I remember those days like they were yesterday. Depressed, lonely, and feeling hopeless, I signed up for online dating as what I thought at the time would be my last hope of meeting someone. I wasn't meeting anybody in "real life." But at least I'd meet somebody online.
Boy was I in for a surprise. I may not ever fully be able to connect with the struggles that women face meeting men online, where the female population often faces a barrage of creepy and almost unfathomable messages on a daily basis, but I could assure you, my experience was just as emotionally devastating in its own way.
I was emotionally fragile to begin with, but going completely ignored online took that depression to a whole new level, putting me into a complete tailspin. I wasn't just failing to meet women online. I was paying to be completely ignored. In the eyes of women, I was a ghost that didn't even exist.
Being lonely is nothing short of devastating to one's life. If there is one common trait we all share as a human species, it's the need to feel loved and accepted. I felt none of that, other than from those in my life who were supposed to love me. But after a while, the love of family and friends just isn't enough. There is always a yearning for a deeper connection on a romantic level. Depression can be powerful, and unfortunately due to societal misconceptions, is often not paid the serious attention that it deserves.
And I know many women out there face a similar battle with loneliness. It may be not appear to be the same on the surface, as your challenges online often lead more in the direction of having to push bad men away, with the inability to find good ones, but the underlying issue is still the same. The inability to meet a quality man and form a relationship can be just as emotionally distressing as not receiving any attention at all, as the mind begins to shift to the pessimistic end of the spectrum, wondering if happily ever after is a notion that has passed you by.
During these dark times it's common to just wish you had someone else's life. The happy co-worker that just got married, or your best friend who just had a second child. But as much as sometimes I think I'd like to get in a time machine with the knowledge and I have now and have a second shot at some of those prime years in my life, the truth is, I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world. My loneliness and failures with women are a huge part of what made me who I am today.
Cliche as this may sound, without the dark times, we can never fully enjoy and embrace the good times. Without my suffering, I can't even imagine where my life would be today. I learned to persevere. I learned how to be my best self, something that I continue to evolve with every day. I learned to cope with depression and the side of me that gravitates towards the glass being half empty. I learned how to start a worldwide business to help others like myself succeed with online dating. I learned at the heights of my online dating success that dating hundreds of women could never bring the internal happiness that one perfect woman could bring. I found that rare love this year on OkCupid, that made all the waiting worth it. These are just a few of the hundreds of little lessons that resulted from those years of loneliness.
As you march forward in the future, embrace the ups and downs. Shrug off the men you meet online who are serial daters and go ghost on you, because they weren't ready to settle down and did you a favor. Don't stress over an offensive email, just ignore it and take pleasure in the fact that you were raised right. Laugh off the dates from hell, because believe it or not, someday you will look back on those memories fondly, and miss the craziness that sometimes filled your nights.
Focus on being your best self and growing as a person, both in the online world, and outside of it, and try to go through life with a smile on your face. In this fast paced world, its all too easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life and forget just how limited our time on this earth is. You may feel that loneliness now, but keep your head up. Things will get better one day and you will be a better person for it.
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