I had already given up on OKCupid and Tinder. The former was just a little too chaotic and trollish for me, and the latter much too binary. Of course even a binary experience is moot when the positive results never exceed zero.
I’d been too stubborn to cede on Match though. For the most part it’s a well-designed system, and obviously works for many. My main qualm had been with it lacking a discussion forum, but that’s not a deal-breaker and hasn’t hampered the success of others. Match provides effective mechanisms for people to express interest and contact others, and I find no major fault with their methods.
I had to finally admit to myself that my failures there are mine to own.
There are aspects of myself I can’t control. In a nutshell, I’m old, short and unattractive. There’s nothing I can do about any of those traits, so I deal with them as best I can. The problem is that these shortcomings lead me to overcompensate.
As friends and family persistently inform me: I try too hard.
This goes beyond dating, too. You see it on Twitter, Facebook and even this blog. Anything worth doing gets overdone. I tend to be motivated more by anxiety than anything else. Nagging fears that contend I missed something, left something out, did a crap job. It’s the curse of the creative person: with each gift comes a little voice insisting we can and should do better.
I know I’m not alone in this. I tend to associate with other creatives and constantly hear the same self-doubt, the same relentless self-examination of worth. I see it in my youngest son and find his anxieties to be a mirror of my own… just magnified due to the inexperience of youth. I need to do better if he’s going to.
Age has definitely softened my edges. I don’t get quite as apprehensive as I used to, and I’ve learned to live with imperfection. Still, the Voices of Inadequacy are there. Every time I write, draw, code, whatever. It’s not good enough.
I had hoped that online dating could help there, filtering the anxiety out so that by the time I met a candidate in person I’d be well-past the initial contact panic. And in theory it should. Yet time after time, I failed to get a response from anyone I found interesting. Nothing. Not even a “no thanks, not interested”.
There is no critic harsher than silence.
Friends try reassuring me with dismissals of online dating itself and claims that it’s my “Currently Separated” status that’s at fault. Maybe. So perhaps I try again months from now when I finally get a long-overdue divorce done.
But for now I’ve hidden my profile and I’m going to try really hard not to fish around on Match until I can change that status. Along the same lines, I’m going to work harder at keeping a New Year’s resolution of chilling more on social media.
Your indulgence is appreciated.