You did it. They’re gone. Even the one you never told your friends about.
Others have offered their congratulations – your bestie, your bros, your mom perhaps – but let me be the most recent one to say you did the right thing. Your dreams are no longer met with strangers, shirtless in a bathroom.
You never found anything significant, and it’s certainly possible you’re now getting less action. But maybe that’s okay. Telling others it “just gets better” the more you knew someone was feeling like a bigger and bigger lie the more people you told.
And think of the time you now have. Though I suppose the logical end to that thought leads you to now wonder how many hours you spent staring at your phone the last years. Daily, you browsed through humans. Weekly, you composed unsolicited emails to strangers. You even answered questions like “Are you willing to play out a rape fantasy?”
You’re glad those things are no longer a part of your life, but you now feel a loss for all that time. How could’ve it been better spent? Maybe you would’ve invented something. Written a novel. Qualified for a national cross-fit competition, why not.
Months go by, and as they do ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends begin to seem appealing once more. So you get the itch to re-install, “maybe just one of them.” But then you remember how you once told a friend “everyone with an online dating profile is sex-crazed freak without a conscience,” so you can’t go back.
You just can’t. You’re being introduced to new people from real life, and that doesn’t happen because your friends think you’re pathetic. It’s because they want to save you from the sex-crazed freaks without consciences.
As time moves along you become a healthy member of society. You feel superior as you sense the online daters floating in a pool of sad one-night stands and texts of hurt feelings. You live life like humanity did for 200,000 years before internet dating, like they were up until about 10 years ago. As well, if you’re a man – because online dating is nothing if not a machine perpetuating gender stereotypes – you have more money. Not a ton, of course, you never splurged. But some.
You don’t go on anymore first dates, that’s great. Yet you often catch yourself in moments of deep sorrow for those who do. You sense their pain in poorly-lit bars across the city like the phantom pains of a lost limb.
But as you pour yourself some wine and take a slice of pizza then nestle yourself into bed and turn on your favorite Netflix show, you’re content. If you’d had heard another story about what he does for a living or how many brothers or sisters she has or where he lived before he moved to your city, you would’ve given up and cemented those worries. Finally abandoned the search altogether.
Now on your own in the real world, like your parents once were, you retain that last bit of hope. You’ll meet someone. It’ll be okay. This is for the best. If you’re lucky, you might not ever say, “So, I mean, I guess we just met on the internet.”