Online Relationshipping (Book Excerpt)

It’s been about 15 years since women created online relationship sites.

At first they grew slowly in popularity because there was a bit of a stigma attached to them – after all, who wanted to admit they had so much trouble finding a relationship they had to go looking for one on the internet? But now it seems everyone is using them. Though it strikes a guy like you as a little backwards that relationships come before dating, you figure who are you to argue with how things are done? Besides, you tell yourself, it’s worth going through the relationship part if it gets you to what you want, the dating part.

It’s been a long time since you last went on a date, and you’d like to jump online right now and start working your way toward one, but you can’t just yet – you’ve got a busy day ahead of you.

Remember, you’re a divorced single dad so you’ve got to get the kids dressed, fed and ready for school. After those things are done you’ll drop them off on your way to work. Oh, and remember, after work you’ve got your Pilates class to get to before picking the kids up again at band and soccer practice.

You’re also going to have to fit time in to take the car to the mechanic because it’s making that funny noise again, and you know how you hate going to the mechanic – they have such a bad reputation for overcharging single men. There’s also the clothes shopping you need to do for your upcoming friend’s wedding (ugh) but maybe that’s not in the budget right now – with the car repairs, plus the crazy amount stores charge for men’s clothing (why are they always twice the price of women’s clothing?) you decide that new outfit will have to wait until payday.

Though you don’t have time to get online you do spend the day dreaming about finding lots of girls to date. When you do finally get home you feed and bathe the kids and get them to bed – then you pour yourself a glass of white zinfandel, put your feet up, and boot up your laptop to look for Mrs. Right.

The relationship site you use is HuntingFishingMotorcycles& – a friend at work told you about it – and while the title sounds great the site’s real purpose seems to not quite fit the name. The ads you’ve seen for HFM& show smoking hot models saying all they want is to have casual sex with you and only you, whenever you feel like it. But the reality is the darn site seems like it’s set up more for the women than for the men.

For the last two weeks when you logged in you’ve only been shown the profiles of two or three women because, as everyone knows, that’s how relationship sites work. It’s kind of annoying to you that the women on there seem to be spraying emails to anyone and everyone (your buddies are receiving them from the same girls you are) but you’ve resigned yourself to put up with the parts you don’t like in order to, eventually, go on a date.

You think you’ve got your profile set up just right – you’ve written all about sunsets and beaches and your love for travel and how you see the glass as half full. You’ve even stressed in it that you’re looking for a long term monogamous relationship that leads to marriage, but still the emails you’re getting aren’t from the girls you’re looking to meet. Most of the women who write you seem insincere, or even a little creepy. And when you do get an email from a good prospect it’s often just a “Hi there” or “How’s it going?” Why can’t women put a little more thought into their emails?

But you’ve hung in there with this one girl and things are looking good. She sent you an email a couple of weeks back and has been fairly communicative since. You’ve been trying to play it just right – seeming interested but not desperate – and now she’s finally asked you out!

When the night of the relationship arrives you make sure you’re dressed to the nines. Yeah she’ll probably be in sweats with no makeup on (they usually are) but you really want to make a good impression. When the two of you meet at the expensive French restaurant you make sure the conversation is all about her, not talking too much about yourself. You ask her what her favorite flowers are (because you’ll be sending quite a few) and what chick flicks she hasn’t seen yet so that you can take her. Your game is good and you also remember to ask which flicks she’d like to see again, for those rental movie nights curled up on the couch.

You pull out all the stops in making this relationship work because you understand that while she’s with you now, she likely has three or four other relationships lined up for later in the week. You’re a smart guy and you know that she has dozens of other guys on the relationship sites to choose from.

As the two of you part for the evening you compose the perfect text, which you send not too soon but not too late either, saying what a wonderful time you had and how you hope the two of you can do it again sometime. You say “sometime” even though you want it to be tomorrow night because you don’t want to sound needy – you tell yourself you’re not going to be one of those guys who just throws himself at a girl.

When she calls you back and asks you out again, and again, you begin to settle into your new relationship. You’re totally prepared for full commitment – to be with her and only her. She has the next three to six months already planned out – Thanksgiving with your parents, Christmas with hers. You’ve deleted every other female’s phone number you had and have started your subscription to Bridal magazine.

She’s of course reminded you that since relationships are built on friendship first there will be no sex for a month or three but, all in all, you’re doing pretty well with your new arrangement. And even though she seems a touch blasé about being in yet another relationship you’re getting excited because this is as close to the dating stage you’ve been in ages.

And then it happens.

One night you’re downtown picking up the dry cleaning and you see her going into “your” French restaurant with another man on her arm. You drop your newly pressed wedding outfit on the sidewalk as you mumble something to yourself about how well things seemed to be going. Then you get angry when you think about all the time you spent on this girl – time you’ll never get back! You ask yourself why are women so insensitive? And then you find yourself wondering what would it be like if the online sites were set up for dating instead of relationships?

You know, the way guys would do it.



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