Is It Time to Take a Break from Online Dating?
When It's Over
Online dating is a great way to meet new people. It can be tough meeting someone at a bar, a restaurant, a church, the grocery store, etc. How do you know the perfect person for you isn't just 20 miles away but you've never met? With online dating, you can meet folks you would have never meet otherwise and that can be a wonderful opportunity.
However, sometimes you meet lots of people you would have been better off never knowing in the first place. That is the unfortunate downfall of online dating sites. There are some folks using those sites that are better off single. Some people just are not ready to be in a relationship. Others need to work on their "people skills" before approaching anyone else online.
So when do you know it is time to stop using dating sites? Here are some examples of when you should take a break from online dating.
You Are In a Relationship
This should seriously be a no-brainer, but if you have decided to pursue a relationship with someone, it is time to deactivate your account. You can't really be serious about a healthy relationship if you are still checking out other people online.
Let me give you a piece of advice - if you are with someone you really care about, you should not even want to still look at other potential love interests. The grass just isn't greener on the other side if you are with a good person that deserves to be with you. Either make the decision to be serious with the person you are dating and quit using dating sites, or break up with that person and look for someone new.
You Are Not Having Any Fun at All
I will be honest, I really do not find dating that fun anyway. I always get really nervous before a date, and as a woman, a lot of preparation goes into looking and smelling nice. Quite frankly, it is a lot of work. Once I meet a nice guy though, he can make up for all the common little dating annoyances.
However, if you find you are absolutely dreading each date, it might be time to stop dating for a bit. Even worse, if you feel sick to your stomach imagining what the date will be like, obviously you need to stop torturing yourself. If you find you've become bitter towards any person you are dating, why keep doing it? You need a break and you need it now.
You Have Significantly Lowered Your Standards
Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with going with a more "realistic" approach when using online dating sites. I know some of my friends are way too picky. They should definitely lower their standards. If you are looking for a handsome blonde man over 6 foot tall that makes over $100,000 a year and has no kids or exes, you are shooting for the stars. Come back down to earth and date a nice normal guy.
However, if your expectations are pretty reasonable and you find that you are starting to lower the bar even more than ever before, you might need to take a break. For instance, I recently started to seriously consider going out with men on parole or with an extensive criminal record. Typically serious criminal activity is a dealbreaker for me, yet I was starting to consider it OK. That was when I knew it was time for me to deactivate my accounts for a while. No matter what standards you have for your situation, if you are starting to stoop lower than you should, it is time to take a break.
You Are Starting to Feel Bad About Yourself
I've been out on a lot of dates recently. It seems like the best guys are constantly rejecting me and the creepy guys won't stop bugging me. It is enough to make me cry sometimes. At times, I start to question why so many people can find someone and why I can't. I hate taking trips down Pity Me Road like that. Guess what? It is not doing me or anyone I date any good to keep going out with that attitude.
If your dates have been making you upset, treating you poorly, walking out on you, or just simply ruining your day, you can't keep up like that. You are going to become bitter and take it out on someone else. It is not fair to you or the poor people you are dating. There is no reason to feel bad about yourself in anyway. You've just had some bad luck and need a break. You are probably no longer even opening up to anyone any longer. If you've already given up emotionally, it is time to give up the dating sites for a while.
You Have Other Issues In Your Life
Let's face it, not all of us are ready to date. I can't tell you how many guys I've met on dating sites that are obviously not in a good place in their lives. They have a lot of baggage, they still resent their ex-girlfriends, they are in between jobs and living with parents, or they have some other personal issue going on. Some have drinking problems and others have gambling issues.
Even if you are really lonely and you are a sweet person, sometimes you need to stop dating and take some time to work on you. Instead of focusing on bringing someone new into your life, you should focus on yourself if you have issues that require rehab, institutionalization, or jail. A new person is not going to be able to solve all your problems; a new person will probably just create more. Take a break to work on becoming a better you and then you'll have a lot to offer someone else when you do decide to start dating again.
You Are Afraid
I want to make something very clear about this topic: sometimes you are going to be creeped out when you use an online dating site. I know that sounds disturbing to someone thinking about using a dating site for the first time, but it is true. I always tell people when they consider using online dating sites that you must have a lot of tolerance to be successful. If you scare easily, online dating is not for you. Every now and then, someone is going to come along and say something inappropriate. If you are easily offended and can't have a sense of humor about it, once again, online dating might not be for you.
With that said, sometimes people cross a line on dating sites. There are people that might say some extremely rude things to you or harass you on the site. You have every right to block that person. If that person really upset you, it is OK to file a complaint with the admins running the website. No one wants someone ruining a website and scaring away members. It is likely that person will be kicked off the site.
Sometimes people go way too far on dating websites. I've heard stories of people blocking someone and the person that was blocked rejoins the site under a new name and begins the stalking again. There is only so much the website can do when someone chooses to act like that. First of all, obviously this is a disturbed individual. Second, if that person is using a new email address each time, it is pretty impossible for the site to block him or her. My recommendation would be quitting the website. If you really enjoy using that particular website, it would be a good idea to quit, stay away for a few months, and then join again under a new screen name.
You Really Don't Have Free Time
Believe it or not, it takes time to get to know another person. Sure, we would all love to get to that comfortable stage where we are just hanging out, eating popcorn, and watching movies on the couch with our significant other. However, you can't just jump into that. It takes time to physically go out on dates and get to know another person. If you are dating plenty of people on dating sites, it becomes even more time consuming. Therefore, if you can't spare at least a few hours a week each week, online dating is not a good option for you.
One of the most annoying aspects of online dating are the people who do not have time to even go out on one date. They sit at their computer sending cute messages, but never go out with anyone. Most people are using dating sites to try to meet someone. Even if they are only looking for a casual hookup, most people still eventually want to meet up. If you barely have time to respond back to messages, and you never seem to have time to even go out on a date, then you need to give up online dating until you do have more time.
You Are Becoming Obsessed
When you use dating sites, there is a certain rush when you are approached by many people. Unfortunately, you can get used to all that attention, even if it is not real attention. To some degree, people are interested in a fake version of you. They don't know you, but perhaps you have a cute profile pic or you have a charming profile description. People are going to want to flock to you when you have a nice profile. It doesn't mean they like you as a person. You can let it get to head though.
If your day is starting to revolve around how many people send you messages, like your profile, add you to their "meet me" list, add you as a favorite, or any other activity like that, then you could be a bit of an online dating addict. I've never heard of someone needing psychological treatment for an online dating addiction, but it can still become a problem.
If you are less productive at work because you constantly check your profile, you seriously need to quit now. If you find you are not going out with friends as much since it would cut into your online dating message sessions, you might have a problem. If you feel you have an unhealthy obsession with online dating, chances are, you probably do. Taking a break for a bit is probably the best thing to do and see how you react without online dating. You might just be pleasantly surprised about how much better you feel!
Once You've Quit, Then What?
After you've taken the big plunge and deactivated your online dating accounts, then what? It is totally normal to feel a little depressed or let down. After all, you probably went into the situation with the best of intentions only to find out it didn't work out. Don't feel bad about it. It was a learning experience and plenty of perfectly normal, well-adjusted people don't find success for years with online dating. It really takes time for some folks. Other people try it, but decide it is not right for them and they never rejoin. It happens to the best of us. You are not a failure! You are a success at knowing when to take a break because it is best for you.
Once the initial feelings of disappointment subside (and they will!), you will probably feel a sense of relief. When online dating is starting to bring you down in some way, you may not realize how unhappy you were until it is over. Now you no longer have to message random people, block online creepers, have awkward phone conversations, and go out on lots of first dates. Instead, you can spend your time doing activities you really enjoy.
If you find you are bored without all the excitement and drama that is online dating, I would recommend trying some new activities. Perhaps you can join a bowling league or try yoga. Maybe you've always wanted to learn how to knit and the community center is offering classes. You can even volunteer your time if you feel passionate about a certain cause. Not only can you find new fun ways to fill your time, you will be meeting new people and you never know where that could lead.
Depending on how many dates you went on, you could also find yourself in need of extra cash. Whether you had to pay for the dates yourself or if you bought a whole new wardrobe to impress your dates, you probably shelled out some money. Not to mention, if you paid to use a dating site, you could certainly use more money. Why not get a new part-time job, even if it is only seasonal? You can earn some extra cash, meet new people, and possibly get some great discounts depending on where you work.
If online dating had been stressing you out for a while, you made the right choice taking a break from using dating sites. You can still date some of the people you met online (especially if you are in a relationship with one of them!) and take some time to explore other activities on your own. Being single can be a great experience and there is no reason why you shouldn't enjoy it.
Copyright ©2012 Jeannieinabottle
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