FYI Online Daters: You’re missing out on your brain telling you who’s Mr. Right

Matters of the heart can be hit and miss, no matter how you go about it. But apparently dating is literally all a head-game, according to Scientific American.

Health and the science behind emotions and how they affect us physically is something that has always intrigued me. Today, I came across this basic video on what “love” looks like in your brain, chemical-wise. What interested me further was a point made by a friend that has prompted me to write about it today.

The video [posted below] breaks down male and female attraction via the five senses – touch, sight, sound, smell, etc. All of them work on your brain that helps you decide whether each male specimen is a possible candidate for a life mate.

“Yes, very [interesting],” my friend commented. “How, then, would they explain internet romances that develop while bypassing the sight, sound, smell stages they discuss in the beginning?”

Hmmm. Well, like any correspondence-only “relationship,” you’re always taking a risk. Meeting and finding your mate in a more organic manner, as I call it, is the natural way to fully know the potential of a man or woman. When starting on the Internet, so many things can sound great. You can pretend to be just about anything. Starting an online romance is partly sufficing a need of “affection/attention,” and the rest is just guesswork and fantasy.

I speak from experience, as I have been an Internet dater for about a year now – and am failing miserably. And I know why. Dating online is missing a huge component – the HUMAN component of personal, physical interaction and letting your brain do the rest.

You can go through the entire rigmarole, which can take a few days to a week, before meeting in person and finally realizing you’d wasted the entire time. The brain can tell us vital information about someone within a few seconds.

But dating on the Internet, I’ve discovered, is a much more complicated process.

Dating online usually unfolds, like so:

1) You sift through hundreds of bios, finding one that sounds promising, and
2) Emailing them, waiting for them to peruse your pictures and bio, and perhaps
3) Get an email back from him. You email back and forth for a day or two, judging each other’s responses, and then
4) Get on the phone and have a real-time, voice conversation. If those goes well, THEN
5) You set up a time and place to meet. Despite all that work, here still be dragons.

You would think that with so many people who hold accounts on dating sites, and the increased popularity online dating has garnered, there would be more success stories. Ha.

I’ve likened online dating to being even worse than going on a blind date. With a blind date, you have a good friend set you up with someone. Through association, the guy already has somewhat potential. The voucher of your date is coming from a trusted source. But online is a whole different ball game.

Why I’ve resorted to online dating is that I live in a small town, and don’t get out to meet anyone. Literally. And usually when I hit “find local matches” on these websites, I get a “no matches found” every time. The dating pool is that awesome.

Despite the bigger pools outside of my city, it’s still not easy to find great dating material. Nearly every man on the dating sites I frequent describe themselves in the same way: They’re a “laid back guy,” and have a “good sense of humor” – and very little else. They all sound like they’ve been cut out of the same mold. Yet even those that give a more detailed insight into their personality and lifestyle don’t give you the full picture that a real-time, in-person interaction can tell you about the basic animal attraction between you – and the turnoff personality ticks he may have.

Online dating depends on uploading an initial picture, followed up with a fantastic tagline – and a sufficient pitch in your biography in order to sell yourself to set yourself apart from others.

Looking at bios on dating websites is like window shopping – they all look good on the rack, but until you take it home and try it on, you don’t really know for sure if it’s the right fit. They are helpful, though, if you’re interested in knowing their religious affiliations, lifestyle, basic media-related likes and dislikes of other singles.

But for the most part, its purpose is to tell a huge audience of singles why they should message you, and not some other account holder.

Yet, I get the feeling that many men on dating sites don’t understand this. On the Internet, you won’t lock eyes and just “click”. You need the perfect sales pitch before a girl will even bother giving you the time of day.

So it can take days or weeks, even, to weed through the time-wasting bios and find some that sound like they have some potential. Once you have engaged your sense of sight (if they haven’t just uploaded pictures before they gained 50 pounds and are trying to hide that) and you’ve messaged back and forth a few times, the next step is talking over the phone (engaging your sense of hearing). Some websites have live video feed chat, but I’ve never used it. So, you chat and see what kind of conversationalist he is, what you two have in common, and most importantly, what he sounds like. Whether we like it or not, sometimes the way we sound can make or break you – including accents. Someone may sound great on paper, but if he or she sounds like a country bumpkin from Alabama or a Brooklyn streetwalker, that may change your mind a little.

If you pass those few tests, it all comes down to the in-person interview, or so it feels. Despite all the careful weeding and filtering, I have ended up with some very, very strange men on dates. And within a few minutes, I already know there is no way in hell that there is a date two in the future due to quirks, or the chemistry (it all comes down to those chemicals, after all) just wasn’t there. Or if I’m open to it, the guy usually poses the probability of a second, and then never follows through.

Ah, the dating game.

As you can see, what takes a woman or man less than a second (200 milliseconds, to be precise) to do in person, could take a week or more over the Internet. Somehow in the age of information, that seems so counter-intuitive.

We’ve got it backwards in this modern age of ours. In the old days, a man or a woman would find someone attractive, and base a date on that. The date would be to see if the woman or man was a good match as a partner.

Today, we scour those online dating sites looking for the perfect partner, and then find out if there’s chemistry. We forgive a lot of the person’s other ticks and not-so-perfect parts when we base a date on already established attraction. But no amount of similar tastes and life outlooks can make up for that simple chemistry.

We’re all so stuck at our computers, in our little cubicles, cut off from the world. And somehow, we’ve decided to let online dating sites using computer algorithms tell us who our best matches are, and that that’s better than doing it the old-fashioned way – letting our brains tell us who is Mr. Right.


2 thoughts on “FYI Online Daters: You’re missing out on your brain telling you who’s Mr. Right

  1. I have ended up with some very, very strange men on dates. And within a few minutes, I already know there is no way in hell that there is a date two in the future

    I await the ebook “confessions of a frustrated e-dater”


  2. I could write a book, seriously 😉 I already had a title that a friend of mine suggested after a conversation we had – “100 First-Date Wonders” 😉


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