Online Dating, Hooking Up, and Self-Esteem


So I’ve been doing the online dating thing for a while now but I haven’t really been what you would call “successful.” I’ve been using OKCupid, and I’ve gone on a bunch of dates, but I’d only been on a second (and third) date with one guy. Nobody else even approached a second date.

As for the guy I went on three dates with, I enjoyed his company, and we had fun, but I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to date him for various reasons I don’t feel like getting into. I don’t want to just date anyone, I want to date who I want to date. And that didn’t happen to be this guy.

So I started reevaluating what I wanted. I wanted to date someone, that much was true, but if that was it I could have dated this guy and would have theoretically been happy. But I don’t want to date someone for the sake of dating. I want to feel a spark, a connection – someone I know I could have fun with but also lie together in silence with. Someone I want to get down and dirty with and someone I want to kiss me on the cheek as we walk through a park. I want physical and emotional connection. I am affection starved both physically and emotionally.

But at the same time, I’m feeling more stable emotionally than I have in a long time. I want to date someone, but I don’t need to date anyone. But what I did want is physical affection. So…I turned to tinder.

I never thought of myself as one for hookup culture – I had never wanted to hook up with anybody before – with the exception of my ex, but I had feelings for him before we started hooking up, and then we started dating from there. But I certainly didn’t want to hook up with random people who I met online or at a bar or anything like that. Now, I decided I wouldn’t mind that. I wouldn’t go into a date looking for a hookup, but if it happened, then it happened. I would be safe about it, of course, and I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t want to do.

I like the format of tinder in some ways better than OKCupid – I like that you have to match with someone before you can message them, that way there’s at least some mutual attraction or interest, even if it’s superficial. Though I do like the in depth profiles and questioning of OKCupid, and I wish there was a popular dating site that combined the two features. But I digress. I matched with some people, had some conversations, went on some dates, and nothing happened, just like with OKCupid.

But then I matched with this one guy, we went on a date, had a lovely time, he was a lot of fun to talk to and we had a lot in common – and I ended up hooking up with him. He turned out to be a jerk who didn’t really contact me after that, but well, I had a one night stand. And that’s fine. I’m an adult who is in control of my own sex life, I’m being safe, and I’m doing what I want to do.

tinderSo I spent a lot of time thinking about that. Both good things (I had fun! I can do this! Dating is weird) and bad things (Why did he not want to see me again? What did I do wrong? Dating is weird). But overall it was a positive experience.

Now I had another date recently that went even better. I hooked up with that guy too, but we had more in common, and I really like him (from what I know of him so far) and he seemed to really like me. We haven’t talked much since the date, but we have talked. And I would like to see him again, so we’ll see where this goes.

My roommate is afraid this is some sort of cry for help of some kind, or that I’m manic, because I’ve never done anything like this before. But I don’t feel manic, and I don’t think I’m shouting out for attention or help. I just…wanted to take control of my dating and sex life and do what I wanted to do. Not be afraid of putting myself out there. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m going to go around banging random people all the time, every week, or whatever. I’m going to see where things go with this guy I just went on a date with, and if that doesn’t work out, well, I’ll probably take a break from online dating.

Online dating is hard. It’s like applying to jobs. You send out a whole bunch of resumes (likes or messages) and some people get back to you, some don’t. Sometimes you pass the phone screening to get an interview (text conversations to a first date) and sometimes you don’t. Now comes the whole self-esteem part that I mentioned in the title. I hate my body. I absolutely hate it. I weight even more than I did when I wrote my post “Fat” (though not /that/ much more…) and while I’m trying to lose the weight, it’s really hard. And then I think, if I don’t like my body, how could anybody else?

So that’s where hookup culture comes in again. The two guys I’ve hooked up with recently are really hot, in my opinion, and I’m really not. Yet somehow they were okay enough with my body to want to hook up with me. I mean, there’s a certain point where you can like a person’s personality, but if there’s no attraction at all there’s no way you’re going to hook up. (This is, of course, for people who experience sexual and physical attraction. Asexuals and demisexuals would have a different experience, for example.) So these guys were obviously attracted to me in some way. I can’t understand how, but that’s okay. It made me feel a little better about myself that I could find someone out there who was attracted to me.

But my physical self-esteem should not be based solely on who wants to bang me. And it’s not. It’s based on what I look like when I look in the mirror, and I look like a fat piece of shit, in my opinion. So that’s why my self-esteem is so low. I’m sure I can find people who will continue to be attracted to me in spite of or because of my body, but I need to find a way to be comfortable in my own skin.

Back to the online dating – I wrote a poem about my experience with tinder, and I actually really like the poem. I will post it in a separate blog post later. It’s a little sexual, but nothing explicit. I suggest you don’t read it, however, if you are uncomfortable with the idea of sex, or of thinking of me in particular as a sexual being.

I feel like online dating is the only way I’ll be able to date. I mean, there’s a cute new guy at one of my jobs, but I don’t feel like I can ask out a coworker. And there’s a cute girl who works at a restaurant that I frequent with my roommate, but I can’t ask her for her number while she’s working. And I also don’t know if she’s even into girls. And other than those two, I don’t have experience meeting with people outside of online.sunset-hands-love-woman

It makes me feel like I’ll be alone forever. And I really don’t want that. I believe in love, and really want to fall in love again. It’s definitely worth it, being in love, even when it ends in heartbreak. Though hopefully my next relationship won’t end as badly as my last one.

I want to find love. And I’m hoping it will happen soon. But as the song goes, you can’t hurry love, you just have to wait – love don’t come easy, it’s a game of give and take.

So I will wait, but I won’t wait for love just to come to me. I will seek it out. And maybe, one day, I’ll find it.


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