I like to consider myself a pretty driven person. I like setting goals and working to achieve them. Bonus points if I can use a spreadsheet to track my progress. But sometimes, it gets tough. Sometimes it seems like too much work. Like I can't do it. Or maybe it's not worth it.
When that happens, I tend to try to talk myself through it. I think about why I'm working toward that goal and ask myself, "How bad do you want it?" I'm not going go all Eric Thomas on y'all, but during those times I have to remind myself that if I want something bad enough, I have to commit to it, and all the effort will be worth it in the end. I just have to assess how bad I really want it, fix my attitude, and keep pushing.
However, I recently had an experience that made me realize that there are times when the answer to "How bad do you want it?" is simply: "Not THAT much." Now, I hope you're not expecting this explanation to be anything deep because I'm talking about online dating (or more accurately, not dating).
I mentioned in a previous post that, despite my bad experiences, I was going to try to psyche myself up to try online dating again, and I've been back at it for a month or two now. I'll be honest. Since this is like my 20 billionth attempt, I'm pretty much over it at this point, and my effort has been minimal. I have been sticking to Tinder and Bumble because they're easy. Throw some photos on the app, write a clever little sentence or two, and swipe away. No lengthy questionnaires, no cost, and, most importantly, no messages from people you're not interested in.
All hail the mutual match! If you're not familiar, on these apps both people have to "like" each other in order to send messages to the other. So you're not receiving messages from people you don't want to talk to. If someone is inappropriate or you lose interest, you can "unmatch" them, and they can't contact you again. Plus, there's no risk of being embarrassed by starting a conversation with someone and having them be all, "Ew. Girl, bye," since it was a mutual match to start with. Actually, I should probably say there's LESS risk of that because there are always those guys who "like" everyone just to see who they match with. They usually unmatch me right away, though, so it's all good.
The downside is that Tinder and Bumble are kind of known as "hook up" apps. Of course, that's NOT what I'm using them for, so the likelihood of meeting my soul mate this way probably isn't great. But you never know what will happen, and swiping through profiles is about the max effort I've been willing to put in consistently lately.
However, sometimes when I hit this point (remember, I've been here before), I give myself a pep talk and decide to get serious about trying to meet someone. Now, some might think that "getting serious" means maybe actually going to places where one might meet someone new. Well, in that case, "some" wouldn't know me very well. For me, getting serious about trying to date means taking my talents to Match or eHarmony, the sites for the more dedicated online daters. Or something.
By dedicated, I mean the people who are willing to answer a bunch of questions and fork over some cash to meet their potential soul mate. Both Match and eHarmony will let you join for free, but you have to pay to send and receive messages. I've tried them both before, and neither worked out very well so I've always considered them a waste of money. I have also had a longstanding grudge against eHarmony since the first time I tried to sign up (10 years ago maybe?), when I received an email letting me know that "unfortunately, some people just can't be matched." Like, they seriously told me I wasn't compatible with anyone on their site. Rude, Neil Warren. Just rude.
Anyway, last weekend I happened to see a commercial for eHarmony advertising a "free communication weekend." What the heck, I figured. If it's free to send messages for a couple of days, I might as well give it a try to see if it would be worth paying after that. So I signed up, uploaded some photos, and started on their never-ending personality and values assessment. When that was done, I answered the essay questions. I submitted everything and waited for the internet to do its magic and show me my husband. Or something.
I was confused, though, when my matches showed up, and none of them had pictures. Only a first name, location, and age were displayed, which I could click on to see how compatible our personalities are and how they answered the open-ended questions. On these dating sites, some people choose not to include a photo, but I thought it was strange that literally no one had one. Then I saw something at the bottom of the page. It turns out, eHarmony got extra greedy and now makes you pay to even see what your matches look like.
Are ya kidding me?!? I realize that appearance isn't everything, but come on. Even if I could send messages during the "free communication weekend" I want to see a photo of who I'm talking to. I think most people would. So I clicked the link to see the membership plans, and I'll be dadgum if the 3-month package (the shortest period you can choose) wasn't $56.99 per month. PER. MONTH.
Obviously, I would really like to meet someone I'm compatible with. I want to date. I want to have a partner in crime for life's adventures. I want to eventually find "the one." But how bad do I want it? Y'all, $56.99 is more than I pay for electricity each month. Do I want to find a man more than I want lights on in my house? Sorry, eHarmony, I just don't want it bad enough.
On the upside, though, I have realized that maybe I do want it bad enough to put in more effort than just a few swipes a day. Maybe I want it bad enough to put myself in more situations to meet new people---to see what's really out there in the real world. Maybe---just maybe---I want it bad enough to take some risks. (Just kidding, I don't take risks...but it sounded good, right?)
I might not want to date more than I want electricity, but I want it bad enough to stop expecting the man of my dreams to just show up at my door. That sure would be nice, though, so I'll leave the light on for him just in case.