We all know that online dating has worked for plenty of people. Even if we don’t know several couples in real life (I happen to know of at least three personally), we see the success stories all over the home page of any dating app we might decide to take a look at, Catholic Singles included.
So it’s natural to think and hope it will work for you too. And really, there’s plenty of probability that it will. But why then, you might ask, is it so blasted difficult to find someone online for you?
Rest assured that it’s not just you. For every success story, there were probably several failed attempts and discouraging unreturned messages.
But when you’re in the thick of it and getting discouraged, it’s not always easy to remember that what you’re going through is a normal part of the process. So here are three things to remember when online dating seems unreasonably hard.
The Dynamics of Dating Site Messaging can be Complicated
You see a profile you like. So you send a message. And… you never hear back. Days and weeks go by with no response, and you naturally assume it’s because the person you messaged has no interest in you. Ouch.
But it’s not always that straightforward.
In the case of Catholic Singles and a lot of sites like it, messaging is a feature for paying members, but it’s also possible to have a profile and receive a message if you’re a free member.
So lots of people create profiles for free and might browse a bit to see if they find someone interesting. If they don’t immediately find someone, they might forget about their profile for a while and never even see that they have a message from you, until so much time has elapsed since you sent it that it might feel kind of awkward to respond, even if they are interested.
Is this an unsolvable problem? Not entirely. Probably the best approach is to send a message and then move on, hoping for a response but not counting on it. And knowing that if they don’t respond, it’s not necessarily because they’re not interested.
Another help for this issue is to focus on finding potential matches that are new members or online at the moment to help eliminate the problem of accidentally contacting people who are inactive on the site.
Choice Paralysis is a Real Thing
It’s obviously not always the case that the person you’ve messaged is inactive, especially if you are purposefully trying to only get in touch with those who are more likely to see your message. So does that mean your unreturned message recipient doesn’t like you?
Most of the time in life, having several different options is a good thing. But not always. Have you ever found yourself nearly overwhelmed by having too many choices? For me, it’s the ice cream section at the grocery store. Caramel Crunch, or Chocolate Brownie? And, oh no, why did they have to add new flavors to the fro-yo section??
While choosing a date is obviously a lot more nuanced than choosing an ice cream flavor, the same principal can apply: Having too many options can make people hesitate to make a choice at all. And let’s be honest, in the online dating world, there really are a lot of options.
Rejection is Not a Reflection of Your Worth
This is true in all dating, not just online. And it’s a lot easier to say than to feel.
Whether the person you’ve contacted online actually thinks you’re a good potential match for them or not doesn’t make you more or less valuable as a person. Even if you’ve started dating someone, feel an awesome connection with them, and they dump you, it’s still not a reflection of your worth.
It may (and probably will) feel like a reflection of your worth, but your true worth is found in your identity as a child of God.
Rejection hurts, no matter the platform or area of life. And it’s very difficult not to take it personally, very hard to avoid the trap of thinking that you will never find success since it didn’t work out this once.
In reality, though, there are any number of factors that could influence why you’re not currently one of those success stories with this person you thought sounded perfect for you. So try your best to be mindful of the fact that the it might have nothing to do with your own level of desirability.
And if you do find yourself hung up on feelings of worthlessness over this, it might be a good idea to take an honest look at yourself and find out if you have deeper self-esteem issues that you need to address.
Keep in mind that online dating is hard for everyone. So don’t give up, even when it feels like everyone else has instant success stories. Because most of the people in those success stories probably felt at one point just as discouraged as you do now.