When the wheels start to come off, take your foot off the gas pedal. It’s a great piece of advice, come to think of it, and so I took my foot off the gas pedal. I switched it to the brake, but found it depressed right down to the floor with no corresponding decrease in speed. I was careening, heading towards a crash.
Within a couple of months of joining Plenty of Fish, I had managed to complicate what should have been a fairly simple endeavor: find an attractive woman who found me attractive in turn. And by attractive, I don’t just mean physically, but in the myriad of ways we humans entwine our romantic selves with our mates, whether you think it’s chemical, electrical or our very souls.
I had gone out on several dates with women I had considered pretty from what I saw in their pictures. I dated one I wasn’t at all attracted to physically, but who just seemed so happy and robust I wanted to see if I could set aside the physical and be subsumed by her sheer joyfulness (I could not).
Online dating can become a sort of addiction. I’ve read quite a bit about this; I’m not alone in falling into this trap. I was messaging multiple women, literally texting down a list, trying to keep the names straight. I’d sometimes have to ask for a picture to be sent because I could no longer remember which Kathy from POF I was messaging. God forbid, I gave a woman my number and she’d text some time later without telling me who it was. I’d have to try and draw out personal information surreptitiously and go back to the dating site and try to cross-reference. Sometimes, I’d get it wrong and be called out on it: “Um, you’re confusing me with one of your other women.”
It was exciting at first. I found affirmation there. Maybe I’m better looking than I thought, more interesting, funnier. Let me introduce myself, I thought, get to know each other. With time and better acquaintance, I figured most would see through me. What I found was the addiction became all-consuming. It took all my time, all my thought. And really, it didn’t make me feel better. But when you’re speeding down a hill in a car and the wheels start to fall off, there’s only one thing to do. Crash.
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