I don’t think it’s something to ashamed of these days so I’m going to say it – I’ve been using the online dating site OK Cupid for a while now. I signed up around March, when my long term ex and I split up. I met someone on it in the summer, and I am recently back on it now after that didn’t turn out so well.
A Frankfurt friend of mine recently blogged about how, due to online dating, we don’t treat relationships in the same way as we used to. And I couldn’t agree more.
Like he says, there are pages and pages of single guys there apparently waiting for me to message them. I can be choosey. I AM choosey. I’ve created a list of things in my head that are absolute deal breakers, things that are really stupid. Like, I will only talk with a guy on there if he lives in Frankfurt. Nice guy, but in Darmstadt? Nope, sorry. Sounds interesting but is in Wiesbaden? No can do. If I can bike to his place from mine – then it’s perfect. If I have to change trains more than once to get from my place to yours, then I will reconsider. If I can’t get to you on my monats card, then forget it.
And it seems that I’m not the only one who is suddenly really picky.
I’ve found that people are more likely to treat relationships like they are disposable, too. I like to see the good in people – even if I know they are not right for me, I want to at least try to make it work. You never know, it might work out. But when a relationship ends now, I just have 100s of other guys to choose from. It’s no big deal.
Another factor in all this is that we are expats. I’ve only been on one date with a German from Ok Cupid. Expats are funny creatures. Most have been plonked here in Frankfurt by their companies – many didn’t choose to come here. All are in various stages of culture shock/acceptance. The chance of finding someone who is in the same frame of mind as you are even slimmer than back home. Not only do you have to find a partner who is the same maturity level as you, who wants the same kind of relationship as you, but you need to consider their plans as well. Do they want to stay here in Frankfurt for the long haul? Are they just staying here for a few months? Do they treat everything in their lives as it comes, and fear to think of the future?
I’ve never tried online dating before coming to Frankfurt, so I can’t tell how it differs if you are in your country, and with your own solid community – not all thrown together like expats. OK Cupid is free, and it’s a great place to meet new people – I’ve met quite a few girlfriends on there, and actually become closer to colleagues who use it too (“hang on, I know you, don’t I!”). But I’m starting to wonder if this is causing both a desperation – a need for contact in a lonely expat world – as well as an aloofness, when contacts and relationships are treated as disposable and replaceable.