Online dating is a game that requires payment. Either method, whether it’s actual money, or your heart, is difficult to give up. It’s an especially tricky game when you have expectations. Strike that. Anything is tricky when expectations are involved. But expectations can run high when there is so much potential for so much to go right.
The truth is that you could play the online dating game for years, and only have a handful of meaningful connections. Sure, you might exchange pleasant small talk with several people, but maybe once or twice will you truly find something that promises rainbows and roses.
I think back to my first ever match, and I hardcore cringe at how hot I was for a guy just because he happened to “like” my profile. I thought, “Oh my God, I might have a boyfriend within the month!” Actually, that guy and I never even met. He didn’t even reply to my first message.
You see, I may be twenty-six, but I still have a young girl’s romantic aspirations. Heck, my favorite musical is Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s Cinderella because sparkly, romantic fairytale schmaltz is my jam! Despite my romantic inklings, though, I always hesitate to say on dating sites, “I’m just a whoever-I-am waiting for my prince.”
The very connotation of fairytale romance invites so much cynicism nowadays; even Disney, the modern inventor of “fairytale romance,” has cracked at it since 2007 with Enchanted. If a man says he’s waiting for his princess, it’s adorable and sensitive. But vice versa, a woman waiting for her prince is passive and naïve. A man can find his princess no problem, but a woman can’t find her prince because they’re not real and her standards are nigh on impossible.
But it all comes back to expectations.
I got ready for my first date like it was the prom: I spent a week shopping for the right outfit, and agonized over my hair and makeup, determined to make the best impression I could. I’d been talking to this man for a week, and this date could determine whether we went any further, which I wanted. Not necessarily because I was head over heels — goodness, it had only been one week — but more because someone merely expressing interest made this high school wallflower so gosh-darned jittery.
Long story short, there was not a second date. But I was proud, at least, that I’d gotten my first-ever date in the bag.
Over time, I learned to let my expectations go when meeting men. Just because they “liked” my profile, it didn’t mean that it was true love. And especially just because we have a good first date doesn’t mean we should make a Christmas card together. I admit, I still get the slightest flutter with each “like.” But then Time and Experience will snap in my face and say, “No, no, no, young lady. You can only feel this way when he actually talks to you and actually charms you.”
That’s not to say that online dating should not be exciting. You’re allowed to be eager about meeting new people and watching where the journey leads. But you might have a problem when you mourn the loss of a man who never even said “Hello” to you.