There are a lot of benefits to online dating: Meeting new people. Going on dates. Figuring out what you want in a partner. Killing time by clicking through thousands of profiles. But while Internet dating can be fun, might get you laid, and can at least connect you with some interesting people, one thing it is decidedly not is a free therapy service.
And yet there are a whole lot of people online who seem to think that OkCupid is an appropriate venue to deal with their psychological and emotional issues. Confidential to all of them: Real therapy is awesome, and you should get it. Mental health problems are common and nothing to be ashamed about, but that doesn’t mean that anyone other than a paid, licensed professional should be obligated to deal with yours. What you definitely should not do is subject unsuspecting strangers to your psychoses.
Unfortunately, if the following messages are an indication, lots of people who could benefit from some professional help are instead turning to online dating sites to deal with their various problems. For example, sex addiction:
You look very beautiful and your profile fits the kinda people I want to meet, I’m a bit of a sex addict and can’t function without it lol, I know is a bit brutal but that’s the truth, I try to be as honest as possible , pls just say hi and we can chat, you don’t have to comit to anything until you decide if, I will send you my pics no problem.
Feelings of inadequacy:
Hello sexy. I’m a nice guy but I have a small penis. Would you make fun of it and have to cheat on me?
Debilitating need for attention, manifesting in inappropriate sexual behavior:
And, um, delusions that one is an animal (technical term: “clinical lycanthropy”).
And more seriously, anger management issues, depression and thoughts of suicide:
why can’t I find a good looking woman with her life in order to DATE and be in a RELATIONSHIP with??? Am I too ugly? I would have thought having a stable job, place of my own, car, Harley, dog and no kids would be a good thing??? but it seems that those things don’t matter. I think I am a decent looking guy. I’m not sure what I have to do to attract the right woman. I’m not picky, but yet I don’t want someone that weighs more than i do. As long as you are pretty in your own way.. have all your teeth and they are not yellow… Is it too much to ask for a pretty woman that I am proud to be with and have a little arm candy??
I don’t know what I am doing wrong, but being single sux a$$ and I wanna change that! I don’t wanna get married right away, need to find the right one first. I’m just stressed and glad I don’t own a gun… I might get depressed and do something stupid with it………
I’ll go ahead and state the obvious: “Date me or I’m going to kill myself” is not getting anyone a date. In fact, “Stay with me or I’ll kill myself” is a threat regularly made by abusive people, so this one is a red flag in a whole lot of different ways. Ladies (and gents): Don’t date a dude (or lady) who threatens to kill themselves whenever they don’t get exactly what they want.
Don’t try to work out your psychological problems on the Internet. It’s a losing game. Find a good psychologist. Practice meditating. Go for a long run. And use your match.com profile to find love, not free therapy.
The A(n)nals of Online Dating is a weekly column about How We Date Now, from the proprietor of the website of the same name, showing off the best of the worst Internet dating has to offer.
Illustration by Cara Vandermey