Sunday, 18 October 2015

Against the trend: How to navigate dating sites as a woman

Like so many others, I decided OKCupid was the site I would focus on. It was free, it was global, and it was known for an abundance of left-leaning users. I also liked that it didn't place your star sign prominently, like RSVP did. I created what I thought was a playful and provocative profile, and released it into the online realm. 

I received much interest from a wide variety of people. There was just one problem: none of them were what I was looking for. I rationalised that finding the right person takes time, adjusted my profile to make it as unique as possible. Over time I added and removed various highly personal details, or made specific requirements for any people that would contact me. After sharing that I was looking for a feminist, in particular, the interested users became few and far in between. 

What more could I possibly do to find the right partner? I mused. For a while I decided to focus on other things, hoping that "love will find you the minute you're not looking for it." 

Eventually I came back to OKCupid and considered this: Instead of waiting around for people to find me, I could act atypically for an (Australian and global) female and search out partners myself. I had read that Swedish women do the approaching in bars, and if my more empowered sisters were taking the first step, why couldn't I?

The site has an advanced search function which allows you to search by gender, location, compatibility and other variables, and I experimented with a lot of them. At first, nothing too promising happened. I wrote to a bunch of people - mostly women, but also a couple of men - who didn't write me back, but already I felt like the future was in my hands. My options had increased exponentially, and I was no longer reading profiles that lacked lustre. Being proactive and searching for the right person was opening me up to new and exciting options. Even though I hadn't found anyone I clicked with yet, I knew there was no going back. 

And then, one day - voila - she appeared! I'm now in a long-distance relationship. We have plans to meet IRL next year, when I can travel to the northern hemisphere again, and I can't wait! :)

If I had 'sat there and looked pretty' I never would have met her, so think about it: Life is short; go after what you want instead of waiting for it to come to you. Happy searching! 

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