Going back-and-forth on a "should I, should I not?" dilemma...
I've always considered online dating a viable way to meet someone. It's just a point of contact. You're supposed to meet up face-to-face eventually (sooner rather than later) and take your communication off-line. Is it dangerous? My answer to that is, how is it any different from meeting a stranger in a pub or bar? Everything is potentially dangerous, including driving and walking down the street -- it's what you do to minimise the danger that counts.
So anyway... online dating has always seemed like a good idea because 1) I like the Internet, which is to say I use it a lot, even if I still don't have a smartphone and therefore don't have 24/7 Internet access wherever I go; 2) statistically, it would raise the chances of meeting that special someone, given that there's a wider pool of people to communicate with; 3) I'm a writer and communicating by text is, well, one of my favourite things to do, although sometimes I worry I write too much and make my readers go tl;dr ("too long, didn't read").
But after years of sporadically trying my luck online, I'm starting to doubt that this is the way to go. Aside from all else (like not getting any reply after sending out an email, or receiving creepy messages), the transition from online to off-line is often rough and things don't work out. Last year I had lunch with someone I was excited to meet and I thought the meeting went well, but he didn't seem interested in pursuing the connection after that. And I didn't understand it -- still don't -- because we talked for three hours and seemed to have a really good conversation, like it wasn't about surface stuff, you know? If you are not interested, why share with me personal details about yourself and your family?
I've been rather discouraged ever since that incident, and I've thought of giving up on Internet dating altogether, but then I think, what if? What if there's someone out there and I just haven't met him yet? What if the next person is the one with whom everything will sort of click into place? If I stop trying I'll never know.
On the other hand, what if this is not the avenue through which I'm meant to meet the guy, and I'm wasting my time and energy? And money... which brings me to the next thing.
Yesterday I received a notification from Match.com saying that someone had sent me an email through the site. If you're a free member, you can put up a profile and look at others' profiles, but you can't send or receive emails. Which means that unless I fork over some moolah, that email is going to languish in my in-box, unread, since I can't access it. This is the dilemma: To pay or not to pay?
My curiosity is driving me crazy; I want to know who sent the email, and what it says. My sensible, practical half is telling me: most likely nothing is going to come out of it, as always. My hopeful, idealistic self is whispering: you never know, maybe this could be it! My wallet is saying: are you sure you want to do this? Is it worth it? -- which, of course, is the million-dollar question. It all depends on the outcome, which is uncertain and unknowable.
If I become a paying member (which I was, briefly, for three months in 2010) it wouldn't mean just reading this one email, it would also mean I could contact others on the site and try my luck. But I just don't know. It hasn't worked for me before, what makes me think this time will be different?
Should I, or should I not? I don't believe in regrets; my personal stance has always been that it's better to give things a try than to look back and wonder and regret. On the other hand, sometimes I also think that I'm just clinging to forlorn hopes and am deluding myself that something will happen! Isn't the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result?