THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
Online Dating: Is That Really How You Met?
Online dating is the worst with swiping, algorithms and making a decision about another human based on a few pictures and words. Even if you meet your "forever and ever" online, you still have to tell people that you met online. Why is this still seen as a negative?
Online dating: There’s still a stigma around it.
I have friends who met at work one day, and they have been together ever since. His wife was telling me of a couple that met on match.com and how envious they were of those who meet "organically."
"Let’s tell our kids we met at the park/school/work" is the finishing line on dating profiles.
I think there’s this unmistakable pressure to have that perfect start to a relationship. Not the Disney Prince Charming, but better than swiping right drunk one night outside a dive bar after meeting someone at the bar failed; last generation’s "online dating" equivalent.
The issue with this is how you meet has so little to do with the rest of your life. The couple I mentioned doesn’t tell me about the time they met each other at work. They share stories deep into their relationship. They tell about the time they saw WILCO at the Hollywood Bowl, the weirdness of living in Hollywood a block away from the Scientology Center or the disaster that was moving from that apartment to the valley.
My point is there’s too much emphasis on the beginning of a relationship. There’s too much weight placed on where you met, how you met and the circumstances around it. I know of someone else that ended her relationship with the person because they met online. "It does not fit the story I want to tell my children." To be fair, it must not have been perfect in every other realm of the relationship, but it seems like having these pre-chosen qualifications may be detrimental.
"People put to much thought into relationships," a friend said. "If the person makes you happy and you love them, stay. If they don’t or you don’t, leave."
But how do you not overthink it? It might literally be the most important decision you make in your life. Go to any media: books, music, film — a large portion of it all is about love and how people first meet. The film is called When Met Sally. We tuned in for nine seasons to watch How I Met Your Mother. The first meeting is intertwined into what we think of as love. How can love happen over an app?
The key is it doesn’t, and that’s OK. It happens through the dates and interactions. It happens after the swipe, after the carts bump into each other or in line for a concert. It happens when she has an emergency and you are there to drive her to the airport and are there when the plane touches with a coffee in hand. It happens when she steals a rose from a restaurant for you to break the rules of society in more ways than one. It happens when two people that are meant for eachother meet, not interested in the how.
So continue swiping and messaging and searching. The journey starts with a step, but the one’s after are just as important.
Oh, online dating.