The Dark Side of Online Dating: Getting Dumped and Getting Over It
When you date, you risk being dumped. When you date online the risk of being dumped is multiplied. In this post I am going to look at why dumping is inevitable, and why you shouldn’t worry about it (too much). I’ll finish with a look at the different type of dumps you might experience. The grande finale is an emergency plan to survive a really painful dump.
Why dumping is inevitable online –
Being dumped sucks. No one likes to be dumped. In evolutionary terms, we are primed to avoid rejection at all costs. The existence of generations before us dependent on, well, not being dumped. Avoiding pain is pivitol to human survival. This is as true when sticking your hand in a camp fire as it is when receiving a fierce scorching to the heart.
As sure as eggs is eggs, if you date online, you will (almost certainly) get dumped a few times. Perhaps more times than is polite, even. If you are a stranger to the experience of being dumped then this might come as a bit of an unfun surprise. It is however, part and parcel of online dating. Here’s why –
Dating companies do not sell relationships per se. They sell access to a network of people. The relationship/love bit is a possibility, not a given. You would be unwise to realistically consider every person you meet on the way to the grocery store to be a potential life mate. Despite the dating “filter”, it’s good practice to apply a little bit of grocery store realism to online dating too.
Messaging is only a reflection of how you might get on in person. It’s easy to mistake a “spark” online as a money back guarantee of a spark offline. You really have to meet in person to realize the distorted circus mirror that is emailing or texting. This is possibly the main reason why dumps that occur online trump the number of dumps that occur offline. Minimize disappointment with a pre date phone call.
You can’t scout each other out properly online. Meet at work and you have the opportunity to check each other out in terms of eye candy and suitability while pretending to not being do that at all. When online dating you have to meet on a “date” – a heady meeting with the sole purpose to view each other under the harsh strip light of romantic intention. Dumps easily ensue.
You don’t have the gift of time. Have you ever been nonplussed during a first meet? And then, with the fullness of time, an innocuous newbie in your social circle is revealed to be armed with the same charm and joy giving powers of a small pup? Online dating requires a person to be assessed in a single meeting, hence the petri dish for dumps.
Stage fright dating can be scarey and you or your date might not be able to give your best “show.” Alas, dating “curtains.”
I don’t want to put you off online dating. I want to put you off feeling bad if you find a few dumps come your way.
Why you shouldn’t worry about being dumped (too much) –
Online dumps are more common than offline dumps for the reasons proposed above. Let’s look now at the reasons why you shouldn’t worry too much and save your emotional dollars to spend on the “grande finale” dump, and not before.
For simplicity, anything other than an immediate proposal of marriage will be classed as a “dump.” Arguably, if you haven’t yet met in person and have only formed a digital connection, the dump will not hold as much impact as a parting of ways say after 3 dates. For ease, whether in the digital landscape or physical arena, a dump is a dump is a dump.
The most important thing is to try not to worry about it too much either way. Ten meets or zero meets, refuse to feel bad. Dumping is a symptom only of the nature of meeting online, not a sign that you are an unlovable pup.
Don’t feel bad especially because:
It’s not that personal – a lot of the time the je nais sai qua you establish online doesn’t translate well in the real world. Nothing personal, just life.
It might be practical – practicalities that we think don’t matter too much actually do matter, a lot. You live too far away, their work leaves no time, your politics are a squiffy match etc.
Heart out to lunch – you might meet someone whose heart is multi-tasking. Maybe they are still in shock from a difficult break. Nothing to do with you, so don’t be blue.
Class clash – not always, but people look for matches from the same worlds. I met a date whose folks were dropped off to school in a Bentley. My most recent move involved a borrowed grocery store trolley. The gap was a chasm.
Offline you can evaluate whether you could realistically fit into each others lives before you entertain a dating scenario. This process of evaluating a good match may take 2 or 3 dates. 2 or 3 dates that would never happen if you already knew each other in person. The evidence of not being a good match would be pretty evident.
Diagnose your dump:
There are as many types of dumps as there are cheeses. I have chosen the most common dump scenarios particular to online dating, starting with…
The “online versus offline” dump
It’s possible to message for weeks, have an actual digital meeting of minds and then meet and realize that you are two strangers with not a jot in common. I had this experience. If said chap had suggested a first date at the alter of a chapel in full wedding attire, I would have perhaps considered it. So confident was I that we were a perfect match.
There was a certain je nes sais qua which existed online, but not in the real world. Two nice people, able to connect online but nowhere else.
The “disappearing fox” dump
Repeat above messaging for weeks and the digital meeting of minds. Suggest to meet in person and never hear from them again. Odd.
This is where you need to try and not feel bad at all. They haven’t even met you in person to reject you in all your 3D finery. Perhaps they like chatting online but didn’t really want to meet in real life. Maybe they are secretly partnered up already.
A sudden disappearance, although odd, doesn’t reflect on you.
The “practical” dump
You can overcome the first hurdle of meeting in person, like each other enough to arrange a few more dates and yet still not make it to relationship land. It could be a case of the “practical dump.”
Distance, conflicting beliefs/politics/ lifestyle can knock a relationship on the head before it gets past the 2 month mark, despite genuinely liking each other. This kind of dump is a bit more ouch and tricky not to take personally. Especially if you have told the office, your family and anyone within a 5 mile radius. Ops.
The “maybe there’s someone better” dump
Some people fall for the imagined possibility of a “better offer.” The seemingly endless opportunity to meet people online can trick our brains into thinking there will always be an endless fountain of beautiful people queuing up to date us, rather than the reality that probably only a handful of people would really meet us before giving us the love Pink Slip. In this scenario, your current beau might see you as a bit of a “wooden spoon” prize and wonder if the heiress of Walmart is only a few clicks away. Let them click off in that case.
The “grande finale ” dump
Also known as the “I can’t believe you are dumping me” dump or the “I will never get over this ever, ever ” dump.
This one is the worst and the one we all dread.
Emergency plan to survive the really painful dump
There’s nothing you can do but suffer the misery and come out the other end at some point. Despite any advice not to, most of us in response to the grande finale dump will –
> be completely shocked having ignored the sense of impending doom that might have indicated that an ending was on the cards all along
> feel mortified and miserable and have absolutely no interest in anyone else because the dumper has all your love chips (for now)
> talk about it with your friends until they can bear it no more.
> think about it until you can bare it no more.
> try and “undo” the dump with calls and texts, possibly when drunk.
> check our phones for a message with a little sunken heart
> generally think about it a lot, feel miserable and wallow in the sadness of loss
Just like being born and meeting your maker, you are horribly on your own with the journey back to having a beating heart again. The only suggestion I will make here is to take comfort in the natural cycle of human behavior. The gaps between feeling poop and feeling OK will get bigger and bigger and eventually that grief ridden sensation in your tum will pass.
Maybe we never get over the wounding. The noise of life though will return from the muffling misery of loss and we can store the hurt along with all of the other disappointments in the dark recess of our minds with “no go” tape and restore the skip to our step.
Save up all your upset for this kind of dump, and don’t waste your tears on the little ones that happen on the way.