Why Is Online Dating So Hard For Guys?

There are two narratives that seem to be endemic to any discussion of online dating. Firstly, that guys are terrible at it because they only want casual things and secondly, girls are terrible at it because they only want serious things. You can see where the problems arise. No one is on the same page here! It’s no surprise that people come out feeling unsatisfied because no one is getting their needs met. Here’s why online dating is so hard for guys.

  1. It’s hard to be honest online. Everyone wants to put their best foot forward with their online presence. It’s the only thing that we can curate and control what other people see. Lots of people see that as an opportunity to exaggerate aspects of their life and ignore others entirely. It’s not healthy, but you see it most in dating profiles. Everyone’s a little taller, a little more face-tuned, and a little more successful online than their real version. It’s a sad reflection of the world we live in, but it’s the same for everyone. You can’t be honest online in these conditions because if you are, you stand out like a sore thumb because everyone else is lying.
  2. Body issues abound. One of the most ever-present phrases surrounding the first date when the couple met online is definitely “you look different than your profile.” That isn’t a question, it’s an accusation. People know the unwritten rule of only submitting your best pictures online because you expect other people to be just as vain and shallow as you, however, there are some limits. You can’t stretch the truth so much that people don’t recognize you. It will lead to accusations of trying to trick people and contributing to body issues.
  3. Many of them have Low self-esteem. When all you see is pretty pictures of other people, when you know you don’t look like that in real life — that’s disheartening. It can make you want to give up altogether. That’s why it’s hard for guys. Women know that other women do that, but it’s not as universally known with men, even though they are all using strategic angles or wearing hats to cover their receding hairline. All these features are valuable and okay, but when you never see them reflected in other people, it makes you feel like you’re the only person with flaws. That’s why it’s hard for men. Dating and love become measurable with your number of matches, your height, or your number of likes. That’s no way to form the basis of a strong emotional connection. It’s very unhealthy, online dating, but everyone acts like it’s normal.
  4. Casual flings are demonized. While men might want something more casual, that is becoming increasingly demonized in modern society. It’s strange, though, because as the online dating market increases and diversifies, you find that some apps are more geared towards casual things, and others towards long-term relationships. It was the whole point of dating at one point, and now people act as if it’s something different just because they might want something different. Online dating is something that other people might judge, and that makes it hard to truly embrace it for men.
  5. Everyone is talking to everyone. That makes it hard to know where you stand. It also encourages you to talk to other people even when you know who you really want to be talking to. That creates a culture where everyone expects you to be casually sleeping with everyone, which can be overwhelming. Particularly if you don’t have bags of experience. Going from zero to ninety can be tough with online dating. There are almost too many options at once so you can get decision fatigue, where you find no one interesting, simply because of an information overload.
  6. People have different expectations. You can’t tell what another person wants just from a few pictures and words. Yes, they might have some information listed on their profile, but it’s hardly exhaustive. When you might usually rely on looking at things like body language or eye contact to recognize interest from another person, that isn’t available online. You can’t communicate your nuanced expectations either, and that creates problems going forward. It almost forces you to correct an incorrect presumption that another person has immediately made about you, and you can start on the wrong foot. That’s where guys struggle with online dating, the rules are all up in the air.
  7. Men are scared of commitment. Yes, they’re scared of commitment in or outside of online dating, but it’s intensified online. It means that guys have options like ghosting or unmatching when they have decided they aren’t interested in someone. Yes, you shouldn’t string people along or waste their time, but there’s a way to do it. Online dating teaches men that emotions aren’t important, just physical flings because there’s no accountability.
  8. Women want different things. As a rule, girls want something serious, while guys want casual things. Usually, that’s okay, but when you both match, there’s an expectation that you’re on the same page. Even if you’re down to have fun together, you can end up wasting each other’s time when one of your feelings ends up getting hurt because the girls will lie and say they’re cool with keeping things casual.
  9. They don’t take it seriously. Dating apps are so ubitquous these days that being on at least a few if you’re single is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Many guys don’t take online dating seriously because of this and just go on to pass the time. Because of this, there’s no way they can ever find an actual relationship.
Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.