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The disappointed dater

Since I started dating in 2015, I’ve been flashed, stood up, verbally abused and generally used as a replacement for masturbation. I’ve lost count of how often I’ve been ghosted – both before and after sex. I’ve been told that, as a fat girl, I should be grateful for attention. There have been excuses (misses his ex, etc) but, mostly, men just vanish. I had a lovely date who told me his daughters had made him more empathic. He said he couldn’t wait for our second date, then… gone.

Another guy dumped me because I was “just too big”. This was two weeks after I went on the pill at his request. He was living illegally in a council flat with all his clothes in one bag, smoked like a chimney and the sex was underwhelming, but my size was the problem?

Related: My life in sex: the man who left his wife for his dominatrix

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Online dating is good in theory but it relies on people to respect boundaries. On apps, as in real life, that doesn’t seem to be happening

Last week I got a message on LinkedIn from a man I’ve never met. This was weird enough to begin with – like most millennials, I go on LinkedIn approximately never – but he wasn’t reaching out with an exciting new job opportunity. Instead, he’d written to proposition me. This man had seen me on Tinder and, (correctly) suspecting we wouldn’t match, had found my last name, sought out my profile on a professional networking website and used it to try to pick me up.

I posted a screenshot of the message on Twitter and was met with an avalanche of sympathetic replies. Women around the world told me their horror stories, detailing the times men they’d already rejected on dating apps somehow found their Facebook or Instagram accounts and asked them out. One told me about a woman who’d received a phone call at her office from a hopeful suitor, who had apparently Googled her work contact number. Later that day a friend of mine was frightened and frustrated when she got home to find a stranger had printed a shirtless photo of himself and slid it under her front door, in some sort of profoundly misguided attempt at getting her attention.

oh for fuck's sake pic.twitter.com/qy0CTDPjpo

Related: Creepy men slide into women's DMs all the time, but they can be shut downTalia Jane

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Sex counsellors have a unique insight into our shared concerns and insecurities. Where once they focused on physical issues, now they are tackling psychological ones

Denise Knowles, a sex and relationship therapist with the charity Relate, says patients often say to her: “There are so many options, I don’t know where to start.” Thirty years ago, Knowles was mostly approached with physical problems: erectile dysfunction, painful intercourse, issues with ejaculation. Now she describes the scope of her work as “bio-psycho-social”. That is to say, everything has got a lot more complicated.

“I think it has gone from being very much: ‘This is the problem; this is how we resolve it,’ to: ‘How do we approach sex? What does it mean to you? How does it fit into the relationship, and how have you got to this place?’” She laughs. “Then we can start to deal with it.”

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Researchers found that 80% of online dating profiles contain a fib of some kind. But at least Lee left the Ikea labels visible in his photos

Name: Tinder lies.

Age: Six and a half years.

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How do they swipe right with their hooves? Can sheep get involved? And, crucially: is this for real?

Name: Tudder.

Age: Brand new.

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Minister writes to companies after figures show dozens of offences linked to dating apps

The UK government is to ask Tinder and Grindr what measures they are taking to ensure child safety, after claims of exploitation on dating apps.

It was reported on Sunday that police have investigated more than 30 cases of child rape since 2015 where victims evaded age checks on dating apps.

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Four in 10 young women have reported being sent unsolicited explicit images. But what makes some men send photographs of their genitals to unsuspecting women – and is it time for a change in the law?

When Leah Holroyd joined a dating site five years ago, the 31-year-old noticed a lot of men had listed The Great Gatsby as a favourite book. “So, to be slightly provocative, I mentioned in my profile that I thought it was overrated, and challenged someone to persuade me it was great,” she says. A postgraduate student in English literature sent her a message that read “a bit like literary criticism”, and they began exchanging messages and discussing their favourite books. Holroyd found him pleasant enough, but she was looking for a relationship rather than just friendship, and he only ever talked to her about authors.

After a couple of weeks, the bibliophile said he would be visiting London where Holroyd, who builds online learning courses, was living. “He asked if I fancied meeting for coffee and a walk by the river,” she says. He suggested they swap phone numbers to make arrangements easier. “Almost instantly, he sent me closeups of his penis.”

If the conversation had some potential, but was becoming boring, I would sometimes send a dick pic

The guy on the train using AirDrop is looking for something very particular … he wants to see shock and surprise

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Nation horrified after allegations Andrew Broad used salutation in an attempt to seduce a woman on a ‘sugar babies’ website

It is safe to say that it would take something truly spectacular for Australians to vow off saying “g’day mate”.

But this week, the nation’s most beloved piece of vernacular took an unexpected, cringeworthy hit when it became embroiled in a sex scandal involving a fruit conference in Hong Kong, a website for “sugar babies” and an assistant government minister.

Related: Nationals MP Andrew Broad will not contest next election

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We’ve all had to deal with the person who starts a friendly chat then just … vanishes. Dating apps, Facebook and Google think they have the answers. But why do they care?

This Halloween, ghosts aren’t welcome. Two dating apps have announced plans to use the season to crack down on the rudest of social media villains, the ghoster: the person who enthusiastically replies to your messages, starts a friendly chat and then, one day, just … stops.

Earlier this week, Bumble, the woman-friendly dating service, announced it had created the post of “ghosting specialist”, bringing the journalist and author Kate Leaver in to hear confessions, dispense advice and be a shoulder to cry on for those whose attempts to find love ended with messages echoing in the void.

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A quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds want the opportunity to treat their relationship like a phone contract, a survey says. Perhaps the commoditisation of life is to blame

If you thought you could leave the blue-sky thinking of business-speak in the office, there is bad news. According to a ComRes survey, a quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds want the opportunity to “upgrade” their partner, with marriages offered on a rolling basis, a bit like a mobile-phone contract, shedding their promise of love and devotion until death us do part. The poll was organised by the Coalition for Marriage – a group that campaigns for “traditional marriage ... between a man and a woman” – so we should approach with caution. But the results prompt intriguing questions about the way we view relationships.

Business principles govern almost every area of our lives, including romance. Dating apps do not help – the potential for human connection is there, but after a while there is a glum efficiency to our left and right swipes. One morning, I found myself going through Tinder matches and sending off messages in a batch, allocating myself a set amount of time to do so. Rather than filling me with hope or possibility, the app had become a chore, like answering an email or typing up minutes. It had become a lot like work.

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