Lessons from online dating – relationships and instant gratification


I’ve found that my occupation has a direct correspondence to the amount of new, date-able women I meet in my day to day routine activities. It turns out that certain occupations don’t offer an abundance of opportunities in that aspect.

In all levels of school there are routine interactions with other students. As I grew older and specialized more, I noticed that the amount of interaction stayed relatively consistent but that the diversity narrowed. In middle and high school, I was meeting and interacting with all types of people. In my later years of college, it was mostly restrained to these guys. Obviously not the most diverse bunch. Don’t get me wrong… There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a computer nerd. It just means that I’m not interested in dating you. I tend to think that opposites attract anyways.

You might guess that when I got a full time job with said computer nerds that my interaction diversity didn’t magically increase. You guessed right!

So I have a void space to fill. Most of my routine interactions are stagnant and there is no change in sight. I’m good at what I do… Can you justify changing your occupation just to meet others? Education doesn’t bring me the fulfillment that problem solving does, even if that means being routinely available to the wealth of date-able women.

Occupying the Void

As many reading this post, I grew up in a new age of instant gratification. It is my only reality. My occupation even reinforces it.

The problem that I face in occupying the void is that I’ve never had to try to date. It just happened as a result of my routines. When my routines don’t lend themselves to dating opportunities, then I don’t date – it’s that simple. I enjoy being single but there are certainly times that I miss having a relationship. Eventually I decided to rely on my favorite instant gratification machine, the internet.

When I was younger, I remember thinking that online dating was stupid. I thought I could never be so desperate to stoop to that level. When I first signed up for an online dating site I told myself I was just browsing. The second time I actually wanted to meet aforementioned date-able women.

It was a slow revelation… I wasn’t so desperate to date that I needed online dating. It was just a convenient option that allowed me to short-circuit a lengthy process that was no longer part of my routine: interacting with a diverse set of people.

Ingrained Habit

Some people act uncharacteristically brave when they are behind a keyboard and the cloak of anonymity. I would usually classify myself outside of that group of people. But online dating is a different beast altogether. It allowed me to expose my identity while anonymously judging others.

Even though online dating helped to add some diversity that was missing from my routine, it only did so at a superficial level. I wasn’t actually meeting the women. All I could instantly do was read and see their version of themselves. Somehow that was enough to make a judgement and decide that a women was not date-able. Regardless of how hard I tried, I could not shake the habit of instant gratification.

In real life I reserve judgement of a person. But online dating allowed me to judge someone before even giving them a real chance.

Sometimes I think instant gratification has changed us for the worse. But then I watch TV, play video games, order delivered food, pay bills, and read news while sitting in one place. Clearly instant gratification is only going to advance.

The takeaway here is that you can’t take shortcuts in your relationships – starting or sustaining. The gratification of a relationship comes in the form of a journey. In my opinion, online dating can only help with that if you go into it with the right mindset. Maybe one day I’ll understand that mindset. In the meantime, I’ll continue my old method of not trying :).

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One comment on “Lessons from online dating – relationships and instant gratification
  1. Danny Hlavinka says:

    I have always contended that your generation has been a little bit _____ed by having grown up in the era of instant gratification. Not sure what the correct word is here. Not really spoiled. Not really skewed. Perhaps it has just made y’all a little less patient is what I am trying to say. Clearly the speed at which things happen these days is a huge plus in many circumstances. But there are just some parts of life where patience is a must in order to have the best and/or most rewarding experience. And I couldn’t agree with you more in your last paragraph “…you can’t take shortcuts in your relationships”. As I have told you many times before, things happen for a reason. When the right person comes along and it is time – you will know it. And you will look back and understand why it took longer than you originally thought it should. In the mean time, enjoy the journey. :-)

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