The Price Paid for Online Dating

To date is to strive for balance.

This notion has been canon for as long as we’ve followed our courtship norms in the Western world. The game has changed significantly but the players remain the same.

Care for a malt? Why not head to the drive-in for a movie? I hear the new roller skating rink downtown is just dashing. Wont you come with?

Those openers may be out of date, sure, but if you tried them on your online dating apps you might get a few hits. And don’t lie – we’ve all given the swipe match system a try.

There’s no shame in it, but it boasts some pretty detrimental nuances to successful dating.

While the intricacies of our dating habits have evolved as trends develop and take hold, the core principle of a successful date has not. The ability to balance another person’s needs while still satisfying your own remains the name of the game and when those needs are met, you’re usually smiling, laughing and having a good time on your date – or was it that glut of bar rail Appletinis I managed to choke down while you waited for a table? It’s of no matter anyway. I feel chatty. I’m so glad I swiped right on this person.

But after a certain period of time almost inevitably with all swipers, the glow wears off. Sure, the sex is great but why do I feel so empty and uninterested? Wasn’t this just the same person who, initially, made my heart flutter, stomach heave and loins stir?

Then you feel the dagger hit: “I’m not willing to make this work anymore”.

The death knell. The Shakespearian hubris. The wretched feeling of finality.

Where most people struggle with their dating lives is how to find compromise in that balance. What’s too selfish for some, may be deemed selfless to others.

The interpretations of a needier individual will vary vastly compared to a laid-back personality type who can often co-mingle seamlessly without romantic implications. The permutations of these types of scenario are infinite.

While the monotony of sorting through which human beings you’ll want to wake up next to and the ones you’d simply like on top of you can be daunting, it’s an inevitable process. We all must face it if we want to share our lives with a certain someone.

Since we’re human beings and convenience is a highly sought after attribute thanks to some fancy little wiring in our frontal lobes, the online dating apps were born.

Forget your stock portfolio. Throw those bonds out the window. Stop googling “Bitcoin price” in your last ditch attempt at an overnight rich quick scheme. You’re already a noted asset trader; a connoisseur if you will. A real Wolf of Wall Street type relegated to buying and selling in items so intangible that you haven’t even noticed.

That’s right – the minute you’ve installed the app, you’ve made a purchase. Just like every other stock or bond, you’re now invested in your romantic future. Making the profile, coming up with your witty bio and how many photos from the beach you’d like to post to show that you’re sexy but “art sexy” are all implied costs.

As it is in any financial institution, costs imply taking on debt. So congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of romantic expectations! That’ll look great on your mantle on a plaque next to your student debt and all those participation medals that the boomers think we’re drowning in.

Reservations about the type of people online dating draws aside – even before you take your first swipe, you’re indebted to the app. So let’s get to work! Let’s work that debt down! You meticulously sort through cuties and segment out the duds, send a few messages and eventually coordinate a date. Investment recouped, right?

Well – not entirely. Your return on your romantic investment has to be sufficient and frankly, it’s a real pain to measure.

When dealing with the heart, one must first consult the soul. These two dominant forces of emotion, who ultimately decide what sense of balance you can achieve on your dates or in your prospective relationships, control everything. The vast majority of people don’t have the wherewithal to listen to either of these fundamental emotional drivers and that can create a toxicity you didn’t know existed within you.

The ability to listen to both heart and soul stems directly from the amount of clarity you have in your life. Clarity, by nature, is created through discipline and avoids the cheap, easy to consume internet currency of prospective romance. Clarity grants you the ability to open your “third eye” (or in this case: ear) and listen to what your mind truly desires.

It is absolutely not conducive to the deafening ire of swiping through 100 prospective dates at a time.

And while fun for a bit, dating apps ultimately fail on a single simple account: they encumber you.

Long before the internet existed, marketers would use the same techniques to promote feverish investment in branding principles. It targets a very specific region of the subconscious which seeks familiarity.

How can you know what you want before your conscious mind has even had a chance to feel it? It’s an impossible glass ceiling that we’ve all fallen victim to at one point in our lives.

Say for example you meet a lovely human being, an actual romantic prospect, organically through your regular routines and social endeavours. You get to live spark in real time all while having a tangible moment of enhanced clarity. If you had met on Bumble, that moment can never be recouped or replicated because first impressions are ultimately a one chance affair. You’re debt free before the interaction even starts. There’s no race to get your investments back and certainly no pressures to achieve the dating balance immediately. You can simply be you.

Things are natural – they flow. They’re congruent from both parties. They’re void of “likes” and other noisy, artificial endorphin pumping online widgets. They allow two human beings to simply be as they are.

Besides maybe the occasional semi-enthused over-the-pants job, what good are the apps anyway? Your next great thing could be walking right past you while you’re busy swiping through fields of mediocrity.

Don’t be lost nose down in the noise.




Written by: Andrew Denny




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