nonetheless. So don’t get down when your love life seems to be one devastating date after the other. Take it from Hillary — we’ve all been there!
My relationship with online dating started on my 25th birthday. A longtime friend and I had been talking about how terrible our luck had been with dating, how our lives were not where we had thought they would be, and we decided to take fate into our own hands. Or, that’s what we told ourselves. We started by signing up for a free dating site that we had heard other friends speak about called OkCupid.com. To say that the first few days, even weeks, were comical would be an understatement. We would send each out screenshots throughout the day of the absolute blasphemy that was cluttering our inboxes. There were numerous opening lines with ridiculous sexual advances. There was even a time when I received a photograph of a guy with a woman that turned out to be his wife and a request for me to join them. (No, I can’t even make this stuff up!)
After a while my friend and I realized that we probably weren’t going to meet Prince Charming, and it just became a running joke to talk about the horrors we captured on the site. Both of us kept our accounts live but I stopped actively perusing anyone. My friend, on the other hand, actually ended up meeting her now husband on that very dating site. And he turned out to be a nice, normal, respectable man. Talk about perfect timing and being matched correctly! I however, well, let’s get into that…
I received a message from an attractive man who seemed very respectful and who was looking for all the same traits in a partner that I had been seeking. We exchanged messages back and forth for a couple of weeks and decided that we should meet. In our conversations, we discovered that we actually lived in the same neighborhood and I broke Rule No. 1: I let him pick me up.
I know, everyone just gasp and comment on how stupid I am right now. Come on, let’s get it out of the way… Yes, it was stupid on my part, but thankfully he didn’t turn out to be an axe murderer. He did turn out to be something special though.
We went to a pub and ordered drinks. Everything seeming harmless; Mr. Eager had good energy and our conversations flowed easily. However, things changed as we waited on our order. Mr. Eager began talking about when we would get married. At first, I thought he had to be joking, but soon I realized that he was 100% serious. Talking about where he pictured the wedding, the colors, even who he wanted to be in the wedding party on his side. And, because I broke Rule No. 1, I was trapped!
After Mr. Eager there were a few message exchanges with guys here and there but nothing that amounted to anything. Then suddenly a message popped up from someone interesting: a gentleman who was slightly familiar as we shared mutual friends and I had seen his name here and there throughout social media.
Social Media Fanatic
We talked back and forth for only a few days and got along really well. He asked if I would like to meet for dinner, and I was actually really interested to meet him in person so I said “Yes.”
Even though the conversation flowed really freely through our messages and we had friends in common, I chose not to break Rule No. 1 this time. We decided to meet for dinner. The first date went relatively well, and though I was not overly attracted to him physically, we got along very well. We started to regularly date for about a month, but unfortunately my feelings for him did not grow. When I chose to be honest about my lack of interest in him romantically, though, the Fanatic did not take my rejection well.
He began to bash me on all forms of social media for not appreciating him. Picture numerous tweets telling the world how ungrateful of a person I am. It was embarrassing. He also started leaving presents on my door step during the night. Bouquets to let me know I was on his mind. What should have been a sweet notion was actually quite creepy.
I told my friends about the Fanatic’s antics, and they urged me to cut ties. It came to the point where I was even afraid to be home alone what with knowing he could possibly be on my doorstep leaving gifts at any given moment throughout the night. Finally we had a huge texting argument (I know, no better way to fight…) and we ended with him telling me that “I was never going to be happy if I couldn’t be happy with him.”
After these two depressing experiences, as well as the lack of other suitable suitors, I decided that online dating was just not the world I needed to be in. For the next three years I focused on other aspects of my life rather than my romantic well-being.
It wasn’t until my 28th birthday later that I chose to re-enlist in the Internet game. This time was a bit different though. My aunt recommended that I try eHarmany.com. She said maybe if I looked into a better version of online dating (Yes, there is a better version than OKCupid and Tinder!) I would get a better quality of daters. “People that are looking for real relationships,” she said.
I took her advice, and then some. I decided this time around I would do somewhat of an experiment. The same day I registered for eHarmony, I also started a free online dating account with Plenty of Fish. My goal was to do a comparison in real time of the people I received messages from. Was online dating worth what you paid and was there a difference between the “versions” of sites.
There definitely is a difference! On eHarmony, I have talked to two main guys and both were very sweet. Unfortunately, nothing became of our messaging when we realized that our lives were in different places. Plenty of Fish is a whole different story. On a day to day basis I receive 5-6 messages, and the majority are mindless tidbits that someone is copying and pasting to every girl they come across. They are simply hoping that someone will “take the bait”. In the six months on the free site, I have received only one message from someone that seemed to have good intentions and wasn’t just looking for a random hook-up.
The icing on the cake and the reason online dating is now on my permanent black list came to me a few weeks ago on Plenty of Fish. I opened my app, saw a pending message, and clicked it to see what new line someone had come up with. I have to hand it to the guy, he got my attention. The message read, “How are you? I was wondering if you can have an open mind and get to know a death row inmate?” I can honestly say I’ve been happy not looking back since that day…
All in all, my experience is that few people take online dating seriously. I’ve heard and personally seen a few online dating success stories, and, for a small fraction of people, playing online does work. However, for me, it has been nothing but a joke. To put it in a nutshell, online dating is a bunch of people scanning through pictures, looking for the person that they find slightly attractive, and sending a, in most cases, impersonal message in hopes that the recipient might also find the sender relatively attractive.
It is so sad to see that the world has gotten so busy and rushed that no one has time to meet people the old fashion way: in real life.
On Peonies ‘n Mint, I like to discuss real things in Life. Real love, loss, and gain that my friends, my family, and myself have experienced. Thank you so much, Hillary, for sharing this piece of your Life with us. Everyone finds love at the right time, and knowing what sort of amazing woman you are, I have no doubt that time is right around the corner.
Friends, if you would like to share a dating horror story of your own, please feel free to do so in the comments. I have always found it easier to stomach my own failure when I know I’m not the only one out there suffering…