Dating these days is a pretty tricky affair, that requires a cool head and iron self-control.
Neither of which have ever been my strengths. As a highly strung and sometimes clingy woman (if I can admit it, so can you), social media has become my greatest dating challenge.
Especially when there is a cute guy with excellent grammar in the picture.
It all starts innocently enough, with a punchy Facebook message or well placed Whatsapp emoji. But it doesn’t take long before I am a hot mess, compulsively checking my phone and firing off texts at all hours.
Words like self-control, dignity and “playing hard to get” simply evaporate when last night’s date sends me a flirty text.
As harmless as texting may seem, I’d posit that it can be dangerous and maybe even harmful (Recent experience makes me something of an expert).
Aside from the obvious distraction from work and life, online apps expose you to unscrupulous men who use their social media media savvy to control, manipulate and charm you.
It also makes it extremely hard to end things when your love interest is merely a finger tap away.
This was illustrated most painfully by Mike, a type who you’ve probably encountered on the single scene. Gorgeous, funny and a newly minted PhD, he had me from the first date.
So promising was this new potential and so despondent had I become about my romantic prospects, that I disregarded the red flags which emerged immediately.
So what if he called his ex-girlfriend crazy or monologued about himself for three full hours on our first date. Who cared if he had been seeing a girl who had a boyfriend - boasting about the oh-so amazing sex and her enduring fondness for him.
Or that he attempted to kiss me after his hideous confession. I was lonely - tired of feeling alone and impatient with being perpetually single. We had great chemistry too, which is a common side effect of very narcissistic men.
So I kept him around over text, because letting go is too hard and I am a shameless sucker for male attention. Flattering, flirting and promising the world, our messages revolved around getting me to another date. But then, something shifted.
Instead of ending things, he cancelled the eventual date with a classic excuse about his sick grandmother (It still happens).
Which should be the end of the story. But because of the accessibility granted by technology, he reappeared in my inbox a week later. The games were pretty predictable – texting when I was busy and losing interest when I was chatty.
Disappearing for days and offering heartfelt apologies for hurting me after. Begging for dates but becoming suspiciously unavailable when I was free.
Despite the inevitable end, I stayed because the feeling of having a boyfriend was nice and because I got addicted to the adrenalin and the hope for a happy ending triggered by each message . Even if it was just a Whatsapp game to him.
*Names have been changed.