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One of the worst parts about online dating, or dating at all for that matter, is sifting through the pile of lies and misrepresentations you are handed by each potential new mate. Honesty seems to be an afterthought and finding a genuine heart is about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack. It’s enough to make even the most optimistic among us jaded and willing to call it quits and accept a life filled with cats and singledom.
Among the most common of offenders are those that claim to be looking for commitment when in fact they are looking for a one night stand or a no strings attached friends with benefits situation. They tell you they’re looking for love and say everything they know you want to hear. And so you, ever the optimist, give them a chance and get burned. It’s as if honesty is optional but hurting others is not.
There is nothing wrong with not wanting to settle down. Commitment isn’t mandatory and for some people isn’t desirable- just take a look at the rate of decline in marriages in America, for example. But much more respect is reserved for those that are upfront about their intentions from the start versus those that trick and manipulate. And maybe that itself is the problem- respect isn’t a coveted asset for a lot of people. So the dating market gets flooded by people that are seeking anything but respect.
If you do manage to meet someone that seems honest enough to make it past the first week, it seems to be just a matter of time before Halloween comes around. Not the movie or the holiday, but the moment when the person rips off their mask and reveals the real them they’ve been hiding. Maybe it’s that they are afraid of acceptance but the deceit is still difficult to look past. What was once a potential new relationship is now another example of broken trust.
It’s bad enough that dating often feels like a job interview. Either you are the one answering an endless stream of mind-numbing questions about your hobbies or you are the one filling the silence by asking them. But, like any business, there are things beyond how someone appears on paper that one must consider. Their emotional IQ or intelligence is just as important, if not more important, than where they went to college. How someone handles their emotions and will likely handle yours matters in the boardroom and in the bedroom. And this capability is clearly lacking when honesty, respect, and trust are not present.
All of this paints a pretty daunting picture for those looking for love, but all is not lost. People are capable of amazing things and change is one of them. If people are able to break the cycle of domestic violence in their lives, like I have, then we can certainly start flooding the dating world with honesty and integrity. And if people are able to break the cycle in their families and communities by obtaining an education, like this inspiring student, then certainly we can demand more from others and more from ourselves in our communications with others.
Being honest is a scary vulnerable thing. It’s opening yourself up to rejection and possible ridicule at the hands of the person you’re attracted to. But, in the end, our word is who we are and we owe it to ourselves to be better representatives of ourselves. It encourages those around us to give it a try and have more respect for others. It makes the dating pool a little bit more evenly divided between the liars and the genuine hearts. It increases the likelihood of the good people finding each other and decreases the likelihood of cats being our only soulmates.
So, save an optimist, and give honesty a try.