Have you ever experienced a mild period of depression following a shopping trip?
Maybe it’s around the holidays and you’ve been on a 3-week search for the perfect gift or it’s just before a major event and you’re on the hunt for a super flattering suit or cocktail dress. You think to yourself, maybe one more store will have it. I just need to check one more shopping center or search JCrew.com one more time and then I’ll have it. That build-up and anticipation of finding what you’ve been looking for, immediately followed by the disappointment of not getting the thing you want can be life-sucking.
Online dating sometimes feels like a bad trip to the mall. You think, if I just log into OKCupid with a shopping list of what I want, I’m sure I’ll find a woman who looks like the girl next door and has a sense of humor like one of the guys. Or maybe that new niche site How About We will have some guys in stock who listen when I speak and remember my favorite flowers are peonies. But then nothing happens. You spend weeks surveying your options, months without getting matched with anyone who’d make a viable partner, and soon you’re back in a relational rut, feeling almost worst than before you started the whole process.
At the risk of your own sanity, now might be the time to call it quits. While eHarmony claims that an average of 542 of its users a day get married after meeting on the online dating site, there is no guarantee that every person who tries online dating will find the one. And if you’ve been dating online for an extended period of time, going on so many first dates that your introductions are basically scripted and you no longer refer to past dates by their name but by superlatives like “Muffin Top” or “Mayonnaise Freak,” logging off might be your best bet.
When you take a break from the search, you give yourself the bandwidth to pursue other opportunities for connection, like expanding your social circle by joining a group dedicated to a hobby you love or spending more time away from your computer and out at coffee shops or bookstores where you might bump into someone with similar interests. Taking a hiatus from online dating isn’t an indication of failure or somehow confirmation that ‘no one will ever want you.’ It just means that’s not the avenue for you at this time. So fine–take a break and try again when you’re refreshed and ready to jump back into the hunt.
What do you think? What are some signs you should call it quits and take a break from looking for love online? We asked two of our readers how long they had been dating strangers from the internet. Here’s what they had to say:
I was signed up for about a year, though considering the tradition of “I caught a fish this big,” it might’ve been closer to 6 months.
Haaa. About 1 month and some change. Although a very good guy friend of mine was also on Match and we got sent each other’s info… I told him he had to take me out anyway.
Read more in our “Looking @ Love Online” series: