After I was dumped last December I figured I should do something to speed along the recovery process.
So I joined OkCupid.
At first it was pretty neat. The site itself was fun, setting goals like making your profile interesting, answering questions to determine your matches and even quizzes! Talking to people was utterly fascinating. The problems didn't arise until things got more personal.
First they wanted to know my real name. Often, it was requested in the first message which made me really uncomfortable. I found that I didn't like telling people my name until after we had established that we have good conversations and after I've decided that I don't hate them. Even then they're getting first name only.
Sometimes my IM username or my email address was requested. There are a few problems with this. The first being my concern that someone I didn't really know would have access to me whenever I logged in. This would become even more awkward if I decided later that I didn't like them but I would be too afraid to block them because stuff like my email/real name is attached to my IM and then they could go all stalker on me, find me and kill me. So I generally didn't give that out either.
A few people requested my phone number. If it was requested in the first message ever sent to me I had no problem saying no. However I felt more guilt for people that I had been speaking with for a while. I didn't have a set amount of back and forth messages before I was okay with giving out my phone number, it really varied based on how much I enjoyed their conversation and if I believed them to be a serial killer or not. This made any rejections very uncomfortable - I mean, is there a good way of saying, "I'm not giving you my phone number because I'm afraid you'll use it to track my address which you will then use to break into my house where you will then rape me and kill me"?
There were a few guys that I did give my number to. More often than not, this was a mistake. It meant that they could text and call me, even after I decided I didn't want to talk to them anymore. This became profoundly awkward as I struggled for a socially acceptable way to inform a (most likely) well-meaning individual that I no longer wanted to even feign interest. This was highlighted by the guy who pestered me for days asking "Why!?" and then spamming me with hate messages after I broke down and told him that I felt he was too obsessed with me in too short a time.
Then there were the blokes that wanted to meet up face to face. Again this was an easy response for people that had only sent one message. But as I wasted more and more of a guys time on messages back and forth it made saying "No" that much more problematic. The idea of meeting a stranger off of the internet terrified me. No amount of good experience I may have had made this prospect any less scary. Each new person was a statistical chance toward a sociopath rapist.
I did meet a few people in person after biting the bullet and telling myself that this was normal. People meet from the internet all the time. However as time went on a few of these events rarely turned out to be anything worth risking my life for. It got to be more than I could bear. Eventually I got so terrified of having to cancel dates or turn guys down that I just suspended my account before I lost my mind.
This might all seem very ranty and less than funny but I felt like I had to write this portion to introduce the idea. At the very least I got a few amazing stories from my experience with internet dating. Stories that I plan to share.
So.... be prepared I guess.