Q: How can I learn to be a more successful dater?

I have been single for nearly 8 years, and it’s been almost a year since I last had sex. I masturbate when I need to, and that’s that. This bothers me. I’ve tried looking for women, going on dates, going out with friends in social settings, etc. Nothing seems to work. I work full time during the week and go to the gym every day. In general I’m very busy, which I realize isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, despite this, I find myself very lonely. Tinder/Facebook/dating websites just aren’t cutting it. What can I do to have more success?

Everything I’m about to say is going to sound profoundly annoying, and I apologize in advance. I’m one of those wack jobs that thinks dating is all about positive mentality. That’s because dating is horse shit and online dating is horse shit and our culture of click-bait has turned every dating profile into a chance to sell some newer, better, made up version of yourself. If people don’t like what they see they can bail out. If they do like what they see, they might see five, six, seven others in the time it takes you to respond. We’re also a culture of flakes. We hella, hella flaky. It’s a simple equation but humans must be shitty at math. Say you’re going to do something + it’s time to do that thing = go do that thing. 

Online dating makes it super easy to just sit and fart on your hands all night jerking off to the sound of everyone swiping right on your fav selfie.

Online dating isn’t a place to just sit around feeling validated all day. Online dating is where people go to find genuine connections. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. But it’s hard. Because there is a huge supply of people who are looking for love and it can be hard to remember that even though there is a huge supply of people, there are probably a very slim percentage of people that you’re actually going to connect with on a level that leads to physical or romantic connection.

So here’s where the positive mentality comes in: every person you meet is an opportunity. There are no missed connections. Message everyone that looks interesting to you. If you see someone on the street that looks interesting to you, compliment them, give them your number, say hello. Instead of expecting each of these people to become the true, one, great love (or lay) of your life, expect them to become really, fantastic, beautiful moments. What are the odds that you saw this woman’s profile? What are the odds that you bumped into this woman on the street? What are the odds that she was before you in line? What are the odds that she is reading the same book as you? What are the odds? I dunno, humans are shitty at math. But I’d say they’re somewhere around so unlikely that you should probably say hello. 

Dan Savage has this line he pulls which I’ve stolen and partially pretended is mine. There are no failed relationships. We live in a society where the only relationships that get to succeed are ones where someone dies before the other one or maybe they both die together in a love grasp like they’re on the fucking Titanic or Jin and Sun from Lost. That’s a shame because there are a lot of good relationships that end way before someone actually dies. Some good relationships just end because they were only meant for a brief glimmer. A Lisa Frank moment, if you will. Bright and beautiful and then gone.

A cynic might take all of these little moments, all of these failed relationships, and say that they are flawed. That they must have bad luck. That they can’t seem to catch a break. I say you should twist that narrative. Just think of how many amazing people you’ve already met. Just because it didn’t turn into whatever we think a real “relationship” is supposed to look like doesn’t mean it wasn’t a valid experience. This is how you feel less lonely. By making connections everywhere.

And I’m a huge asshole because it’s really easy for me to say this in la-la-la-la-laaaaaaa land because I have a relationship. And I know, should I be single, that I would be writing in to my own blog with discontent and a stomach ache and a weird heart-disorder because nothing in the world hurts more than feeling alone. Or not being able to have sex when you’re really, really sick of looking at your hand. But all I have are platitudes. You have to learn to be happy with your own company, somebody out there is gonna love you, you deserve the best. It’s all true but it doesn’t really help, does it?

Being busy is good. Going on dates is good. Going out with friends is good. I generally find the best place to meet a potential partner is through friends. They’re pre-vetted for you and it’s likely you have some things in common. But online dating doesn’t hurt, either. Neither does respectfully, and quickly, approaching someone in person. Why not package them all up into your ultimate dating guide? Anyone and everyone is a potential date!

Here’s the final gut-punch, though. It sure seems like we only find love when we’re not looking for it. So to be completely contrary, do all of the above, but don’t expect to find anything. Just expect to have a good time. If you can leave a date with a smile on your face – or a really, terrible story – I think that’s the definition of “working.” Maybe not working in that you leave with the love of your life, or really great sex, but it’s working nonetheless. And if your date senses “this person had fun with me” instead of “this person is literally dripping loneliness and self-hatred all over me I think my pores are clogged I need to go home and exfoliate” okay you’re probably better off, right?

Have a question about sex or love? Submit at www.suggestivetongue.com/ask and I’ll answer it on my blog. Or, try to, at least. 

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