A darling reader wrote to me for some advice. I liked her questions so much that I’m publishing the questions and answers here (minus any identifying details).
1) Do you think its possible to get addicted to online dating and never be able to have a normal relationship again?
It’s absolutely possible to get addicted to (semi-addicted to, enthralled by, etc.) online dating. It’s a world full of possibilities and those possibilities are being delivered directly to your mailbox. Similar to drugs and alcohol, it’s an escape from reality. You can view someone’s profile and daydream how wonderful life would be with them. Unfortunately there are a few problems with online dating.
The picture that you’re getting of someone from their profile is entirely advertisement. It’s not how they are, it’s how they want to be perceived. Even if it’s not lies it’s certainly filtered through what they consider to be the truth. You need to learn how to evaluate and discard. This sounds harsh but it’s kinder than stringing someone along. Pay attention to what they’re saying and within a few emails you’ll know if there is potential or not. Remember, the onus of evaluating their suitability is on you, not them.
Online dating tends to be a refuge for liars, cheats and the socially awkward. I’m not saying that there aren’t some very good people on dating sites (statistically it would impossible for all of them to be criminals-in-waiting). When you meet someone through online dating, there are few potential punitive measures they’ll suffer for being a jerk. If you had met this person through friends or family they may be ostracized for poor behavior while this isn’t true if he’s a complete stranger. Again, you’re going to have to be the one to sort through them. If something isn’t ringing true, ask them nicely to explain it. If it still isn’t making sense to you, trust your intuition.
It is entirely possible to go back to having a normal relationship but you’ll have to want to and to work for it. For most people, online dating eventually starts to get old. You check your profile less frequently. Your standards for communication/dating will increase. You’ll evaluate people more quickly. You’ll date fewer people that you meet online but the dates will be better. Once you’re happy in a relationship, you won’t feel the pull of online dating. On the other hand, for some people they need to quit online dating cold turkey. Delete their profiles and not give into the temptation. Only you can determine what’s right for you.
2) Is is crazy and stupid to want to give an old relationship another crack if I spent the last month of it crying.
It’s not crazy to want to give an old relationship another chance but you have to start from scratch. You are probably still carrying baggage from the previous attempt. When attempting to try a relationship again, you have to seriously look at where you are, where he is and if your previous difficulties have been resolved. Most people need a substantial time to heal after a relationship ends before starting a new relationship – this is also true in the case of trying to re-establish a relationship. Both people need to have a solid footing in who they are and what they want before they can attempt to have a successful relationship. I’m not saying that it’s impossible but it does require some rather difficult conversations that both of you may or may not be ready to have.
As always, my mailbox is open: firstname.lastname@example.org